Teaching Service Commission invites denominational heads to meeting

File photo: Clarke Road Hindu Primary School, Penal falls under the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha.
File photo: Clarke Road Hindu Primary School, Penal falls under the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha.

THE Teaching Service Commission (TSC) has invited the heads of all denominational boards on Thursday to discuss "issues" surrounding the recruitment process of primary school teachers. But the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) wants a clear agenda to be outlined for attendance to be considered.

Last week, the SDMS issued a pre-action protocol letter to the TSC and the Ministry of Education for allegedly making an "unlawful and unconstitutional change to the method of recruiting (primary school) teachers."

The SDMS claimed this change excludes input from the denominational boards as mandated by the long-standing Concordat – a pre-independence agreement signed between the Government and the heads of the various religious denominations outlining that those boards of education would run schools with assistance from the Government.

This letter gained the support of many other denominational boards.

TSC chairman Elizabeth Crouch has since claimed the accusations were "categorically untrue."

But in a letter obtained by the Newsday on Monday, acting general secretary of the SDMS Vijay Maharaj responded to the meeting invitation saying it was "passed to (the board) for consideration."

But it added, "Respectfully, in light of the pre-action protocol letter issued by the SDMS and the structure of the SDMS, which has a board of education that treats with matters in relation to the appointment of teachers, could you kindly explain the purpose of the proposed meeting and the specific matters you wish to discuss?"

Maharaj said the SDMS has "no difficulty in meeting with any party which seeks to discuss any matter relative to education.

"However, in light of the matters above, it may be more prudent that you supply sufficient particulars of the proposed meeting to enable the SDMS to consider same and consult its legal team."

In a press release later on Monday, the TSC said it seeks to "reaffirm its commitment" to filling vacant offices in TT's schools.

And when it comes to denominational schools, it said, it set out an open and transparent process.

"This process allows all eligible and qualified persons of the various denominations and faiths to apply for offices as a consequence of an advertisement in the public domain.

"This process is consistent with legal and constitutional provisions and with the Concordat of 1960."

It said the process respects the role of denominational boards in the selection of "suitably qualified and eligible people of their faith.

"The commission is pleased that through this process, opportunities are open to all persons of the various denominations and faiths who are interested in teaching in government-assisted schools.

"The commission reiterates its commitment to a recruitment process that resides within the law and is both transparent and equitable."

It said it is aware of the need for schools to be "capably resourced" in the shortest possible time, "and will continue to act within its constitutional remit to achieve this goal, while observing all legal, administrative and financial constraints."

The meeting is set to begin at 3 pm at the TSC's Service Commissions Department's conference room.


"Teaching Service Commission invites denominational heads to meeting"

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