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CUT defends teachers right to adequate compensation

By Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

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CBC – The Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) Wednesday warned it is prepared to escalate to include the entire region, the action taken by teachers in Barbados who say they will not to submit final marks for students who have undergone the School Based Assessment (SBA) programme.

The Barbados government has already warned teachers they could face disciplinary action if they maintain their position saying it regards the position adopted by the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) and the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) as “unreasonable”.

The teachers are demanding adequate compensation for conducting the SBA programme being administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

CUT general secretary Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte said no external agency like CXC should determine the functions of a teacher, adding it is time to defend the rights of “these low paid workers.

“The momentum will be building up and we will galvanise the entire region to ensure that every single teacher across the region is adequately compensated for the work that they do,” she told a news conference.

Albert-Poyette, who is a member of the St. Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU), said the regional body has been discussing the matter of payment for years with little success.

President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) Mary-Ann Redman said Barbados is the country most affected by the non-payment and reiterated that SBAs are the property of the CXC and are an externally set examination.

“This has been almost 40 years of burdensome work we have done for free in good faith. CXC as a result of this in an unconscionable manner keeps piling up more and more work.

“SBAs have now moved in some subjects…from 20 to 60 per cent of the total mark of the student. Now imagine how that translates into a workload for a teacher with 40-odd students in that class,” she said.

The government has said that “to deny students marks for the work which they have done throughout the year would have serious ramifications for students taking the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE) examinations with an SBA component.

“Students will be disadvantaged in their pursuit of higher education at Universities and other tertiary institutions or entry into the sixth form because they will not be awarded a grade for a CSEC or CAPE subject without the marked SBA submitted by the teacher.

“The METI reiterates that the CSEC and CAPE examinations are administered at the regional level and decisions are not within the purview of Barbados. The rules which govern the penalties for the failure to submit SBAs apply to all the Caribbean territories, Barbados is not exempt. If the SBAs are not marked by the subject teachers then the students will receive an ungraded result.”

President of the National Council of Parents Teachers Association Sean Gibbs said his organization is mindful of the teachers’ concerns and wants a speedy resolution to the ongoing dispute.

“This is a national issue. It involves all of our children, all our schools and my call is for (to) maintain the status quo this year and let us have discussions, lets engage all parties and I believe it is high time that all the parties involve , unions, CXC, ministries, come together and definitely trash out this issue.”

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