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Trinidad: Union wants High Court to rule teachers marking CXC-based SBAs

By CMC

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jan 29, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is asking the High Court to determine whether its members should be compensated for marking school based assessments (SBAs) conducted by the Barbados-based Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

The TTUTA is also asking the High Court to rule on compensation for teachers regarding their continued work on the CXC’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE) exams.

In its interpretation claimed filed against the State, TTUTA is claiming that the issue has been in contention since it agreed job descriptions with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) and the Ministry of Education in 2000.

“TTUTA’s view was that CSEC SBAs form part of an examination created by CXC, not the employer. CXC pays teachers who mark the CSEC external examinations; the marking of SBAs was not part of the duties of teachers and if teachers were required to do same they should be remunerated,” the TTUTA said in its motion.

The union is also arguing that its members are forced to complete marking outside of working hours as they do not have sufficient non-contact time.

It said that the syllabus, which is formulated and mandated by CXC “is not designed in such a way as to allow teachers 25 per cent non-contact time.”

TTUTA said that teachers performing their duties reasonably and diligently “cannot mark SBAs unless their personal time”.

TTUTA is also arguing that the situation is exacerbated by an inefficient on­line registration system which was introduced by CXC in 2012.

“There is an un­avoidable rush every year to get all marks and scripts up­loaded to the system. Many schools in Trinidad and Tobago do not have the facilities capable of supporting the high traffic of up­loading,” TTUTA said, adding that late submissions attracted a BDS$35 (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents) per student penalty fee which was not covered by the ministry.

TTUTA is also arguing that the system has led to inequality among teachers as those teaching foreign lan­guages had a smaller work­load as SBAs were not required.

“Teachers are being paid the same wage for varying hours of work and intensities of work. This is another indicator that the mark­ing of SBAs could not reasonably been contemplated by the job descriptions of parties,” it said.

TTUTA said that in May last year, the Jamaica government struck a deal with its teachers for them to receive J$300 (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.08 cents) per SBA script.

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