TTUTA calls on teachers of Standards Four and Five in the Primary Schools to report to their schools on Monday May 14, 2012 and teach their classes as usual. Teachers should not leave their schools to participate in the proposed ‘mandatory’ training sessions of the Ministry of Education (MOE) for the Continuous Assessment Component (CAC) of the SEA.
The MOE sent out a training programme on May 08 which would have teachers of Standards Four and Five in the primary schools engage in two (2) days of training per subject area, six subject (6) areas for Standard Four and seven subject (7) areas for Standard Five. This amounts to some twelve (12) to fourteen (14) near consecutive days of training respectively, including Saturdays, Sundays and the Corpus Christi Public Holiday, for which these teachers would be away from their schools over a two (2) month period.
The Association has grave concerns with this training programme:
There has been no consultation with TTUTA, the legally recognized majority trade union, on this training programme even though it attempts to trample on the terms and conditions of service of teachers;
The inclusion in the circulated schedule of ‘mandatory’ training of sessions outside of the normal working week on Saturdays and Sundays (May 19, May 20, June 16, June 17, June 23, June 24) as well as on a public holiday, Corpus Christi (June 07), is totally unacceptable;
Twelve to Fourteen near consecutive days of training for teachers of Standard Four and Standard Five would severely tax the ability of schools to provide adequate supervision or make alternative arrangements for these classes without teachers during this extended period. It would also hamper the preparation of schools for End of Year school activities including the National Test for Standard Four and co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. There will be a severe loss of teaching time and disruption in all primary schools for two (2) months;
No arrangements have been proposed for the payment to teachers of the relevant allowances consistent with current agreements between the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) and TTUTA for any work away from the school compound during working hours;
The Association has grave doubts about the adequacy, thoroughness and effectiveness of this ‘crash’ training programme involving two (2) days in each subject area.
TTUTA had previously expressed its concerns with the rushed approach of the MOE towards the institution of a Continuous Assessment Component of the SEA in 2013. There is no comprehensive, documented plan by the MOE to support such implementation.
There is need for the proper training of teachers in areas such as Physical Education and the Visual and Performing Arts. There is a vast disparity in the teaching resources available to schools throughout the country for the teaching of the different subject areas and so schools are not on ‘a level playing field’.
As well, there is need for special attention to issues concerning the reliability, validity and standardization of these internal assessment components over the five hundred plus primary schools throughout the country, if the assessment is to be meaningful and fair to all the nation’s children.
On learning of this ill advised training programme, TTUTA had written to the MOE yesterday, May 10, pointing out its concerns and requesting an urgent meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the MOE but this approach has been rebuffed.
TTUTA will not allow teachers to be subjected to an improper, ill-conceived training programme, which would achieve nothing except disrupt the primary schools for the months of May and June and satisfy the political expediency of the Minister of Education.
TTUTA demands proper consultation and agreement with the Association on any proposed training programme for teachers, especially where it infringes on the terms and conditions of service of teachers, which are negotiated between the CPO and TTUTA.
Further, TTUTA calls for proper consultation with TTUTA, other stakeholders and the entire national community on fundamental changes in education policy. Education is not the private property of the Minister of Education!
TTUTA advises the national community that teachers of Standards Four and Five in the Primary Schools will be reporting to their classes as usual on Monday May 14 and will not be participating in any ‘force-ripe’ mandatory training programme on the Continuous Assessment Component of the SEA.
PETER WILSON GENERAL SECRETARY
May 11, 2012