Outgoing BUT President, Pedro Shepherd.

‘Review BSSEE allocation system’

A teachers’ union has expressed concern about how students are allocated to secondary schools.

The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is therefore calling on the Ministry of Education to review the current Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) allocation system, which would allow for the some of the “slower students” to be allocated to the so-called “better schools”.

“I am sure that it was already suggested that a percentage of the allocation to those schools be taken from among the underachievers. The curriculum being used at the newer secondary schools must be adjusted to reflect the intake from the BSSEE and that the current system is flawed as it was relying too heavily on certification,” BUT President Pedro Shepherd pointed out.

“As an example, the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) which was intended for the not so academically inclined by having them pursue their identified skills is now proving to be highly academic in nature, requiring lots of written expression.”

Shepherd, who was at the time addressing BUT’s 44th Annual General Conference (AGM) at Almond Bay Conference Centre, also shared with his membership that since the appointment of 749 teachers between 2016 and 2017, the Union has been trying to get other appointments done at the primary level for those members who were qualified, but excluded.

Moreover, he recalled that last July the Barbados Union of Teachers advised teachers who should have qualified but were not appointed to send their information to Personnel Administration Department (PAD) and the applications were refused.

“The Union has subsequently sent the applications of seven members by registered mail to the Personnel Administration Department but to date there has been no response,” he indicated.

“I have also had reason recently to make contact with three officers in METI and two at PAD to find out the process and to whom a teacher’s aide should speak to about her appointment after ten years in the service. None of these individuals accepted any responsibility for the appointment of teachers’ aides. This matter will be followed up in the next session as someone has to be accountable for this category of worker. “We all heard the Prime Minister and Minister of the Civil Service publicly announcing that all public officers with three of continuous service and the requisite qualifications would be appointed by March 1st, 2018. All now we are still awaiting word on the appointment of those teachers of whom I just spoke,” Shepherd stated.

Teachers Service Commission
Last October the Prime Minister announced the pending proclamation of this commission.

“And that is all we have heard,” the BUT President reminded the membership.

“The Barbados Union of Teachers awaits the establishment and function of this Commission. We are of the view that it would alleviate a significant number of our issues and challenges.” (TL)

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