Dr. Gonsalves explains why SDA Teachers not paid by Government
March 23, 2007
Dr. Gonsalves explains why SDA Teachers not paid by Government

Teachers working at Seventh Day Adventist (SDA)-run schools here, cannot be paid by the government because the organization’s policy contravenes section 13 of the constitution of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves was addressing the recently held ceremony to mark the official site opening of the new Bequia Anglican High School building when he boasted that except for SDA Schools, his ULP Government has honoured its commitment to take over the staffing of teachers in denominational schools.{{more}}

He noted however that the government has had to find “ingenious ways” to contribute to SDA schools because the policy of those schools is that only Adventists can be hired as teachers.

“I can’t take the state’s money only for teachers of a particular denomination,” Dr Gonsalves said.

SEARCHLIGHT however understands that the 50-year-old Mountain View Adventist Academy is currently in negotiations with the government for a new deal.

Principal of the Academy, Tony Ollivierre explained to SEARCHLIGHT that the SDA School could not go the way of the other denominational schools because its philosophy of operation was different from them.

He said that the school, which is located at Richland Park in the Marriaqua Valley, operates on the basis that they are preparing students for their service on earth, paramount of which is service to God. Additionally integral in the education format is preparation of the students for their eternal lives.

“Teachers and students are required to observe our speech and dress code guidelines,” said Ollivierre, who explained that strict observance to the SDA church’s doctrine including that of dressing is enforced; this includes the non-wearing of jewelry.

As for Government’s support, the school receives support under the “old system” which is one teacher is paid for every 25 students enrolled – to a maximum of nine teachers. A maximum of four graduate teachers are catered for under the policy. A $6,000 subvention is also given to the school annually.

Ollivierre explained that the students enrolled at the school, though they are placed by the Government are expected to sign contracts adhering to the school’s policies.