Teachers should claim education revolution as their work – George
November 20, 2012

Teachers should claim education revolution as their work – George

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU) has been criticized for abandoning some of its most important ethics.{{more}}

Marketing director of Digicel and public relations consultant Jerry George said the SVGTU has lost its identity and connection to its roots, values, consistency and have abandoned the unique voice of the community.

George was the featured speaker at the union’s C.W. Prescod Memorial Lecture, last week Tuesday at Frenches House.

The lecture, held under the theme “Take A Stand For Teachers”, was one of the activities in commemorating Teachers’ Solidarity Week.

George, in his candid presentation, told the gathering of approximately 25 teachers and about 12 students, that he is convinced that people are not willing to stand up for the Union because there is crisis of authenticity.

“People simply don’t know who you are and what you stand for anymore. To be authentic means simply to be real, real to your heritage, real to your mission to just who you are.

“People grew to recognize the [SVGTU] as an organization born out of struggle. A group that fearlessly took on the administration of its day. They stood up for what they believed, rallying membership to a man to support their struggle,” he said.

George said the actions of the SVGTU and its members today are nothing compared to those of the 1975 teachers’ strike, which resulted in many being tear-gassed and even jailed.

“The SVUT has had a past of standing up for itself, but alas today, how has the mighty fallen!”

George told the executive if they don’t stand up to the tyranny of their day — whether it be educational, political, economic or social, they will no longer stand out as the leaders of teachers in St Vincent and the Grenadines or the region.

“How can the [SVGTU] expect anyone to stand up for them when we are in what has been declared as an “Education Revolution” and I never ever heard one word from the [SVGTU] claiming that the revolution is really their work?”

Education, he said, is about teachers and “if there is a revolution, why is it that politicians are claiming the success, while teachers sit quietly in a corner with their tails between their legs?”

George’s comment was followed by a roar of applause from the small assembly of teachers.

“How can the [SVGTU] expect anyone to stand up for them when they are not standing for their own?” George also asked.

“Today, three teachers who exercised their democratic rights to become candidates in the last general elections are still sitting at home unemployed,” George said.

“The evidence shows clearly you are deceived knowingly and led down a path that has ended in futility both for the teachers and seemingly you. How have you demonstrated your resentment of such a blatant deception?”

Hiding behind what is legal is an excuse, a cloak to covering one’s woeful inaction, George told the gathering.

He reminded the SVGTU that standing up for themselves takes strength, but to stand up for others takes courage.

He then asked: “Is the [SVGTU] an organization lacking courage?

“How can anyone stand up for the Teachers Union which has demonstrated that it’s not prepared to stand up for its own?

“How can either the general public or your own members feel confident about your ability or commitment to stand up for your own? Can they say with good conscience that they can trust you or depend on you to stand up for them?” George continued.

George was commended by the General Secretary of the SVGTU, Margaret Lewis-Jackson, as well as members of the audience, for his “frank remarks”.

A plaque of appreciation was also presented to George by Lewis-Jackson.

Meanwhile, the Teachers’ Solidarity Week activities continued on Wednesday, when members of the Teachers Union met at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School for their annual general meeting.

Thursday was observed as Teachers’ Appreciation Day in schools across the nation.

The activities climaxed Friday with a march and rally in Kingstown. (AA)