President of the SVG Teachers Union, Oswald Robinson has dismissed a suggestion that students be made to clean the toilets at their various schools.
The suggestion was made on the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) New Times programme on Wednesday, May 4.
Someone called the programme, complaining about the condition of the toilets at the West St George Secondary School.
Shortly after that call an educator from Union Island called the programme and suggested a solution to the problem.
His solution was that students be put the clean the toilets in their schools.
The educator said students at a school where he was attached were made to do this.
He further explained that students having to clean the school’s toilets was part of their SBA project.
Host of the programme, Bert Francois disagreed with the suggestion from the caller.
And, president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), Oswald Robinson also called the programme and stated his disagreement with the suggestion.
“We can’t have our children going and clean toilets, that’s not what we sent them to school to do,” Robinson said.
He went as far as asking the educator from Union Island to retract what he said was an irresponsible suggestion.
The Teachers Union President also suggested that it is wrong for any teacher to make such a demand of students.
In such an event, Robinson said, “if any teacher in any school set out to do that, the parents should sue the school.”
Robinson was adamant that cleaning the school’s toilets is the responsibility of janitors who are being paid to do the job.
The trade unionists and former principal said, “ If the school has an organised activity, in collaboration with parents, to clean up the school, that is no problem.
“But to tell me you going to send my child to clean the toilet, that is an irresponsible statement.”
Robinson also referred to the Collective Agreement between the government and the union which outlines in Article 9.1 that the employer should ensure that proper janitorial services are in place in each school.
As for the suggestion from the Union Island educator, Robinson argued that, “in an age now, where Covid and all sorts of diseases spreading rampant, we can’t expect to have students going and clean toilets.”
The former principal further argued that it would be fair that “if a child litters the classroom…then, that child has a responsibility to clean up the litter”, but it is irresponsible “to tell a child he has to go and do somebody else’s job.”
He insisted that “the Ministry of Education is paying persons to clean the schools,” and that, “it is the responsibility of the principals to see that the schools are clean”.
He pointed out that janitors are part of the ancillary staff in schools, and they are under the direct supervision of the principals.