OPPOSITION SPOKESPERSON on matters relating to education, Terrance Ollivierre is supporting the call for unvaccinated teachers to be given back their jobs and allowed to return to the classroom, when the new school term opens in September.
“My view is that, the firing of the teachers should have never happened in the first place.”
“All who were fired because they did not take the vaccine, all efforts must be made to rehire and reinstate those persons.”
“Especially where the teachers are concerned, it has been very hard on parents and students.”
Ollivierre made these statements in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Friday July 15.
The Member of Parliament for the Southern Grenadines said: “We notice during the last term, especially those who were preparing for external examinations, that it was very hard on them.”
“There were students who were without teachers to help them with their projects and SBA’s.”
“A lot of students and parents were complaining… I think this is also why we had the three weeks extension by CXC.”
The NDP’s spokesperson on education added, if teachers were at work, they would have been able to guide the students properly.
He is however hopeful that the absence of qualified teachers in some schools, does not adversely affect students performance in their external examinations.
Ollivierre expressed concern that “some of these teachers have mortgages and other loans to pay, and it is very hard on them.”
A number of teachers and other public officers who were deemed to be frontline workers, lost their jobs last year after failing to comply with the SR& O in relation to the covid 19 vaccine. Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves recently hinted at the possibility of the teachers being returned to the classrooms.
He however noted that such a decision will be based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, in relation to the present Covid-19 situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
In relation to the SR& O, Ollivierre said it was “a draconian rule, and as we see what is happening the world over, countries who would have taken that step, have since recalled their workers.”
“The science on the virus is changing daily… all workers should be given back their jobs.”
“The government should enter into some kind of negotiation with the unions, and give back the workers their jobs.”
“Reinstate them with their full benefits,” the Southern Grenadines representative stressed.
Ollivierre is hopeful that “come September, schools should be staffed with more qualified teachers, we have students with reading problems and literacy and numeracy problems, and we need the qualified teachers to assist them.”
Another area of concern for Ollivierre was the drop out rate of students in SVG.
“When you look at the drop out rates within the OECS, St Vincent and the Grenadines has the highest drop out rate.”
According to Ollivierre, “reinstating the teachers and having them back on the job, would give some sort of relief, or assistance, to what is happening in our schools.”
The NDP politician also expressed concern about the increasing number of repeaters in our school system.
“We need all hands on deck, especially those teachers who are qualified to ably assist our children to move forward,” Ollivierre said.