Our Readers' Opinions
November 3, 2006

Each teacher must make a commitment

EDITOR: In an effort to consolidate the Education Revolution I wish to place the union’s concerns on the National Agenda.

1. Reclassification: The Government of SVG and the SVGTU signed an agreement in 1998 for the reclassification of the entire Public Service with special emphasis on the Teaching Profession. The consultant submitted his findings in August 2004. The union agreed with the government in 2004, 2005 and 2006 to postpone the implementation date so that anomalies in the report can be addressed. The SVGTU is adamant that the report must be implemented in 2007.{{more}}

2. Salary negotiations: The SVGTU is seeking a joint approach with the other public sector unions to negotiate salary increases for the next two years. The current salary cycle will come to an end in December 2006. The union is also seeking a wage differential for teachers in post-secondary institutions in keeping with our collective agreement and the norm in the OECS.

3. The Teacher’s College: Students attending the Teachers’ College who are not teachers are having serious financial hardship. We are asking Government if it is possible to use the facility of the YES Programme to assist them.

4. Shortage of teachers in rural secondary schools: The union is concerned that most rural secondary schools are staffed with academically qualified teachers and not professionally qualified teachers. A case in point – a particular secondary school’s entire mathematics department is staffed by recent graduates from the Community College. At the end of the school year the powers that be are going to talk about declining performances without taking all these different variables into consideration. The union is asking the Ministry of Education to develop a strategic plan to train teachers in the core subject areas especially in the sciences. The shortage of teachers in some core subject areas is critical even in urban schools.

5. Schools violence: The SVGTU will be in the vanguard of the struggle to reduce school violence, which manifests itself daily, in physical fights, verbal abuse, obscenity, sexual harassment and random destruction of school property. Learning cannot take place in an environment of fear.

6. Launching of a National PTA: The SVGTU will be making an attempt to organize a national PTA so as to deepen the role of parents in the education process.

7. Monitoring of the Collective Agreement: The SVGTU is committed to ensure that the collective agreement is fully implemented.

8. Ten per cent increase in student learning outcome: There is a false perception, that only government has a commitment to honour the collective agreement. The truth is the union has committed itself to raise student-learning outcomes by 10 per cent. We are asking that each school creates an environment that nurtures student achievement and personal development in the following way: A commitment from each teacher to increase the level of student learning outcome at all levels of the education system; That our primary schools strive to ensure that each graduand from our school is numerate, literate and knows how to learn.

Recently Professor Miller reminded us that as Caribbean Teachers we have achieved more with less resources than our counterparts in the developed world. We cannot ask the taxpayers to give us more and we produce less.