Our Readers' Opinions
May 9, 2008
Sqat on Bequia getting special treatment!


EDITOR: It is with utter disgust and disappointment I write to you in regards to the Ministry of Education and its inconsistent and in some cases unprofessional actions. The recent appointment of some senior teachers across the country was very unfair and one wonders if it wasn’t politically manipulated.{{more}}

The posts, according to an agreement between the Teachers’ Union and the Ministry of Education, are awarded to the institution (schools) and not teachers. However, it appears some teachers are above and beyond that agreement.

On Bequia, the Paget Farm Government School was among the vacancies. Three teachers applied. Two of them work at the school, one as acting principal. The post was given to the teacher who applied from the Bequia Anglican Primary School. She claims she was the most qualified. Far from the truth! She never worked at the school and makes it known she does not like the community and doesn’t want to work there. So why apply for the post?

This is the end of the third week of school. Up to this point, however, the newly appointed SQAT has not turned up for duties at her new post, the Paget Farm Government School. Upon investigation, it has been revealed that an education officer told her she doesn’t have to go. The lady was brazen enough to state in a meeting that she doesn’t want to go to the school and if they call her and send her she will not be going. She further stated the position was advertised, she applied and got it, all the while telling other people she was transferred without purpose or reason.

This is the same teacher who some years ago was sent to the Sunshine School and refused to go and nothing was done about it. If anything her name is probably still on their staff list.

There are now two senior teachers operating at the same school with 240 children. Several years ago, this same school could not get a senior teacher after the same Ministry of Education said the population was too small. At the time it was about 300-350 pupils. What is going on in our so called education revolution? Are we serious about people’s children and taxpayers dollars in an already weak economy? Are we playing politics now with the people’s children? What makes one school better than the other for her to work? How come she gets a choice? Where is the Teachers’ Union in all of this? Is it that they got their share of the spoils in return for silence?

Last school year, two teachers were transferred without any explanation, one during the middle of the second term by phone. She was told to move immediately, while the other left at the end of the school year.

Prior to the transfers, members of a certain political persuasion were able to state who were going to be transferred weeks before it actually happened. Currently, there are rumors of the transfer of the other senior teacher on the streets.

Now one of the schools is being run by sisters-in-law. There is also a husband and wife team there. A situation the Ministry of Education supposedly does not tolerate. Several years ago, many teachers were transferred because they and their parents or close relatives were at the same school. Suddenly policies have changed.

The situation is getting worse and only certain teachers dare talk. They are reported unfairly and unknowingly to the Ministry, who, without proper investigation, call in the teachers like kids to scold and threaten them. Why are we wasting taxpayers’ money and time on teacher empowerment when teachers are not allowed to speak?

The schools are being run like family villas, guesthouses or private homes, with the Ministry’s blessings. Principals must not be allowed to report on and discuss teachers on their own whim and fancies. The Ministry needs to lead by example as they often require of teachers. Double standards must be set aside if the so called revolution is to be successful. Conscientious teachers need to bond together and resist the scourge among us. United we stand divided we fall. There is no time to keep silent or be silenced. Our nation’s future is at stake.