Retired temporary teachers face August axe
Stabroek News
May 22, 2004

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The government is getting rid of the retired teachers who were re-employed as temporary assistant masters and mistresses, in order to make room for younger teachers who are qualified.

The teachers are to be severed with effect from August 1 and Education Minister Dr Henry Jeffrey says they could be re-employed. Stabroek News understands that some are employed in various non-teaching positions in several sections of the Education Ministry including the National Centre for Education Research Development.

Lance Baptiste, the Guyana Teachers' Union's field officer, told Stabroek News that he was unaware of the decision although the union had intervened earlier in the year when it learnt of a decision to sever the teachers in April.

He said the union had written to the ministry reminding it that the union was part of the process of the re-employment of retired teachers. It had advised the ministry that some of the teachers being sent off were employed in secondary schools, teaching children for examination and others were at remedial centres where the children needed special attention.

He said the union was not against the policy once it was fairly and transparently implemented, pointing out that in agreeing to the re-employment of teachers the ministry has to satisfy the union that there is no qualified younger teacher being displaced.

Chairman of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) Richard Mangar confirmed the policy decision and said some of the retired teachers had been re-employed for as little as one year while others have been in employment for more than 14, with some as old as 80.

Jeffrey told Stabroek News the decision was prompted by the appeals of parents in Region 2 (Pomeroon/Supe-naam) whose children were leaving school with several passes at the CXC level and are unable to find jobs. This had led to seven retired teachers being severed last year before the TSC was reconstituted. A court is to rule on the legality of their dismissal.

The TSC, Mangar says, is in the process of receiving the lists of employed retired teachers who will be affected by the decision, but he says he is not in a position to provide the specific numbers involved.

Both Jeffrey and Mangar say once the process of severing the retired teachers has been completed there would be no obstacle to any of them being re-employed, on a case- by-case basis, in areas where there is a special need. The two main areas needing resources are English and Mathematics where the performance of Guyanese students is below that of the rest of the Caribbean.