Crackdown on bad teachers
By MIRANDA LA ROSE Saturday, February 23 2013
THE Teaching Service Commission (TSC) will initiate this year, disciplinary action against teachers with late coming levels of 1,000 minutes per year and absence without leave or valid excuse, outside of allotted time allowances.
In addition, the TSC proposed that absenteeism and lateness be factored in as criteria for teacher promotions in a new set of TSC regulations now in the making.
Addressing a Joint Select Committee (JSC) to enquire into the work of service commissions yesterday at the J Hamilton Maurice Room, Office of the Parliament, Port-of-Spain, TSC commissioner Professor Ramesh Deosaran said that it has become necessary to look at attendance and punctuality of teachers in executing their duties.
TSC chairwoman Hyacinth Guy told the JSC that the commission asked the Ministry of Education to provide reports of teachers who exceeded certain allowances in terms of attendance and punctuality and the reports indicated that unpunctuality and irregularity are “voluminous”. “We analysed those reports and found it necessary to ask the ministry to further investigate certain numbers of teachers who had very high levels of unpunctuality and irregularity,” she said. “The ministry has advised us that these investigations are in progress.” The TSC will continue to work with the ministry, Guy said, “to take action if necessary on teachers whom we feel are not giving the amount of teaching time they are required to give in the class room.”
While she was unable to say, which education district/s had the highest incidences of lateness and absenteeism, Guy said, the TSC found that both are prevalent in government and denominational schools.
Commenting on the regulations, Guy said that the regulations were being reviewed by a sub- committee headed by Prof Deosaran, after which they will be sent to the Director of Personnel Administration to forward to the Office of the Attorney General.
The new set of regulations has to be approved by the Prime Minister.
The review of the regulations, Deosaran said was being treated with some urgency because of serious implications for absenteeism, unpunctuality and indiscipline.
The TSC, has also proposed the tightening up of deadlines for which stakeholders such as schools, school boards and the ministry should respond to requests made on misconduct and indiscipline by the TSC. This would expedite the board in its decision-making process.
Other criteria for appointment include general physical, psychological and fitness for duty, overall performance, and in terms of appraisal, special qualifications, or, experience, letters of recommendations, duties, and any specific recommendations in previous jobs and commitment to duty.
At present the TSC is relying on the Service Commissions regulations, Deosaran said noting that disciplinary and other actions were being delayed by lax periods for reporting and lengthy delays before a tribunal, which meet irregularly, could deal with cases sent before them.
According to Guy, the TSC would like to see a full time body or court to deal with disciplinary matters for teachers and public servants.