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TSC to handle Baptist school wrangle

By Sasha Harrinanan Tuesday, April 1 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Education Minister Dr Tim Goopeesingh...
Education Minister Dr Tim Goopeesingh...

Allegations of mismanagement of resources at the St Barbara’s Spiritual Baptist Primary School in Maloney will be forwarded to the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) soon by the Education Ministry.

The news came from Education Minister, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, who was speaking to reporters Sunday afternoon, following an SSB Liberation Day Thanksgiving Service at the nearby Shouter Baptist Empowerment Hall.

“In terms of the difficulties that the Elders of the SSB Board seem to be having with the principal (Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke),

“I have been advised that their differing views on the management of the school is a matter for the TSC to investigate. So the Ministry of Education will be (referring) it to the TSC for its determination.”

Gopeesingh explained that because the primary school was run by a denominational school Board, the TSC was the body in charge of resolving conflicts between what the Board thinks best for students and/or school operations and what the principal or teachers may wish to do.

“We have to respect the denominational Board’s wishes. I will work with my Permanent Secretary, Chief Education Officer and the Elders of the SSB community, but the TSC is the one that determines the issue of the principal and whether the principal goes or stays.”

The controversy became public last Friday, where parents held a protest outside the school, calling for the removal of Principal Burke, after they were told of the cancellation of plans to hold an SSB Liberation Day thanksgiving service at the school.

One parent, Bidia Ramsoondar spoke to reporters that day about her frustration over the “last-minute” cancellation.

“Whole week the teachers teaching them to beat their drums, how to act, how to do their little prayers. Yesterday (Thursday, March 27) the Principal went to Dr Gopeesingh, the CEO said we can’t keep anything, Barbara Burke don’t want nothing in the school,” Ramsoondar claimed.

Parents also shared their concerns about the student-teacher ratio; which Ramsoondar said was 46-50 students per teacher. They cited these and other issues in their call for the removal of Burke as principal.

The Archbishop, who also serves as Head of the Council of Elders of the Spiritual Baptist Church, declined to comment on the protest when approached by reporters on Sunday, telling them “Today I’m celebrating, OK? Wednesday, check me.”

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