Feb 19, 2009 News Comments Off on Teachers commence industrial action
“We will not condone corporal punishment in schools” –Baksh
As a result of the refusal of Education Minister Shaik Baksh to reinstate a teacher at the Berbice High School, who was suspended for flogging a number of students, the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) commenced industrial action yesterday in all schools in New Amsterdam, Berbice.
According to GTU President, Colwyn King, teachers are ‘working to rule’, which means that if the schools are not in a condition conducive to the teaching, no work will be done.
This form of industrial action, King said, will be implemented in all the schools across the country which are in urgent need of repairs, including the Diamond Primary School on the East Bank of Demerara.
The industrial action will last until the teacher is reinstated at the Berbice School. King had warned at a press conference on Tuesday that countrywide action will commence if the teacher is not reinstated.
Meanwhile, when contacted yesterday, Minister Baksh told this newspaper that his ministry will not condone any form of corporal punishment in schools, and that the teacher breached the rules completely.
A manual established by the Education Ministry states that no teacher should administer corporal punishment to any student and that this should only be done by the head teacher of the school, or a senior teacher who received permission from the head of the learning institution.
According to Minister Baksh, in the case of the incident at the Berbice school, this was not done. He further explained that the said teacher flogged 31 students in the class, including girls, with a ‘bamboo rod’ on their buttocks for not submitting their assignments on time.
It was noted that corporal punishment should not be administered to students for school work and as such, the teacher was wrong in what she did.
The Minister explained that the Regional Education Officer of the district received approval from the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) to send the teacher on leave until the matter is fully investigated.
It was noted that the Chief Education Officer (CEO) wrote a letter advising that the teacher should resume duty, but according to Baksh, the CEO does not have the authority to do so. The powers, he said, are in the hands of the TSC, and as far as he is aware, the TSC did not reinstate the teacher.
It was in this context, Minister Baksh said, that he called the regional administration in New Amsterdam and advised them that the TSC did not give approval for the teacher to resume duties.
The Minister noted that his ministry takes the matter of corporal punishment seriously, and can only recommend to the TSC that disciplinary should be taken against any teacher who breaches the manual, but cannot recommend what form of disciplinary action should be taken.
Meanwhile, as it relates to the industrial action taken by the teachers, he said that they would first have to notify the Ministry of Education that they would be involved in industrial action, and use the time period available to resolve such issues.
However, to date no notification has been sent to the Ministry by any teacher and, according to Baksh, if this is not done, then his office will take the necessary measures against teachers who do not uphold the rules.
Baksh hopes for good sense to prevail so that the issue can be resolved.
Sep 22, 2020By Calvin Chapman At just 15-years-old, Forgotten Youth Foundation’s Alesha Jackman is already a Caribbean champion and is on the right track in achieving her dreams of following in the footsteps...
Transparency Institute of Guyana (TIGI) has published a letter on me in the Sunday edition of the Stabroek News. The statement... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]