– But CEO insists action was warranted
Protest action outside the Providence Primary School yesterday followed the termination of a teacher said to be the school’s “best Common Entrance teacher”.
The protest action was reportedly spearheaded by some parents who are members of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). The protestors armed with placards called for the termination of the head teacher who they claimed was behind the termination of the teacher.
One vocal protester, Ms. Caroline Hunt, said that the teacher in question, Mr. Rodwell Simon, has over the years efficiently guided many pupils to successful Grade Six Assessment performances.
“Last Common Entrance (Grade Six Assessment) he sent up 42 pupils and they all got good schools…schools like (The) Bishops’ (High) and Queen’s (College); not one came back to the East Bank; all the children got good schools,” asserted the woman who claimed to have grandchildren attending Providence Primary.
It was revealed during the protest that Simon has been so dedicated to his pupils over the years that although he offers extra lesson he does not even demand fees from those whose parents or guardians can ill-afford to pay.
But according to the protesters, despite the consistent good work of the teacher for some reason the head teacher who was recently placed there “seems to have some problem with him…he has been here for years… and all of a sudden he got dismissed with no pay.”
“We came to a meeting last week and we asked the head teacher about it and she said she has nothing to say. We can’t understand that he was sent home just like that. Because of his work we were the most improved school last year when the results came out,” said another protester yesterday.
There were suggestions yesterday that the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) was addressing the state of affairs.
Teachers are usually disciplined, dismissed or transferred by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC).
But when contacted yesterday GTU General Secretary, Ms. Coretta McDonald, shared her conviction that “for the Teaching Service Commission to dismiss you there must be a reason. Teaching Service Commission doesn’t dismiss people just like that…The teacher had to have done something.”
But when contacted yesterday, Executive GTU Member, Mr. Lancelot Baptiste, who claimed to have knowledge of the dismissal disclosed that while teachers usually seek the support of the GTU when a problem arises this was not done in Simon’s case.
“The young man only visited the union after he would have gone to the Teaching Service Commission to a hearing. He went there without asking the union for any assistance…He said that he thought that he could’ve handled it. He went there and according to him he was told he would be dismissed and he later received a dismissal letter,” according to Baptiste.
Baptiste continued, “He came to us after all of that happened and I advised him he could ask for a review of the penalty. I suggested to him that he should write one and he left the office with the intention of doing so. I have not seen a copy of the review so I have no idea if he did write the review.”
But when this publication subsequently contacted Chief Education Officer, (ag), Mr. Marcel Hutson, on the matter, he assured that the dismissal was in fact warranted.
He revealed that “We received reports that Simon refused to teach children whom he is being paid to teach. He is not prepared to teach children who are not very brilliant and that matter went before the Commission…
“The regional officials recommended that disciplinary action be taken for neglect of duty and non-performance.” It was reportedly against this background that a decision was taken to terminate Simon, this publication was told.
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