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Court grants injunction to halt teachers’ promotions for 2015

Teachers marching under the banner of the Guyana Teachers’ Union during May Day 2015

by Zena Henry

Chief Justice Ian Chang has granted an injunction preventing the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) from issuing and publishing promotions for this year 2015. The matter was brought to the High Court last week by Attorney-at-law Roysdale Forde who is representing the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU).

Citing several irregularities in the promotional procedures of Principals, Deputy Principals, Heads of Departments at schools ran by Boards and governed by the President’s College Act, Cap 39:11, the GTU has asked the Court to put a hold on these promotions until the matters are resolved.

GTU General Secretary (GS) Coretta Mc Donald told Demerara Waves, Friday July 17 that this “unfair” procedure was activated under the old administration and the Union had no other choice but to head to the Courts since their concerns which were not addressed.

Schools adhering to the President’s College Act, and ran by boards include Christ Church, St. Roses High, Brickdam Secondary School, Central High, among several others. Teachers employed at these schools have to fill out forms that are signed by their head teachers and then by respective Regional Education Officers (REdO) and must have certain appraisal grade to be promoted.

However, there are other requirements for these promotions which, for example, require a teacher to have Degree in a particular field to be promoted to head of that department. McDonald said that the Union took note of several issues that unfairly make it difficult for teachers to elevate.

She explained that should a REdO not recommend a teacher for promotion, then it will not happen. She noted however that there would be no reason given why the REdO did not recommend the teacher for promotion, especially when the REdO would not be particularly au fait with the performance of the teacher. The Union demands a more explanatory role from the REdO in that regard.

Another example, McDonald explained, was that a teacher may apply for a job having a Degree in Science but a vacancy exists for Social Studies, which is the teacher’ second subject that teacher may then work in the Social Studies field for several years, with excellent pass percentage, but is unable to be promoted because it is demanded that the teacher have a Degree in Social Studies. That is not the teacher’s fault and it is unfair, the General Secretary charged. She went on to say that, among other issues, the Union has found teachers, who were promoted, did not meet the requirement of having a Degree. Teachers were also sidelined she said, where promotion to a particular post was promised to other teachers.

The GS said that the Union is asking the Court to undo those all illegal promotions and to put a hold on all promotions for this year.

In the Court documents, the Teaching Service Commission is being asked to show cause why  their  decision  to make preliminary appointments  in  the  Teaching  Service  to  take  effect  on September 1, should not be quashed and why they should not be ordered to  assess  all  Applications  for 2015 promotions  afresh.

The Education Minister was also dragged into the matter to show cause why he should  not  be  prohibited or  prevented  from  making  preliminary or final  appointments or promotions  to  schools  governed  by  the  President’s  College  Act,  whether  in  his  own  judgment  or  by  the  School  Boards  subject  to his approval.

Lawyers for the defendants are expected to respond on July 31.