Teacher's union in Trinidad go to court over compensation for marking SBAs
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association is asking the High Court to determine whether its members should be compensated for marking school based assessments (SBAs) conducted by the Barbados-based Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
The union is also asking the High Court to rule on compensation for teachers regarding their continued work on the CXC’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) exams.
It is claiming that the issue has been in contention since it agreed to job descriptions with the Chief Personnel Officer and the Ministry of Education in 2000.
“TTUTA’s view was that CSEC SBAs form part of an examination created by CXC, not the employer. CXC pays teachers who mark the CSEC external examinations; the marking of SBAs was not part of the duties of teachers and if teachers were required to do same they should be remunerated,” the union said in its motion.
The union is also arguing that its members are forced to complete marking outside of working hours as they do not have sufficient non-contact time.
It said that the syllabus, which is formulated and mandated by CXC “is not designed in such a way as to allow teachers 25 per cent non-contact time.”
The union said that teachers performing their duties reasonably and diligently “cannot mark SBAs unless they use their personal time”.
It is also arguing that the situation is exacerbated by an inefficient online registration system which was introduced by CXC in 2012.
“There is an unavoidable rush every year to get all marks and scripts uploaded to the system. Many schools in Trinidad and Tobago do not have the facilities capable of supporting the high traffic of uploading,” the union said, adding that late submissions attracted a BDS$35 per student penalty fee which was not covered by the ministry.
The union is also arguing that the system has led to inequality among teachers as those teaching foreign languages had a smaller workload as SBAs were not required.
“Teachers are being paid the same wage for varying hours of work and intensities of work. This is another indicator that the marking of SBAs could not reasonably been contemplated by the job descriptions of parties,” it said.
The union said that in May last year, the Jamaica government struck a deal with its teachers for them to receive J$300 per SBA script.