Deficiencies identified in regularising temporary teachers

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Senator Simon Stiell has announced that the process of the regularisation of the temporary teachers in the system is coming to an end and the delays were caused as a result of certain deficiencies that were identified.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing, Sen. Stiell said the process of regularisation as demanded by the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) has proven to be very difficult as a result of the deficiencies.

The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government has indicated that there are only 205 vacant teaching positions in the system and the selection will have to come from 645 temporary teachers on the books.

Sen. Stiell gave an outline to the media as to the method that will be used to select “the right teachers for the positions”.

Describing the approach as “a multi step process”, the government minister pointed out that some of the issues that came into play in the selection process included the qualifications of those teachers, their duration of service, performance appraisals, and the interviews as the final process which has just been completed.

“…There is an independent panel, that has interviewed those temporary teachers which is the final piece to the puzzle in determining who are the best qualified, who are the best performing for those 205 vacancies,” Sen. Stiell said.

According to the Minister of State, another of the deficiencies, which slowed down the work was the lack of record keeping on staff and highlighted the need for an electronic data management system to be put in place.

“…There are shortcomings in the performance appraisal system … (but) it’s a very quantifiable and a very objective way (to determine) how teachers are performing year on year. We have seen shortfalls in that process and these are all areas that require urgent attention by the Ministry,” he said.

He lamented the fact that the system currently in place is all paper based and not computerised.

“…First of all … records …are missing, records that were never taken and then the quality of those that are there. So to be able to go and do an analysis of the performance of a lot of these teachers have been very, very difficult. As I said records are absent and the quality of those records is below par,” he said.

Sen. Stiell also pointed out that in cases where some performance appraisals exist they do not provide sufficient objective information on the true performance of staff members.

“So a lot more work needs to be done in terms of those performance appraisal systems to ensure that you are able to objectively identify, those teachers who are performing and are performing very well and those who are performing less well,” he said.

The Minister of State indicated that the role of the Ministry of Education is to identify those deficiencies and put in personal development plans to address those deficiencies.

This is important, he said to ensure that the highest standard of teaching staff is obtained.

Sen. Stiell gave assurances that there will be a process of “final consultations” between the Ministry of Education and the Teachers’ Union on the issue.

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