Gov’t cuts powers of school boards

…hands back promotion, appointment, discipline to TSC

GOVERNMENT has revoked some of the powers previously bestowed on school boards, and has handed those powers back to the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), a top official from the Ministry of Education has confirmed.According to a letter seen by this newspaper, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Delma Nedd, wrote her counterpart at the TSC, Phulander Khandhi, informing him of the decision. Nedd, in her letter, referred to a December 14, 2015 letter from Khandhi in regard to Article 209 of the 1980 Constitution of Guyana on the subject. Nedd said that, upon a complete review, the Ministry of Education “hereby requests that the Teaching Service Commission assumes responsibility for the appointment, promotion, removal and discipline of teachers currently functioning in secondary schools with boards.”

The issue of governing school boards has been raging for some time now, with the Guyana Teachers’ Union and other stakeholders calling for the scrapping of this mechanism. Education Minister Dr Rupert Roopnaraine himself had disclosed, last year July, that all school boards would be extensively reviewed, and a decision would be taken on whether to keep them or let them go.

Some of the schools governed by boards have been accused of misappropriating large sums of money which are solicited and collected from the students.

“I want to tell you that I am reviewing the whole concept of a school board. I am not very happy when it seems to me that some boards are colliding with educational policies. I would like to bring far more harmony to the system, and I would expect that school boards…all of these people will be on the same page in terms of education delivery; so I am reviewing everything, including school boards,” Dr Roopnaraine had told the media back then.

President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), Mark Lyte, was also previously quoted in the Kaieteur News calling for the scrapping of School Boards. Lyte had also said there was need for a revision of the School Boards Secretariat.

“This has been something that we have asked for (for) a long time, because we find that there is a lot of conflict. People who do not necessarily understand education are placed on School Boards based on their political affiliations,” Lyte was quoted in the Kaieteur News as saying.

The GTU President said that School Boards comprising political appointees “generally…do nothing for the schools. So we would like to see School Boards being reviewed with a hope that it could become a thing of the past.”

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