…TSC cites fraud, neglect of duty
THE Teaching Service Commission last year dismissed around 80 teachers with 36 alone in the month of December for a range of misconduct, including fraud and neglect of duty.
During last year too some 41 teachers resigned from the profession, the TSC said in a report circulated to commissioners. According to the report some of the frequent complaints being made against teachers are: irregularity, attending University of Guyana without release; constant non-submission of required statutory records; fraud and neglect of duty.
Figures have shown that between 2009 and 2015, teachers were being dismissed at a rate of about 150 annually. At an awards ceremony in December 2015 President David Granger had charged that teachers involved in sexual activity with their students has no place in the profession.
The President said then that teachers who misbehave, walk off the job, touch, fondle and have sexual relations with their students and speak in a vulgar manner whether they are trained or not should be separated from the profession.
The Teaching Service Commission was established under the Teaching Service Commission Act No.1 of 1975 dated February 07, 1975. However, this body did not come into existence until April 10, 1978. The Teaching Service Commission was appointed by the President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana under the provision of the above Act with full executive powers. Under Article 209 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana “… the power to appoint persons as teachers in the public service and to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices shall vest in the Teaching Service Commission.” The Commission may delegate any of its powers to anyone or more or its members, or, with the consent of the Prime Minister, to any public officer. Some of the powers were delegated to REDOs and the ACEO (Georgetown) in 1984, but were taken back by the Commission in 2000. The Commission also has the power in Article 226 (3) to regulate its own procedure.
Only recently the commission abandoned initial thoughts of appealing a court decision which scrapped its method of promoting teachers and will be proceeding in earnest shortly to get a list ready. In July 2015 the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) had filed an injunction against the TSC objecting to the publication of the final list of teachers promoted in 2015. The injunction was granted by then Chief Justice (ag) Ian Chang, preventing the TSC from issuing and publishing promotions for 2015. The matter was brought to the High Court by Attorney-at-law Roysdale Forde, who represented the GTU.
The union felt that the TSC had strayed from its rules and regulations in the way it processed promotions. The commission was using the assessments given by education officers, head-teachers, Regional Education Officers and not the provision of the Rule Book governing the Teaching Service Commission to promote teachers. This, the union felt was flawed, as officials and head teachers who had personal grouse with teachers had deliberately given skewed comments, which stifled their promotion.
Last year November the matter was decided in the High Court when Chief Justice, Yonette Cummings-Edwards ruled that the procedure used by the TSC was flawed and ought not to have been used. During the run-up to the court case the GTU had said that it had no confidence in the commission or its chairperson. The union had called for a complete review of all the applications made; but TSC was only willing to look at specific ones.
The union had also charged that it had enough evidence to prove that many eligible teachers were not promoted for various reasons and that due process was not followed. According to the union the commission had been making decisions on the basis of “comments” penned by respective Regional Education Officers (REDO) and officials at the Education Ministry on the application forms when teachers apply for promotion.