Thursday, April 18, 2024

Watch what you sow

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PUBLIC SERVANTS under imperial rule up to 60 years ago in the Caribbean knew the difference between an “entitlement” (now called rights) and “privilege” by which that entitlement was circumscribed.

The cricketer/footballer employed in any Government office and duly entitled to annual paid vacation leave knew that this entitlement was a privilege “subject to the exigencies of the service in which he was employed”. This meant that application had to be made and permission granted at the discretion of the head of department for the entitlement to be realised.

A contingency of that permission was the liability for recall from vacation leave granted to resume duties required of the public servant.

Against the not so remote background of discipline in the Public Service, we come to consider the final examination in the school curriculum. This is intended to avoid the “sudden death” element of final examinations.

Consistent with this principle, the school-based assessment (SBA) comes as a recommendation for a particular school to the regional authority of that school’s assessment of its candidates. The regional body reasonably sets the standard as a common denominator applicable to all SBA numerators submitted for integration in collation of the final examination results.

Schoolteachers qualified to make continuous assessment of their pupils’ progress are generally entitled to the most liberal paid vacation leave of all public servants. When the exigencies of their employment require SBAs to be made for regular submission to CXC as the regional authority, does this requirement constitute occasion for agitation of industrial dispute about payment as for extra work?

In that same vein, should teachers be paid for private lessons to some pupils in subjects which they teach to the class as a whole? Isn’t this like dawdling during regular working hours to “justify” the necessity for “overtime”? How principled is this approach to productivity on a national scale?

Train the child in the way he should go; when he is old he will never depart from it. Teachers might be sowing a wind today that future generations will reap as a whirlwind.

LEONARD ST HILL 

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