The implementation of SR&O number 28 of 2021 which
resulted in several teachers losing their jobs has left no gaping hole in the education system.
Curtis King, Minister of Education made the comment on August 28 on WEFM adding that when the document was implemented late 2021 and a number of teachers and public servants that were not exempted from taking the COVID-19 vaccine were deemed as having abandoned their individual post.
“We said that it was of paramount importance that school continued,” King said.
“Everything showed that being away from the classroom was having a negative impact on the students,” he continued.
According to the education minister of the 2,200 teachers in the country, 212 had initially indicated that they were not interested in taking the vaccine.
This created some challenges within the education system with the creation of several vacancies King explained.
“We were determined that schools should operate, and we did the relevant infrastructure work to get staff, even if it meant re-hiring retired teachers, relief workers, etc.,” said the education minister.
And the ministry of education hired persons on contracts and those contracts ended on July 15.
Regarding performance, King said that some of the relief teachers performed well, while some did not.
However, he said that no system was ‘fool-proof’.
“In the system, we have good teachers and poor ones and those on contract, some performed well and other did not. The overall thing is that the system functioned,” King reasoned.
But he explained that the one real measure for the public is the performance of the students at exams and what he termed, ‘high-stake’ exams such as the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC).
The results for the CPEA dropped one percentage point over the results of 2021 and for the first time this year, students writing CSEC examinations were administered the regular two papers which was last administered in 2019.
For the past two years, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano, students were only administered Paper One, multiple choice.
Therefore, the minister of education said that he was anticipating highly this year’s CSEC results, which was expected to be released to the ministry on September 1.
“Let us see how the students perform…I will hope that when the performances are being compared that they compare apple with apple and not bananas with apples,” King said.
He added that persons ought to compare this year’s results to that in 2019 further saying that the students who wrote exams this year had to put up with interruptions for three years.
“But they were in a state of readiness to write the exams,” he said.