ST. VINCENT: – The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration is being criticized for the recent transfer of two teachers from the Community College even as one of the teachers speaks of “the level of disrespect and … incompetence that characterises the conduct of those charged with managing the education revolution”.
The criticism came from public servant and career teacher Otto Sam, who was himself in August transferred from head teacher of the South Rivers Methodist School to the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO).
Sam said that while Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has a right to send his son, Storm Gonsalves, to a university in England, his government was undermining the local Community College when it transferred teachers Elvis Daniel and Paulette Williams.
Gonsalves recently defended his decision to send his son to a British university, saying it was not an indictment on his much trumpeted “education revolution”.
Daniel, who is the NDP candidate for North Windward, taught mathematics at the College while Williams taught communication studies. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
Daniel has been transferred to George Stephens Secondary School while Williams has been assigned to the Thomas Saunders Secondary School (TSSS).
Sam’s comments came on Saturday, Sept. 18, at an opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) rally in South Central Windward during which he endorsed teacher Addison “Bash” Thomas as the NDP’s candidate for that constituency.
Williams, who has been teaching since 1983, said she was informed of her transfer during a meeting with Community College Director, Joel Warrican, on Sept. 2.
“The St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College has indicated that it is conducting a reclassification of the faculty serving at the four divisions. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education has indicated that you are one of the persons whom the college has requested to be re-transferred to the Public Service,” read a letter to Williams, dated Aug. 31, 2010.
The transfer was effective Sept. 6, 2010.
“Let me state categorically, I did not request a transfer!” Williams told I Witness-News.
“Additionally, It was a summary transfer and I was not even given 24 hours notice. That is the level of disrespect and dare I say incompetence that characterises the conduct of those charged with managing the education revolution,” she further said.
“… [T]his year, my class returned a 100 per cent pass rate in the subject (communication studies)… 43 per cent Grade 1! The entire school had a total of 47 grade one passes split up amongst six teachers and 27 of those — with nine distinctions — came from my class!” Williams said. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“…[If] you had a teacher performing at that level, and you really care about the education of the youth of this nation, even if you had a problem, would you not seek to have it resolved?” Williams said.
William began teaching general paper at the Community College in September 2003 and then piloted communication studies in May 2005, with that pilot group also recording a 100 per cent pass rate.
Williams told I Witness-News that she would “leave for you and your readers to decide” if the transfer was a demotion.
She however said the transfer had swiped $300 from her monthly paycheque as she was paid a senior graduate allowance at the College, which she will not receive at TSSS.
Williams was educated as a secondary school teacher of English at the Mico Teachers College, now Mico University College Jamaica.
She has taught at all levels in the school system from primary to post secondary and is a trained e-tutor in English for Academic Purposes with the University of the West Indies Open Campus and a CAPE Examiner in Communication Studies.
She is also a trained journalist and will teach English language and English literature at TSSS.