Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 19th 2013 Contents of absenteeism at the nation s schools
cannot be fixed.
"In Trinidad and Tobago, go to the
Judiciary, hospital, offices of the public
service, what is the common denom-
inator? A dislike or lack of commitment
to work. What is the work ethic? Are
laws effective? What are the sanc-
tions?" he questioned.
"What you see happening with
absenteeism was left to get out of hand."
At the end of the day he said it comes
down to poor management and poor
leadership and places the blame on the
shoulders of the ministry and school
"We have a serious management and
leadership problem...and not only is it
a serious problem, it is a hydra-headed
problem, but we do not have the con-
tent with which to make it better,"
"The principals inspire no one in the
organisation. In fact, absenteeism is
often used as a weapon against the
principals; get me vex and I don t come
to school." He also cited poor leadership
and poor structures, a failure of the
ministry and a lack of structure and a
lack of will that does not allow action
to be taken against deviant teachers.
He made the point though that no
issue should be made if teachers take
their 28 days leave.
"Now, you cannot talk about absen-
teeism if people take their 28 days. If
that is proving to be part of the problem
then buy out their leave."
While no study has been done on
teacher absenteeism in Trinidad, Hack-
ett in 2000 wrote a paper speaking
directly to the 28 days legally afforded
"School teachers have been caught
up, unwittingly, in a cultural malprac-
tice, without fully understanding its
ramifications. Really, what does one do
if conditions of work mandate that 28
days---14 sick and 14 occasional---are
available with pay to you each year?
Legally, what is wrong with enjoying
"No one has taken the opportunity
to painstakingly explain to teachers the
implications of this leave agreement
for which their unions have fought so
hard. Neither the Ministry of Education
nor the Trinidad and Tobago Unified
Teachers Association (TTUTA) has
seriously addressed this problem. While
TTUTA, on several occasions, has raised
the matter within the context of the
provision of substitute teachers, the
ethical and curricular dimensions of
teacher absenteeism were never coher-
recommendation to the PSC to
charge the teacher.
Guy said that has not been hap-
"The principals are submitting
their reports but the ministry is
not following through. The reports
are not coming to the TSC. We
are still awaiting the 2011 reports.
We want the reports on who we
need to lay charges against.
"Every month the reports go
from the schools to the ministry
containing data on regularity and
"Why are we not getting the
reports so we can lay charges of
But looking at the 2012 report,
Guy said as it is "it is just data."
She said there was a lot of work
to be done to turn that data into
"We really need to look at the
figures, district by district, study
the numbers, analyse it and send
in the school supervisors to see
what is happening; why are teach-
ers staying away from the work-
place," she said.
If found guilty of misconduct
teachers are subjected to the penal-
ties as outlined in Section 110 of
the Public Service Regulation as
adopted by the TSC. Guy said there
are seven options for sanctions to
be taken; "dismissal; reduction in
rank, reduction in renumeration,
deferment of increments, stoppage
of increments, reprimand or a fine."
Absenteeism used as a
weapon against principals
An academic at the School of
Education, UWI, feels the problem
May 19, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
FOLLOW THE LEADER
THE TEXTILE KING
Corner Queen & Henry Sts., P.O.S.
Tel: 625-2904/Fax: 623-2313
LADIES UNIFORM SUITING
From Page A10
TSC on absentee teachers:
"In Trinidad and Tobago, go to
the Judiciary, hospital, offices
of the public service, what is
the common denominator? A
dislike or lack of commitment
to work. What is the work
ethic? Are laws effective?
What are the sanctions?"
Dr Tim Gopeesingh
Links Archive May 18th 2013 May 20th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page