Fingerprinting is one of several issues for Academy’s teachers

POSTED: 10/20/11 2:05 PM

St. Maarten – President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union Claire Elshot says finger printing as a means of confirming what time teachers arrive at school is only of several issues her members at the St. Maarten Academy is concerned about. The list also includes not being registered with the Pension Fund of the Netherlands Antilles, having to pay for their own work permits and being told they have to pay 180 guilders to have their teaching certificates evaluated.

“If I have to name the issues where fraud is committed against the teachers then I would like to know who will be able to come up with a bigger bill,” Elshot said.

Finger printing

Elshot said some of her members have sought legal advice on the implementation of the finger print scanner as a clock in method. They have also complained that it does not work properly and teachers are still made to sign a note pad to sign in and list the time they arrived for work. Elshot herself is also surprised the board would implement this measure and not give attention to getting a photo copy machine. The PSVE section has been without a copier for two years.

“I am totally against the fingerprinting of teachers because it is easy to hack into a computer and with all the identity theft this system is not safe because sensitive information can be stolen and people do not trust computers,” Elshot said.

Pension fund

Elshot also said that teachers are upset they’re not registered with the Pension Fund of the Netherlands Antilles, even though the payments are being deducted from their salary every month. Elshot said teachers who demand they be registered are told they can speed up the process by paying for the required medical examination themselves and then seeking re-imbursement from the pension fund. The union is siding with the teachers especially after being informed by the pension fund that the school can i buy valium in spain board, which is the employer, must pay for the exam.

“I was informed that the cost of the medical exam is part of the subsidy the government pays to the school boards. So if you are receiving this as subsidy, then who is committing fraud. This is a case of the kettle calling the pot black. It is a smoke screen and adding insult to injury. If we have to open the books on the things and issues that we have to deal with to have things rectified, I don’t think that the school board will come out innocent. The school board is guilty as charged,” Elshot said.

Certificate evaluation

A request to pay 180 guilders ($100) for certificates to be evaluated has drawn fire from the teachers and the union. Some teachers complain they’ve been at the school for 15 and more years and had their certificates evaluated when the Netherlands Antilles still existed.

“I do not know where this comes from all of a sudden and the evaluation has been done over the years. There is nobody as far as I know in St. Maarten who is capability or recognized to do such an evaluation of the teacher’s certificates. I will like to know who is getting that 180 guilders and why,” the union leader said as she announced she’ll be investigating the matter further.

Other concerns

Elshot said her members are also upset that they have to pay for their own work permits when the subsidy from government should also cover the costs and that the board would seek to mislead the public about the working hours of secondary school teachers.

“Certain subject teachers are only there for the time they have to teach. There are 27 teaching hours and the other 12, which adds up to 39 hours, can be used for preparation and counseling. It is also not necessary that all the hours are done at school,” Elshot said.


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