Teachers get increase by the end of next month

POSTED: 01/24/13 10:06 AM

St. Maarten – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Affairs, Silveria Jacobs provided updates yesterday on the meeting her cabinet held with the board of the Windward Islands Teachers Union Witu.

The agenda included the periodic increase for public education teachers, which still have not been paid out.

“The union has been assured that though we accept the fault as public education for the delay, we are making all provisions that will be paid out by the end of February,” the minister said.

The payment and method of calculation for substitute teachers was also raised by Witu.

Minister Jacobs said that clarification was given to the union on this and it was explained that it was a short term arrangement to alleviate some of the problems within the schools.

“As some of these contracts will be extending, long term teachers will be given long term contracts,” the minister said.

The minister said that her ministry is also looking into issues at the Prins Willem Alexander School. The union had been called in by teachers there to highlight their plight.

A request was also made by the union for there to be a change in vacation days in February.  Witu has asked for a shift from February 14 and February 15 to February 11 and February 12. It echoed a request that one school board had previously made.

“Many school managers and teachers have expressed this concern. Though we had replied already to the school board in the negative, this matter is now again under consideration. However we are looking at the late date of change and how this may affect persons who may have already made arrangements with the current schedule. This is still under discussion,” the minister said.

The union also presented a motion on vacation allowance increase in collaboration with their Kingdom partners who receive 8 percent.

“We in St. Maarten pay out 6 percent. The feasibility to increase this to 8 percent, is being researched.”

The minister added that she was also looking into another union suggestion for there to be recognition of teachers who have served between 5 and 15 years.

Currently, only teachers who would have served in the education system for 25 years and longer are given recognition.

It may not be a monetary bonus but could very well be in award presentations or days off as forms of incentive.

“It was also made very clear that hearing about a request for a meeting in the media is not usually the way to go. We prefer that requests come through the ministry and not through the media,” the minister said.

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