Witu to attend CUT conference

POSTED: 11/24/14 7:59 PM

St. Maarten —President of the Witu Claire Elshot and her deputy Corraine Lejuez will leave the island on Wednesday to attend the  biannual- teachers conference of the Caribbean Union of Teachers in Belize.

The CUT—which is the umbrella union for teachers in the Caribbean– will have its two day executive meeting from the 28th, which will be followed by the teachers’ meeting from December 1 to 3. Elshot explained that since these meetings are only held once every two years there are usually a lot of issues to discuss. Witu is an affiliate of the CUT and as such decisions taken at these meetings affect the membership.

The CUT has been in existence for 79 years and was initially known as the West Indies Teachers’ Association and has always reflected and symbolized the spirit of Caribbean unity, which mirrors the historical and cultural experiences of the region. CUT views teachers as an integral part of the working people who constitute the majority of Caribbean society and as such, it recognizes the need for teachers and teachers’ organizations. It further recognizes teachers as professionals who must work relentlessly to improve professional standards and who must show commitment to students, community and education.

As an organization, the CUT is guided by its mission statement which states that it is the umbrella organization for teachers’ in the Caribbean and is dedicated to the efforts to further the cause of teachers’ unions: to promote the status, interest and welfare of teachers; to improve the quality of education in the Caribbean and to unite the people of the region.

In 1999, the CUT and Education International (EI) entered into an agreement, under which the CUT became an autonomous body within the structure of EI. The CUT is thus the recognized representative body for teachers in the Caribbean. Both organizations have collaborated on a number of programs and projects in the region which have benefitted teachers and their representative organizations. The CUT has also collaborated with other international organizations including the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Elshot, who has attended these conferences in the past, said they are always worthwhile and beneficial to her membership. Every two years, the CUT brings together children from across the region for the CUT’s biennial athletic championships and Elshot is optimistic that the Witu will secure funding to be able to participate in the next games. A number of outstanding athletes have emerged from these championships. These championships are the only ones held for the under-15 age group in the region. The CUT also organizes the Les Harris Cricket Competition for teachers.

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