As the race for a new executive in the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) heats up, one candidate has thrown his hat into the ring to contest as an independent.
Barry Joel Desaine has been a teacher for the past 20 years and describes teaching as his “passion”.
This passion is what led him to contest the post of General Secretary.
“I’m on a mission to challenge the status quo in order to realise positive changes in the association,” Desaine said.
Saying that one of his main aims will be to engage the membership on methods of improving the communications systems in relation to specified needs, Desaine said teachers must be exemplary learners as “beacons of hope to society”.
Defending his position to run as an independent, Desaine told the Sunday Express last week; “I’m an independent candidate and thinker, but, I’m also a team player.”
Saying he was concerned about the vilification of teachers, Desaine said this can be attributed to a breakdown in communication and the public not being fully sensitised as to the operations, roles and functions of teachers.
“TTUTA has failed to highlight the good work of teachers, while the media seldom report the good things teachers do.”
Desaine said it was unfortunate that education had become a political football, since several changes implemented were not always good.
“Some of these changes have been made without consultation and this is wrong. If you are effecting change in something I’m involved in, should I not be consulted? And the answer is yes, since such change can and will affect my duties,” he said.
Apart from being a teacher, Desaine is also an ordained minister and believes whatever task is being undertaken should be pleasing to God.
He said TTUTA is not recognised as a serious stakeholder and something needs to be done about its image.
“If elected, I will work with the executive to change this image and offer the membership something to be proud of.
The highlighting of positive things done by teachers, social networking, mass media dissemination of information and YouTube videos are just some of the avenues which can be used to educate the public and membership about the work being done by teachers,” he said.
This is apart from the need to expand the validity and functionality of the association’s website, database management system and publications, he added.
The need for teachers to further educate themselves is of paramount importance, Desaine said, adding that the bar needed to be raised to ensure teachers were academically qualified.
Desaine said globalisation and the age of technology now was in stark contrast to 20 years ago.
“TTUTA is ours and many teachers don’t see this. Social equality and justice for teachers and their students must always be upheld,” he said.
TTUTA’s election will take place on October 24.
More that 13,000 teachers are expected to cast votes throughout the country.