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Tim takes Teaching Service Commission to President

By Irene Medina

Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh has complained to President George Maxwell Richards about the "unsatisfactory" and "poor performance" of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) over its "inability" to appoint a Chief Education Officer (CEO) to oversee the education system.

Gopeesingh said it had become necessary to bring the matter to the attention of the President since he had failed to have it rectified at the level of the Commission and its chairman, Hyacinth Guy, despite his "many efforts to create heightened awareness and urgency" about the issue.

But Guy told the Express yesterday the Commission was actively involved in the selection process.

"The position only became vacant on October 1 and selection activities are ongoing," she said, adding that she expects the second phase of the process to be completed this month.

Gopeesingh wrote to President Richards on October 22, three weeks after the position became vacant, telling him he had written to the chairman of the TSC since January 27, asking for attention to be given to the post of CEO, which was due to become vacant on October 1, 2012.

The minister also pointed out that the previous CEO proceeded on pre-retirement leave since March 26 and that the post was advertised since that time and interviews were conducted in early September, some six months later.

"A further six weeks have elapsed (since the interviews) and an appointment of CEO has still not been made," he said.

Gopeesingh yesterday confirmed he had written the President, saying it was imperative that the position be filled. He said he was looking forward to the appointment being made since the CEO had tremendous responsibilities under the Education Act.

"It is most desirable that the position be filled quickly," he said.

The Education Minister told the President: "You will appreciate that the CEO oversees the entire education system to secondary level" which "seeks to educate and develop over 250,000 of the nation's children, plus manage over 16,000 teachers".

He added: "This affects the policy direction, decision support, confidence of staff and overall leadership and management of the education system."

Gopeesingh knocked the Commission for its inability to fulfil its obligations to the ministry and the nation's children and teachers on a timely basis, adding: "This is unsatisfactory and poor performance."

He urged the President, who is responsible for appointing members of the Teaching Service Commission, to use his office to help correct this "unacceptable situation".

He said too that it is essential for the TSC to have a full-time chairman to cope with the requirements of the office and said he looked forward to the President's "active support and assistance to remedy the appointment of a CEO".

The Express has learnt that in September, the TSC received applications for the post and a four-member panel, headed by COSTATT acting president Dr. Gillian Paul, interviewed six people.

One person emerged as the top candidate, but the TSC could not go further with the process since the leading applicant had listed among his referees the name of one of the members of the interviewing panel.

"The process was found to be flawed and as a result the exercise has to be done over," said a source close to the process.

The TSC chairman refused to comment on this, saying it would not be fair to the people being interviewed to give any details pertaining to the process.

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