A teacher who was forced to take the Ministry of Education to court for failing to recognise her University of the West Indies’ Bachelor in Education degree which she had pursued based on the ministry’s recommendation has won her matter.
Ordering the State to pay Candice Greenidge $100,000 in damages, Justice Kevin Ramcharan also granted a declaration that her constitutional right to protection of the law was violated.
As a result of this judgment, Greenidge, who was an assistant primary school teacher, will be promoted to the post of Teacher 1 with immediate retroactive effect from August 2014.
Greenidge filed the constitutional motion against the Ministry Attorney General and Chief Personnel Officer through her attorneys Anand Ramlogan SC, Alvin Pariagsingh and Alana Rambaran.
Ramlogan said this landmark case will affect hundreds of other teachers who had pursued this degree with the UWI and other institutions as recommended by the ministry for them to be considered for promotion to the post of Teacher I.
But, as in Greenidge’s case their degree was not recognised by the ministry because of issues with the CPO.
“Interestingly, Ms Greenidge’s degree was recognised by the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) and UWI was recently rated among the top Universities in the world,” he said.
Delighted by the outcome, Greenidge said it was a victory not just for herself but for all hardworking teachers who were faced with a similar predicament.
Greenidge said it was an injustice for the ministry to take such a position since the recommendation that teachers purposed the degree in order to be promoted came from them.
While finding that this was not an egregious instance of deprivation of Greenidge’s fundamental rights, the judge said the the laissez- faire attitude of the CPO in dealing with the recommendation of the Curriculum Planning and Development (a division within the ministry), with regards to the promotion, did tilt the scale in favour of awarding vindicatory damages.
The judge awarded her compensatory and vindicatory damages in the sum of $50,000 each. The State was represented by Sanjeev Lalla and Kristy Mohan instructed by Sangeeta Latchan.
Reporter: Sascha Wilson