Teacher awarded $100,000 for non-recognition of Bachelor’s degree

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

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