An MOE invigilator’s woes
Invigilators play a critical role in the delivery of exams at the national, regional, and international level. Without invigilators exams would not be effectively administered. Yet the treatment of invigilators over the years by the Ministry of Education (MOE) leaves much to be desired.
I have been an invigilator and supervisor for both the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams for several years. While there have been myriad challenges year after year, I have returned because it not only provided an additional means of income for me and my family, but it allowed me to play my part in supporting the nation’s education system.
However, every year one of the main challenges invigilators face is the untimely and inefficient delivery of their funds. After we have completed our duties, completed the necessary reporting, and submitted the required forms and patiently await our payment, without fail there is always a delay or issue.
In fact, to provide a recent example, I just received a cheque for services rendered several months ago during the PEP exams. After being told the cheques were ready in late November — yes, cheques are still being issued in this day and age — I visited the Ministry of Education’s Old Harbour office in early December to collect. Contrary to what I was told, the cheques were not ready and I was advised to return the following week.
The disappointment of not receiving money that one has worked hard for is already bad enough, but to have had to deal with the level of unprofessionalism, nonchalance, and poor customer service meted out by the workers was like adding salt to an injury. Workers in the lobby sat unfazed by our long wait and offered very little help to rectify our situation.
Fast-forward to January 2024 and another visit to the same office — because we know the exemplary work ethic during the last two weeks of December, especially in our government offices — and the situation was more or less the same. While the cheques were indeed ready this time, the process to actually get them was like a dentist pulling teeth. After sitting and waiting for two hours, I eventually received one of the cheques I went to collect. There were also others visiting who had made multiple trips to retrieve their cheques, with one couple travelling from as far as St Mary.
The attitude of the person from the section disbursing the cheques was similar to that of a rich man reluctantly giving away coins to beggars. Surely there must be a more efficient way to do business in 2024. Surely there must be a better process in place for people who have worked hard for their money to get what is due to them. A good place to start would be to at least issue payment through direct bank transfers for all exams so that people do not have to waste time, energy, and money to go to MOE offices to collect their payment and then have to deal with the workers who operate as if any visitor to the office is a bother to them.
Each year the Ministry of Education and its schools have to be recruiting invigilators because the ones they have are leaving due to the bureaucratic processes, untimely payment, and the overall poor manner in which invigilators are treated, especially by some of the education officers who visit the schools and even more so at the MOE offices when we go to collect our cheques.
After many years of service I have hung up my hat. It is my hope that for those who remain the situation will improve. Please, MOE, treat invigilators better!