Categorized | National News

Union Leader Worried About School Repairs

President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) Belinda Wilson is growing increasingly worried that school repairs might not be completed before classes begin next Monday.

Most public and private schools do not open until September 3, but teachers have already returned to their classrooms as they prepare to welcome a new crop of students.

But Mrs. Wilson has insisted that the repairs need to happen before school starts to ensure the environment is conducive to learning.

“Going into the new school year, we are still waiting to see what’s happening with the repairs and preparations, especially in the southern Bahamas, including Acklins, Crooked Island and Inagua,” Mrs. Wilson told the Bahama Journal this week.

“Schools on those islands were displaced by Hurricane Irene last year, so we are hoping those schools are in good condition for our teachers and students to occupy this week and next week.”

The head of the teachers union is also worried about some outstanding human resources issues, which she insisted the union has been facing every year for the last decade.

“We are still not sure as to where some of our administrators and teachers are going to be placed. But for the majority of them, that is sorted out,” she said.

“We are still going into the new school year without confirmation letters and outstanding money. We have been talking about this same problem every year for the last five plus years.”

She continued, “So we are hoping these human resources matters can be resolved in a timely manner which helps the teachers to have a clearer mind and a more stress free year.”

Nearly 200 New Teachers Hired

The Ministry of Education just recently welcomed 184 new teachers into its fold with the majority of those teachers being deployed to the Family Islands, senior education officials said.

Mrs. Wilson called this latest augmentation of the teaching workforce “much needed” and “well overdue.”

And while the majority of teachers – all at different educational levels – are Bahamian, there are 13 others who have been recruited from Cuban and another from Guyana.

Last week during orientation the union president reminded the new teachers that they’ve entered the educational system at a time when classes are overcrowded, when students are facing many social issues and when parental involvement is almost non-existent.

But, more than that Mrs. Wilson pointed to the fact that the system is under heavy scrutiny in light of continued unsatisfactory results in the national examinations.

She insists, however, that improvements must come and reminded the teachers of their importance in that process.

Education Minister Won’t Give Up

“If we are going to change the educational system and attain the kind of results that we desire in our national examinations, we must change what goes on in the classrooms,” said Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald.

“Twenty-first century teachers are prerequisites for 21st century classrooms. As minister of education, I am extremely passionate about seeing more emphasis placed on skills training in our school, improvement in numeracy and literacy, greater teacher productivity and parental involvement which will ultimately lead to greater student performance.”

Minister Fitzgerald has refused to give up on the system and challenged the teachers to adopt the same attitude.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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