Friday, October 11, 2019
By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
ONE hundred teachers oriented at the beginning of the semester have not yet been assigned to a school more than a month into the term, according to Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson.
She said with a well-known teacher shortage throughout the country, the recruits should have been employed by now.
"The Ministry of Education has failed again," she told The Tribune. "Orientation was held August 21, 2019 for approximately 200 teachers. Teachers from Cuba and other countries were there but the majority of the teachers are graduates from the University of the Bahamas, some of whom were recipients of government grants, scholarships or tuition assistance. To date, approximately 100 of them are still at home, waiting to be posted. The Ministry of Education and Department of Education is using the lame excuses that the vetting process is incomplete, some files do not have all of the documents and that they are awaiting letters from the Public Service Commission. Every year the Ministry of Education makes the same mistakes and it does not seem to be improving. There are teacher shortages throughout the Bahamas and these new recruits need to be employed immediately. "
The BUT leader said the problem is a recurring one for the ministry.
"The morale of the teachers that are at home waiting to be employed is low," she said. "They are losing hope. This is simply ridiculous and unacceptable. The acting director of education should know his role. We are spending too much money on an annual basis for education to have lackluster, nonchalant, uncaring leadership."
Mrs Wilson also criticized the ministry's failure to develop a plan for students of CH Reeves in the event renovations were not completed on time.
"The Ministry of Education was aware that the extensive work at CH Reeves would not have been completed for the opening of the school year," she said in a statement. "Therefore, they should have accepted the recommendations from the BUT to look for alternative sites. The teachers have written to the principal about their concerns and all of the letters, approximately five letters, have been ignored in a breach of the Industrial Agreement. The school has been out of water for weeks so you are unable to flush toilets and wash hands. There is a shortage of rooms and the teachers would have put forth the recommendation of a rotation. All ideas and options given by the teachers to ensure that the school would still be able to operate have been rejected. The BUT stands firmly behind the teaches at CH Reeves who deserve to work and teach in a safe environment. The students are missing out on instructional time because of the big egos that are in the ministry and department of education. This matter needs to be resolved forthwith. As for Carlton Francis Primary school, teachers have been treated unfairly and the ministry has used police officers to intimidate teachers and lock them out of their work place. I am calling on the minister of education to have these matters addressed so the nation's darlings can get their education."
Attempts to reach education officials were unsuccessful up to press time.