BUT action call

President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Rudy Lovell wants Government to move urgently to address some burning issues in the nation’s schools.

He said while attention has been given to the education reform drive, the creation of a Teaching Service Commission and the introduction of master teachers, the health and safety of teachers, and the late payment of increments and salaries, were placing the educators under stress.

Lovell was speaking on Monday night at the opening ceremony of the BUT’s annual general conference, marking its golden anniversary, at the Radisson Aquatica hotel. The theme was: Five Decades Strong: BUT 50 And Beyond.

“The BUT will not allow teachers and students to be negatively impacted by safety and health issues while [Ministry of Education) officials engage in sightseeing, by having several people visit schools to view areas of concern, instead of urgently addressing these environmental and other issues. Despite the long wait to have some issues resolved, at times shoddy work is done, and the issues are not adequately resolved and may place people at risk of falling under their own weight,” he declared. The BUT president cited environmental issues dating back to the 1980s when teachers and students complained of ailments, including respiratory issues at the now defunct Louis Lynch Secondary School. He listed nine additional schools where there have been health and safety issues, including St John Primary and The Lester Vaughan School. He called for continued training for schools’ safety and health committees.

Lovell also bemoaned what he said was the refusal of the ministry to hire new teachers to replace those on leave, adding that it appeared to regard hiring communication specialists and stakeholder relations consultants as priorities.

“While the hiring of numeracy and literacy teachers is welcomed, it would be remiss of me not to address the continued teacher shortage once again in some schools. Even though the evidence of this shortage is glaring, the BUT had to fight to have temporary primary school teachers reassigned in September. Despite this, the shortage continues,” he added.

He said the BUT welcomed the proposal to establish a Teaching Service Commission which would ensure a focus is given to “matters related to recruitment, promotion and, if needed, the discipline of teachers”.

However, he wants to see the commission address delayed payment of increments and salaries which be

blamed on inadequate staff at the ministry. He charged that there were still too many teachers not appointed.

“Some of our schools struggle with restricted spaces, outdated resources, aged infrastructure, unsuitable teacher furniture and a lack of essential support systems,” he pointed out.

The post BUT action call appeared first on nationnews.com.

Leave a Reply