BUT will decide by Sunday course of action at Alma Parris

Pedro Shepherd (left) and Executive member Richmark Cave.
Pedro Shepherd (left) and Executive member Richmark Cave.

It will be another 48 hours before the Barbados Union of Teachers decides what it will be doing at the Alma Parris School on Monday.

President Pedro Shepherd told Barbados TODAY that they received correspondence from Chief Education Officer Laurie King this afternoon but based on the ministry’s position they will be seeking a legal opinion on what has been outlined.

He said the Ministry has informed them that a committee to have a full inspection of the Speightstown, St. Peter school will be set up and will start on Monday, September 23 and conclude on October 25.

Additionally, the recommendations of the Oversight Committee have been passed on the Personnel Administration Division but Shepherd said there was no effort to solve the problem.

On Wednesday at a press conference at its Merryhill, Welches, St. Michael headquarters, Shepherd said that by today teachers should know what was “coming in terms of resolution to their problems”.

Those issues include staff functioning without proper timetables, not being assigned to departments and concerns about discipline.

“Last school year in cases where some of them had timetables they were teaching children who were already assigned to another teacher at the same time. In effect, the timetable was riddled with clashes.

“Teachers were asked to teach outside of their specialty which is not the norm in the secondary system and were assigned to departments which did not fit their qualification and/or training.

“In the opinion of our members, discipline at the school was deteriorating beyond imagination and the staff felt threatened by their mere presence at the school. There were too many fights among students and our members felt that enough was not being done.

“Communication between the principal and teaching staff was at an all-time low, sometimes non existent, and apparently is now by registered mail,” Shepherd told journalists.

Regarding the “simple matter” the trade union said the Education Ministry had failed to act on “over a two-year period” and which had “escalated into one of embarrassment”, the Chief Education Officer reported that the person affected will be reassigned but did not give specifics such as when, where or the position.

The member of the union who successfully completed the Associate Degree in Education at Erdiston Teachers Training College had not been reassigned.

“This union’s position is quite clear and we are asking for her to be reassigned as a temporary teacher effective September 1, 2013. The error has been made and needs to be corrected now,” he said.

“It is my hope that the Ministry of Education gets it right by September 9 and this young lady be reassigned to a school and the emphasis here is reassigned,” he asserted.(DS)

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