Jones must go!

Union head calls for back of Minister of Education

President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd is warning of a “catastrophic collapse” of the Barbadian education system unless there are sweeping administrative changes, starting at the top.

In a blistering attack on the record of the Ronald Jones led-Ministry of Education, during his address at the BUT annual conference at Almond Bay Caterers Tuesday morning, Shepherd stated that Jones’ tenure had resulted in a runaway situation, evidenced by the disciplinary woes and tumultuous relationship between teachers and the ministry.

BUT President Pedro Shepherd

Unfazed by the presence of Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Harry Husbands at the head table, Shepherd made it clear that the ministry under its current stewardship and advisory body was not up to the task.

“The vehicle can be repaired but we need to change the bodywork men, and definitely it can’t be same driver. The two or three navigators in the vehicle, who refused to alert and offer technical advice ahead of the collision, may also be better off not travelling in the repaired vehicle. The society cannot take much more of what education spews out,” Shepherd said to a mixture of loud applause and dirisive laughter.

This is not the first time that Shepherd has called for the back of Jones, himself a former BUT president, who has clashed repeatedly with the union – as well as the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union – on a number of issues, including violence in schools; safety and health; school closure and policy relating to water outages and stench; terms leave; study leave; and payment for the marking of school-based assessment projects.

During a bitter standoff last year, made worse by the ministry’s decision to dock the pay of 80 per cent of teachers who had attended union meetings during school hours, the union leader had also called on the minister to go.

However, this time he has gone further by also calling for the back of senior officials in the ministry, likely including Husbands and Chief Education Officer Karen Best, who, like Jones, are former BUT presidents.

Shepherd was also scathing in his criticism of the manner in which the ministry chooses candidates to sit on the various school boards, arguing that those chosen had little qualification for the post other than being political stooges.

He contended that the same measuring stick was often applied when it came to the appointment of principals and senior teachers.

“Some of our problems may be traced to the handpicking of senior teachers, heads of departments, deputy principals and principals of our schools in the recent past. There must be certain horses for certain courses and it is probably because of the aforementioned that our schools have seen an upsurge in deviant behaviour to the point where this country’s education system is destined for a catastrophic collapse.

“The practice of a Minister of Education nominating some political persons to chair and serve on school boards needs to be revisited. We have found that some of those members have not a clue what their role is on these boards,” he added.

The trade unionist said in addition to the corroding policy framework of the education system, a significant percentage of the physical infrastructure suffered from neglect, creating an unhealthy environment for teachers and students alike.

He revealed that the BUT was called in to assess environmental related concerns in 11 schools just last year alone.

“During the last year the union had reason to visit a number of schools and to make representation on several levels on a multitude of matters, even though we were told that we have the best system in the world. Our intervention revealed in but two cases, serious environmental concerns affecting staff. From sewage at St Lawrence Primary to mould at St Paul’s Primary to termite and fleas at the Ann Hill School, there are some very serious health and safety matters that need to be addressed across the system,” Shepherd stressed.

The BUT president also called for the dissolution of the individual school boards, and the formation of just four to govern the 22 schools across Barbados.

15 Responses to Jones must go!

  1. Samantha Best April 19, 2017 at 6:28 am

    After Jones has left will the teachers put away their cell phones during teaching sessions in school? Will they teach what is required of them and stop keeping it back for paid “lessons” after school?Will they seek to earn respect as opposed to marching for it? Will they teach? Will they discontinue their sales of unhealthy snacks on the school compound to the students?

  2. Tudor April 19, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Only Jones will move Jones certainly not the one who sleeps on high. Husbands & Best both failed DLP candidates BUT President got some balls speaking as he did in a DLP strong hole. But SB asks some pertinent questions will Teachers continue with their own shortcomings ???

  3. I m Awesome April 19, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Every teacher cannot be painted with the same brush. Such generalisations are dangerous and only serve to perpetuate the usual degrading attitude towards teachers. NO WONDER YOUR CHILDREN ARE DISRESPECTFUL, DISRUPTIVE AND REBELLIOUS AT SCHOOL. They feed off the usual negative rhetoric that you spew. I implore you to visit a school and report back on your observations for one day. You may not like what you see.

    • harry turnover April 19, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Teachers are there to teach children AT SCHOOL and whatever a child does at SCHOOL is what they see going on by the TEACHERS at SCHOOLS…children learn and tend to FOLLOW what they see TEACHERS DO….DISRESPECTFUL, DISRUPTIVE AND REBELLIOUS to their PRINCIPALS….so WHAT DO YOU EXPECT ?
      …and using YOUR PHRASE….every CHILD cannot be painted with the SAME brush.Can’t you see that you said that and turned around and painted ALL CHILDREN ?
      You need now to go and WASH ya face,wipe ya mout and flush it.
      ….and if someone was to visit a School ,of course I may not like to see/hear a Teacher/Teachers chatting up female CHILDREN and EXCHANGING phone numbers, using CELL PHONES in classes,telling CHILDREN about after School lessons for $50 a month a CHILD, ignoring those who REFUSED .
      Yes ,there are some of those CHILDREN in Schools BUT YOU CANNOT PAINT ALL CHILDREN WITH THE SAME BRUSH…and YOU know that they got a LOT OF WUTLESS,don’t care ,disrespectful,disruptive and rebellious Teachers both men and WOMEN.
      Why don’t you talk about the WUTLESS FEMALE ADULT MARRIED teacher that was involved with a MALE CHILD breaking up a marriage in the process ?

    • Sherlock Holmes. April 19, 2017 at 10:49 am

      What would you call being spewed by this teacher who apparently has no respect for those heading the ministry?Maybe this should give you some indication as to why the same children you speak of behave the way they do.We have unions who believe that they are ungovernable and that is one of the major problems facing this country I’M Awesome.

      • Sunshine Sunny Shine April 19, 2017 at 3:45 pm

        Absolute Rubbish!!!!

        One only has to look at the modus operandi of the ministers to know that their so called leadership styles that are obstinate, provacative, and disrespectful. If any teacher is derelict in his duty it is because the system is weak and outdated.

  4. hcalndre April 19, 2017 at 8:28 am

    @BUT; that`s the problem with this DLP administration, they are putting their friends, the yard fowls and square pegs in round holes along with the “house negroes.” Jones will be gone with the rest in the near future before he could get some heads cracked and want to stop people and teachers from exercising their democratic rights.

  5. Milli Watt April 19, 2017 at 8:51 am

    peddy I tell you if you all let this cell phone policy fly this september it ALL OVER. bout time wunnah tek off de gloves and stop talking. ssstttuuuupppssssseeeeee. tek me an hour to read dis essay

  6. Happy Camper April 19, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Samantha Best,
    You can’t possibly be implying that ALL of the teachers in Barbados’ education system use cell phones in their classrooms, fail to do their teaching duties, march for respect, and sell snacks on the school premises! Such generalisations reflect a disturbing level of ignorance. Please do not take your experiences with a minority of teachers to make sweeping statements on the whole teaching profession. As a former student of three primary and one secondary schools, and as a teacher who interacts with other teachers, I can confidently say that the majority of teachers are concerned about the welfare of their charges. Many of us pull our pockets to provide teaching materials that the MOE used to provide, but for some reason no longer considers to be essentials. Most of us would give our last $2 to a child who came asking for bus fare. Many of us dedicate our personal time, our energy, our money, and in some cases our health, for the sake of your children. There should be no need to march for respect after the kind of sacrifices we make, but that’s just a reflection of the ungrateful society we live in.

  7. Biscuits April 19, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Unfortunately there are some teachers who have used the teaching profession as ‘a means to an end’…hence their hearts are not into their jobs and they are often disgruntled. Then there are those who give their ‘all’ to ensure that their students succeed, regardless of the circumstances.
    I wonder which grouping misses classes at the expense of the nation’s children….and expects a full day’s reward for their (in)action!

  8. Mikey April 19, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    I hope harry turnover has no children of school age.
    One or Two bad apples do not spoil the whole Box.
    Children nor Teachers.
    But the children NOW have to learn, The Teachers learnt already. getting a salary and most likely ready to retire.
    Harry, what about the children all across the country ?

  9. Mikey April 19, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    I hope harry turnover is not one of those parents who go to the school and curse and assault teachers !

  10. Mary Quite Contrary April 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    @ Turnover. everyone blames the teacher, the church and the society. no one blames the PARENTS. the reason why the children are the way they are is because of the PARENTS. they come out of homes with no morals, no values. if the children were taught these things at home, there would be no need to copy the teachers. the parents have no morals and no values either. And it is the same PARENTS who encourage these nasty, disrespectful, unhealthy, belligerent behaviours. the PARENTS are the head ones to blame.

  11. Cavil Best April 20, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Shepherd is a lousy coward, I am fully aware that he has an axe to grind. So he has decided to take instructions from some of his political colleagues and misfits who are loose cannons such as the Old Political Hag Mary Redds and the Fanatic de Mccadodoo Bull Dog fellow from Roebuck Street who pretends to be a Trade Unionist from Dalkeith along with de female Buck Rabbit Moore from nearby. But, there is a Bajan Proverbs that said ‘ de higher de monkeys climb de more they expose their crutches’.

  12. Cavil Best April 20, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Shepherd is a lousy coward, I am fully aware that he has an axe to grind. So he decided to take instructions from some of his Political colleagues and misfits who are loose cannons such as the Old Political Hag Mary Redds and the Fanatic de McCadodoo Bull Dog fellow from Roebuck Street who pretends to be a Trade Unionist from Dalkeith along with the Buck Rabbit Moore from nearby. But there is a Bajan Proverb which says that ‘ de higher de monkeys climbed de moore they exposed their crutches’.


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