Today [Aug.22] Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Warren Jones responded to comments made by Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] Vice-President Mr. Jason Hayward regarding staffing and budget matters at the Berkeley Institute.
Mr. Jones said, “Whilst the nature of discussions between the Berkeley Institute and BPSU regarding the terms of work for support staff are a private matter between the two entities, I must respond to what I feel are irresponsible and inaccurate comments made by the President of the BPSU.
“It is no secret that the budget of the Ministry of Education was cut some 10% effective April 1, 2011. This cut has had ramifications across the education system with all schools including the Berkeley Institute having to make adjustments to meet the needs of students.”
“In a meeting with the BPSU last week, I informed the members present of the reality of our budget allocation and that our schools are seeking to work within that allocation.
“That said, the Country has seen the steps taken thus far to meet that budget allocation. Staff cuts were announced in June across the system. However, we are convinced that we can do more with less, and the reality is that everything remaining as is, is not an option.
“The Minister of Education has made it clear that where students have a need, that need will be met. The education of our students is of paramount importance. It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to ensure the educational needs of students are met and that funding is provided for the operation of educational programmes.
“This is not a responsibility that the Ministry takes lightly. We monitor the budgetary situation of all of our maintained schools and have relationships with our aided schools who in turn advise us of their budgetary status.”
“As a part of our responsibility, we must also keep the Cabinet informed of any concerns which arise related to our budget and or educational programmes. I can assure the public that the Ministry is well aware of the budgetary situation and that there will certainly be no school closures as a result of any budgetary shortfall.”