Education Minister On Discussions With Union

December 7, 2018

Standards-based grading, job descriptions for paraeducators and education therapists, school fire alarms, computers, and mentor teachers are among the topics the Education Ministry has discussed with the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT], the Minister said today.

His comments follow after paraeducators called in sick yesterday, with the BUT President saying the situation “is a direct result of a lack of action by Government to address the needs of schools and teachers that we highlighted last week.”

Yesterday’s ‘sick out’ marked the latest development in ongoing issues regarding education, as last Friday almost all the teachers at West Pembroke School called in sick after agreeing to go on work-to-rule last month, School Principals are also engaging in work-to-rule and last month the BUT confirmed that teachers “voted to take ‘appropriate action’ over issues they say are negatively impacting schools.”

Minister of Education Diallo Rabain said, “The priority for this Ministry and this government is protecting our children and preserving their access to quality education in a safe environment. We were elected to transform our education system, and we will continue to fulfil this mandate which includes addressing long outstanding concerns.

“As part of that commitment the public should be aware of what issues have been raised, where the Ministry stands on each issue and have the same information that has been conveyed to the BUT in the meetings held since we became the government, the latest of which was Monday, 3 December.

“For the public, parents and teachers, we can share the following regarding our discussions:

  • 1. Standards-Based Grading: The Ministry has been meeting with the BUT since June to develop a way forward. The BUT is well aware of the progress made and the Department of Education’s intention to provide the BUT, at the request of their Executive, a full day of professional development in January 2019 to hold robust training for teachers and administrators. This training will be on-going during the remainder of the school year and alternatives will be developed for entering grades until all teachers are proficient in using the new system.
  • 2. Job descriptions for paraeducators and education therapists: The BUT is aware that the Department of Education decided to undertake a system-wide review of all BUT positions that commenced in August 2018. This is the first time, BUT posts have ever been reviewed and evaluated; such an undertaking is long overdue. The BUT members have been kept apprised of and involved by their participation in several meetings that are supporting the execution of the job evaluation process until completion. The Ministry can no longer move forward in meaningful salary and employment negotiations without new and updated job descriptions for all BUT positions.
  • 3. School Fire Alarms: The BUT Executive was advised that the Department’s facilities section is currently receiving bids from vendors to repair the school fire alarms. Also, the Ministry of Public Works confirmed that last week, November 27th a work task was sent in regarding two windows at West Pembroke Primary School that needed repairs.
  • 4. Computers: The Ministry was surprised this week to hear from the BUT that computers often do not have fully functioning software. All computers are loaded with the Microsoft Office Suite which is the standard PC issue. In response to this complaint, the Department commenced a system-wide audit starting with West Pembroke Primary School.
  • 5. Mentor Teachers: The Department of Education has not had nine mentor teachers for over ten years. The System has been functioning with four mentor teachers one of which recently resigned from the System. The BUT was informed that the Department has completed the advertising to fill this vacancy and is now moving into the interview process to recruit another mentor teacher for the start of the next school term in January 2019.

“Now that the public is aware of the issues within education raised by the BUT we hope that we can continue to work together to provide our children with a quality education in a safe environment,” Minister Rabain added.

“Through our commitment to continued collaboration, the infrastructure and the changes necessary to deliver on our promises to reform education in Bermuda will be put in place. The Ministry will continue to operate in good faith with the students, parents, teachers and the BUT and we will come together to accomplish what needs to be done.”

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Comments (6)

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  1. teach your children well... says:

    I wish that education in Bermuda was as important as every minister having a free car. You get who you vote for…

  2. DeOnion says:

    He has started, just started, to address some, just some, concerns – what abuot all the others?

  3. watching says:

    Stick to the wicket Minister and don’t let the comments and detractors get to you.

    • kevin says:

      Stick to the wicket ,,,,wow ..are u serious he showed up at white hill when he supposed to be at dev rec. the plp don’t have the resources to address this ……please lets get some help and in a hurry …..ive heard a cry for an education authority great idea and while we are at it
      Works and Engineering authority
      Home affairs authority
      getting my drift we pay these people big bucks but performance is PXX Poor

    • Vote no more says:

      Maybe he shouldn’t be so quick to blow his horn.
      Yes EVERYTHING is fixed and repaired and ready for the school year. Ya OK..
      And you guys are getting boring still blaming the opposition, your in to govern, put on your big guy pants and do it… well if your able.

  4. Hey says:

    Where are the comments from the union. This is just PLP propaganda.