Govt Confirm: All Public Schools Closed Today

December 10, 2018

[Updating] Multiple unofficial sources are indicating that there are further issues with education today [Dec 10] with suggestions many of the staff may not have come in to work, and an Education Ministry spokesperson confirmed that “a number of schools have been affected,” adding that they will provide a full statement as soon as able.

This follows after para educators called in sick on December 6th, with Education Minister confirming that “para educators throughout our system” called in sick, while a subsequent statement from the BUT President said the situation “is a direct result of a lack of action by Government to address the needs of schools and teachers that we highlighted.”

The week before 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.”

We will update as able.

Update 8.10am: Unofficial reports continue to come in, indicating this is widespread and numerous staff have not come in at multiple schools.

Update 8.29am: While we await official statement, we have visited three schools ourselves, and none of them appear to be open at this time.

Update 8.38am: Official statement is now in confirming that “due to an island-wide industrial action by teachers, all public schools will be closed today.”

The statement said, “The Ministry of Education regrets to inform the public that due to an island-wide industrial action by teachers, all public schools will be closed today.

“The Ministry is working diligently to attain a swift and amicable resolution to this dispute to insure the safety and educational security of our children.

“The Ministry apologies to Bermuda’s parents and students for the inconvenience.”

Education IG Bermuda Dec 10 2018

Update 9.37am: President of the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] Shannon James said, “Teachers – and Principals – have shown how strongly they feel about the issues within education.

“While the actions teachers have taken have very regrettably affected students, they feel that the issues that remain outstanding have an even greater impact on our young people.

“We need to get this resolved and I would invite the Minister – and the Premier – to sit down with us and find a way forward.

“No teacher wants to harm the education of our young people and all teachers want to resolve this situation so they can do what they love doing – helping Bermuda’s young people.”

Update 9.54am: Bermuda College would like to clarify that they are open, and “exams are on as scheduled today.”

Update 4.17pm: Commissioner of Education Kalmar Richards released a statement, which can be read here.

Update 5.18pm: The BUT had a press conference, where they explained some of their main concerns.

The BUT said that ‘schools will be open tomorrow’ and ‘teachers will be at their positions and they will remain in their position as long as discussions with the Ministry, BUT & Labour Relations Dept are going successfully.’

The 15-minute replay is below

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Comments (63)

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  1. Great Job says:

    Aren’t the PLP doing a fantastic job? Nothing but praise, education under control, tourism BRa take over in progress, fintech booming, fuel tax on electricity booming, an abundance of toddy milk, Great job guys, round of a plause, you should all be proud.

    • WSP says:

      I hope the people that voted for tbese muppets are feeling the affects

    • Portia says:

      Well if the OBA had fixed education and everything else like they promised, we wouldn’t be having these problems would we?

      • WSP says:

        Renember Portia the PLP have been in power 15 of tbe last 20 years,the OBA only 4 half years,You do the math.

        • Double S says:

          Nothing is their fault. Ever. Always someone else’s doing.

      • dark star says:

        If the OBA had fixed it the PLP would have just screwed it back up. The OBA made headway with turning the economy around (it was why they were voted in) and the PLP feel they have to undo everything b/c the PLP didn’t do it.

      • DeOnion says:

        Really – the PLP has been in power for 15 of the last 20 years: did they fox in that time? Maybe if they had not left such a huge debt then there would be more resources for teachers?

        • Vote for Me says:

          This seems to be a new foolish narrative. The UBP or OBA have been in power for 35 of the last 50 years. Does that make them responsible for everything and the PLP responsible for nothing?

          • Double S says:

            It is only a ‘foolish narrative’ to some because it actually places responsibility at the PLP’s feet for once. And we all know that responsibility for negative incidences is a no no to the faithful. Now if it is a positive incidence then all of a sudden it is all the PLP’s doing.

          • DeOnion says:

            Let’s face it – the UBP left little or no debt for the PLP!

            • mixitup says:

              “Let’s face it – the UBP left little or no debt for the PLP!”

              And this is the barometer for success?….. At What price? and to what community?
              Yes 35 of the past 50, if you want to play that game.

              • wahoo says:

                It was a success story you cannot argue that, the UBP was good for all Bermuda pure and simple.

                • hmmm says:

                  If the UBP was that good why did all it’s members change the name to OBAUBP. Please tell us??

          • red rose says:

            In 1998, the PLP inherited a debt of about $160m and took it to $1.6 Billion. When the OBA was elected they had to borrow just to pay the payroll tax! Yes, they kept borrowing but they had to to – to pay off the deficits created by the PLP. The PLP would also have increased the debt.
            What is also noticeable is that the OBA would have balanced the budget by now – something the PLP has kicked down the road … all the time increasing our debt even further

          • Lol says:

            That is true but look when Bermuda started its downward spiral.

      • Double S says:

        If the OBA had to fix it that means they inherited a broken system in 2013 from your beloved PLP. Didn’t think about that inna?

      • wahoo says:

        Everything that the OBA did and tried to do was attacked by a combined opposition at the time. The combined groups have been quiet since they got their party elected either because they are embarrassed or because they are content with the inadequacy.

      • question says:

        It’s the PLP who told us they already fixed the schools within weeks of winning the election.
        Apparently a few gullible morons actually believed them.

  2. trump supporter says:

    Where are the marchers meeting!
    Tweettyy and dem.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      They are waiting for directions from Alaska Hall. So far they have been told to stay quiet, stay very very quiet. Hopefully this too shall pass.

    • Micro says:

      PLP in disguise? Why would they protest against themselves?

  3. Concerned Bermudian says:

    Our children couldn’t get to school this morning anyway…. There will be an interruption in bus service today [Dec 10] from 10.30am until 12.30pm to accommodate a meeting, the DPT has confirmed. In a previous statement, a spokesperson said, “The Department of Public Transportation [DPT] is advising of an interruption in bus service on Monday, 10 December from 10.30 am until 12.30 pm.

    • High Road says:

      and how many people have to take time off work to look after their children due to this?

  4. Hmm says:

    I saw a FB post this weekend asking if the OBA was working for me. It would appear the current administration is the one that is failing to work for anyone!!

    You can rant and rave sounding all dumb but the party in power is the reason a strike is happening now. Teachers aren’t striking because the former administration isn’t currently listening to them. Cut the nonsense!

  5. question says:

    The Winter of Discontent.
    Get used to it. It’s the new normal.

  6. Mark says:

    Must be all those ex UBP now PLP MP’s fault.

  7. Real Deal says:

    bad weather away

  8. Amicable resolutiom says:

    Amicanle resolution

  9. Gustav says:

    You get what you Voted for

  10. aceboy says:

    The children are the pawns in all of this and will be the ones suffering.

    Unions are great when you have complete control of them, it would appear that is not the case this time around.

    The silence from the marchers is deafening.

  11. Stevie says:

    All quiet from Tweed & Furbert. Oh forgot the plp green machine in. No marches…sad case you get what you vote for. Premier gutless. Time to stand down Burt.

  12. What a Blast says:

    What a shame! I am a young person and everytime I read the comments it’s mostly all blame on this party and that party. You party blamers are so immature and you rant about young people’s behavior just look at yours. In my opinion if we just stop forcing students to compete with other countries maybe things will be better. This curriculum and that curriculum crammed to cover so much in a school semester, forcing all these exams in. Students have become highly stressed and some even depressed and self medicating to cope. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Not just the students are stressed but so are the teachers. Is it really neccessary to have all this material or type of curriculum shoved down everyone’s throat? Why must certain exams be sat? Why do we have to be compared with the ranking of the students in Canada, US, and UK? Not every student is academically inclined but they are still forced to be certified. Many are good with their hands or can represent professionally but they are still forced to get the highest qualification to do what they love and what they are gifted in. There are so many people world wide who are successful without a certification or high degree. Give those who are capable a chance. Stop putting so much emphasis into competing. Those who are high achievers yes let the soar high. Stop telling us NO because we don’t have a certain degree or achievement. Stop telling us to behave in an appropriate manner when many of you don’t. Prime example just look at all the negative comments posted. Look at how people are attached in the community when they di something unfavorable.

    • Beth says:

      The most sensible comment in a long time “what A Blast”. Our youngsters are stressed out with all need to compete (for everything).

    • Anbu says:

      Its called competition and its how the world works. Sorry to inform you. Adapt or perish. Its that simple unfortunately.

    • Sorry Mate says:

      You do realize when you graduate you will have to find a job where you can actually add more value to the organization than they are paying you? Things don’t just happen because people have good intentions and deserve it. The all mighty dollar reigns. I agree the abundance of certifications that one needs for the most mediocre job is ridiculous but what are you going to do when other people actually have them? What if you don’t want a mediocre job and need proper education? Welcome to the rat race. You think you’re stressed and depressed now? Just wait.

    • Gabriel says:

      Life is going to hit you like a ton of bricks…

      • Double S says:

        It is the basic ‘participation trophy’ mindset that this generation has been indoctrinated into.

    • p says:

      “Stop telling us NO because we don’t have a certain degree or achievement.”

      So you want to put in little to no work but expect something to be given to you instead?

      That’s not how the real world works I am afraid.

      • What a Blast says:

        Sorry that you are missing the point that I was trying to make. I never said we did not have to work but there are many individuals who are capable of doing curtains jobs but they are shut down because they are not certified. When I look at the ads there many tasks For certain positions I have and can do but if I don’t have a bachelor’s degree they would not even look at me. Do you realize that us young people have grown up in the world of technology and we spend a lot of time on video games, cell phones, computers that some of us have become technology wiz kids but because we dont have papers in that field we will never lend a job. So many of us are talented. The other point I was making first was the behavior of people and their negative comments.

        • Caboose says:

          So you play video games but do you have the skills to work on the creation of one? Coding, art, writing, marketing, etc. If you do then submit a portfolio to the company of your choice. You can work on becoming the next Markiplier or Ninja if you have some game skills and the personality to do so. Competitive gaming is an option if you have the skills and dedication.
          Phone time does not = work skills.
          If you have the computer skills then you can put them to use now and do independent work and build your customer base via online sites.
          Jobs don’t come to you out of the blue (usually) so work on making yourself a “must hire” to employers or start up your own company like B Burns of RT.
          Work with your talented friends/peers to create the careers you want.

        • question says:

          Maybe if you worked a bit harder you might ‘get certified’. You may even learn to spell. That would increase the chances of you getting a job offer. Just a thought.

        • aceboy says:

          Go GET certified then.

          Stop crying about it and deal with the problem. You have talent but no credentials. The solution is very simple.

    • legalgal says:

      The reality is Bermuda’s youth are being failed by the pervasive sense of entitlement and sheltered/”island unto itself” mentality. You need more competition and globalism not less. You think you are “stressed”, ask previous generations about real stressors. They had to fight to be educated. You need to prepare for the wide world, not a small island. That or you sink. Sad day for Bermuda. The school kids should be marching to demand an international education FROM their teachers. What a terrible example to all. Fire them.

    • question says:

      I know some young people who bust their a$$es and work exceptionally hard. They are great people, and everyone around them knows it.

      Quite honestly, they deserve to do better in life than people like you who sit around complaining all the time and expect things to be handed to them.

    • Don says:

      I think the issue is that basic standards need to set and compared to other jurisdictions – the unfortunate truth is that we have accepted poor basic results for years – ie core reading, comprehension and math skills or not being taught. I agree that you don’t need to be certified or have degrees to succeed as many Bermudians have done well. However basic skills need to be taught to students to come out into the work force or to have the opportunity to work outside Bermuda. Expats are doing jobs that should be done by Bermudians in some cases because the Bermudians have been failed by the politicians for the past 30 years with a substandard education system. The UPB, PLP and OBA have completely failed the voters as they do not have the political courage to address a dysfunctional and failing education system that is effectively controlled by the unions who in turn offer their votes to any party that does not interfere with the education system (and protects their jobs). There is no accountability in the system and the children are victims. The current government has a strong mandate and will need to stand up the entrenched power in Bermuda (the unions) and not allow the unions to ruin the next generation of Bermudians.

    • George says:

      ” Not every student is academically inclined but they are still forced to be certified. Many are good with their hands or can represent professionally but they are still forced to get the highest qualification to do what they love and what they are gifted in. There are so many people world wide who are successful without a certification or high degree. ”

      It’s quite true that not every student is academically inclined, and from 1956 till 1972 the Bermuda Technical Institute provided hands-on skills training for those who did not wish to pursue an academic education. The BTI was absorbed into the Bermuda College in 1972.

      Regrettably for you, however, is that we are now in the middle of a socio-economic revolution that is the equal of the Industrial Revolution. Call it the Information Revolution if you wish. In this information based society an academic education will reign supreme. While the traditional trades will never go away, there will be advances that require everyone beyond the skills of a general labourer to have a certain degree of academic smarts.

      Beyond just acquiring the education and certification that you complain of, all those courses that you now complain of will come in handy as you grow older. I’ve never “needed” the Latin I learned in school, but just being aware of it has made me a smarter person and more able to appreciate the world around me. There is no such thing as too much education.

      Finally, as others have said, you will spend the rest of your life competing for opportunities, jobs and money – and not just with your fellow Bermudians, but with smart people from around the world.

      If you have been reading the rest of the news this week you will be aware that Bermuda is in deep doo-doo financially. The only way out of this crisis is to increase the income from tourists and international business. That means making Bermuda a more attractive place, financially, for them to visit or set up shop respectively. Thus Bermuda, and that means you, is in competition with other countries around the world. It means that what we bring to the table has to be better than other countries. Our “certification” has to be better than theirs. You had better get used to the idea of competing against people from other countries, because they are definitely competing against you.

  13. Behold the lamb says:

    Sad but true, We have reached a point in Bermuda where people are expected to do more with less and just sit and accept whatever is being rammed down ones throat. I observe this new way of doing buisness in most of the places of employment, where at onetime they were places yearned to be employes. Morale is at an alltime low. And in my humble opinion most of this has come about because our unions have been playing on both sides of the fence for to long, hence we now have the problems with harmonious relations. BPSU along with BIU leaders political ambitions are far greater then the people they are paid these over inflated salaries to serve. The people of this Island are growing weary, and the only ones I see reaping any real rewards are those here on a guest pass, laughing all the way to the money shop………

  14. mixitup says:

    And when these same teachers marched under the OBA, these same posters called them all types of things, telling them that they are making it up….. All of a sudden they have your support and the Gov’t is Baad Bad Bad…….The education system is broken and requires bipartisan support from all…. Well that’s if you “truely” care about it. Just a bit of reflection for you.

  15. Bob&M says:

    I think they should put all striking staff members names in a hat and pull out 5-10% at random and dismiss them for breaching their employment contracts and failing in their duty of care to students. This type of behavior is sickening and we as a country have developed expectations that are quite frankly ludicrous. Educators have totally lost touch with what a good education looks like – it requires hard work and a caring nature, that seems to be distinctly lacking here.

    • Whattheheyeducationdept says:

      Um, shouldn’t “insure” be “ensure”? No biggie

      • Simple_Truth says:

        How utterly embarrassing.

        Should say ‘ensure’ and ‘apologises’.

        Says it all.

    • Behold the lamb says:

      What’s even more sickening, is the fact that people such as yourself have adopted the mindset that people out in the workforce should step back 50 years, and accept whatever conditions employers decide to set before them. Now that the system is jaced up and almost beyond repair It suddenly becomes the responsibility of the teachers and others for the short comings in the system. All while those at the top and charged with the responsibility collect over inflated salaries for near zero production. Then again the same nonsense is happening Island wide as the unions sit idle watching this crap unfolf. The only ones whom appear happy are those who live like caged animals and used like twenty first century slaves, working 100 hours per week for a wage most people would receive working fourty hours. I think it’s time that Bermudians shut this whole Island donw until the house is back in order.

    • Question says:

      Question: The Ministry got all new furniture when they moved to their new location. Teachers can not get new white board marker, ministry sends old dried one or working computers. Is that fair?

    • Honestly says:

      Why don’t you go an teach the children of Bermuda! I don’t mean private! You probably won’t last two hours. Not mention the infrastructure needs improving immediately. Ready? Go..,

  16. May seem petty but says:

    Come on MOE. Can we, at the very least use proper grammar when sending out mass communication messages? Ensure NOT insure. “The Ministry apologies”(apologizes). Its minor but it speaks to the rushed approach of many things that are put out to the public and not thought out in detail.

  17. Mark says:

    Come on Onion Juice. Surely you have some racially divisive argument as to why this isn’t the PLP’s fault.

    • Anbu says:

      Was thinking the same. Awfully quiet on “actual” issues isnt he/she?