Union Sounds Alarm Over Teacher Crisis

BUT President Belinda Wilson.

BUT President Belinda Wilson.


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE recruitment of Cuban teachers before the new school term doesn’t satisfy the worrying shortage the country faces, Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson said yesterday.

Her statement came a day after the National Congress of Trade Unions of the Bahamas (NCTUB) released a statement seeking clarity from the Minnis administration about a number of its plans and policies, including the teachers.

“Cuban teachers have been recruited for many years now in our system and they would mostly be in the technical area,” Mrs Wilson said.

“Again this year there is a group of Cuban teachers that will be hired. I’m really

concerned about the teacher shortage and how the rapid pace in which teachers are retiring is not (being met with a similarly rapid pace of new) hiring or recruiting or even producing of teachers.

“We just came out of a three-hour meeting with the (Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd) and so one of the things we would’ve discussed is how is it that we’re going to tap into high school students to steer them in the direction for the teaching career path. We’re talking about English and math and science. What we recommended is the expansion of the teacher cadet programme and then we need to identify our teachers from earlier on to steer them into the path of teaching. We discussed the possibility of them being bonded like we used to do though it seems the ministry has moved away from that.”

Mrs Wilson, who has had an infamously thorny relationship with previous administrations, described Mr Lloyd as “open” yesterday and seemed optimistic about her union’s relationship with the Minnis administration.

“He was open with us (in our meeting),” she said. “We were frank in our discussions and the union has agreed that we will work together. If there is a challenge, we expect him and his team to inform us and he’s asked us to do the same. Prior to the meeting today with (him), I was just hearing little bits of pieces about what their vision is. After a three-hour meeting we’re able to now understand that yes we want to complete the school repairs, yes we want to make sure the teachers get their pay, yes we want our $1,000 (payment) in September, we want to make sure all the millions in back pay that I’ve been talking about for 12 years is paid to the teachers.”

Despite the optimistic tone, she warned: “We ain’ never scared and the work has to be done and whatever words (they) would’ve spoken to us has to be backed up with actions. We are hopeful but we expect things to happen. We want it to happen in a systematic way where we are consulted and we are real partners with (the administration).”


sheeprunner12 3 years, 2 months ago

The BUT will never really work with the MOE because the Union is about getting more money for less work ......... That attitude cannot improve the present broken system ....... Too many teachers have been lulled into this belief that they will get a raise each year, but the productivity in the system does not warrant pay raises ............ the system needs to be blown up and reformed with more district and school autonomy and less reports, projects and gimmicks ........ SMT


sealice 3 years, 2 months ago

so it sounds like Teaching and Gardening are the (2) Jobs that Bahamians feel are beneath them and should be shopped out to foreigners....... this is the epitome of the whole failing Bahamian (not just teachers) system....How do generations of Bahamians (mostly unemployed) decide that the job isn't good enough for them and they don't take it? Then when they see people employed in these fields they take the opportunity to insult them??? Somethings very wrong in our culture


avidreader 3 years, 2 months ago

All that I can say is that anyone who has never had the experience of teaching in the public school system has no idea of the stark realities of the situation as it exists today. Words cannot adequately describe the challenges faced by the average teacher on a daily basis. And, by the way, Belinda Wilson has been a good representative of the profession over the years. Take that from one who knows the system inside and out.


sheeprunner12 3 years, 2 months ago

If you are a public school teacher who sends your own children to private schools ............ then that is all anyone has to know about the confidence that public school teachers have in the system .......... If the cap fits, wear it

Despite the fact that 90% of public school teachers are certified and 70% have at least a first degree ............. The Union and MOE are the blame


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