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School’S Out - For Three More Days

BUT President Belinda Wilson.

BUT President Belinda Wilson.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

PUBLIC schools across the country will reconvene January 7, five days later than originally planned, the Ministry of Education has announced.

This comes amidst reports being circulated yesterday that featured a communication between Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson and several of her members, in which she attempted to solicit support for a potential sit-out to force the government’s hand in delaying its January 2 return date in favour of January 7.

However, in a statement issued yesterday evening, education officials said the move was being made to “celebrate” teachers and administrators. 

The statement read: “With schools originally slated to reopen on Wednesday, January 2, 2019, the Ministry of Education saw fit to provide an additional five holiday days for our hard-working and dedicated educators throughout the Bahamas, many of whom worked throughout the holiday season.”

When contacted for comment on those reports around noon yesterday, Mrs Wilson confirmed that plans were in place to have “some level” of action if union officials were not successful in getting a postponement.

In a brief conversation with The Tribune, Mrs Wilson said aspects of the BUT’s plan were still being worked on, adding that union representatives were in meetings for most of the day trying to finalise some of the details.

“Yes, there is truth to (those reports),” she said. “If you give me some time … I’ll be able to get back to you later this evening or tonight with what we have decided to do.”

Less than two hours later, The Tribune received an unofficial notice that a decision had been made to delay the January re-opening date by several days.

One well-placed source with knowledge of the situation told The Tribune that the Ministry of Education had rebuffed an initial request made by the BUT for the same earlier this week.

This ultimately led to BUT officials making a direct request of the Office of the Prime Minister, resulting in a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday and an official decision to delay the re-opening of public schools.

That same source claimed the decision was made given the current “union climate,” insisting Dr Minnis opted to relent in hopes that the move would be seen as a “step towards peace.”

 The BUT is one of several labour groups that have been locked in varying levels of talks with the Minnis administration in recent months.

A number of these unions have made industrial threats as a means to get the government to budge on labour disputes.

In late November, in the face of mounting labour unrest across multiple sectors, it was announced that Dr Minnis would sit down with union leaders in a large-scale meeting.

After that December 3 meeting, many of those leaders, including Mrs Wilson, branded the sit-down a flop.

“There was no commitment to anything,” Mrs Wilson said at the time, summing up the consensus.

“All I saw it as was an opportunity to regurgitate the same problems we have been articulating for years and years and years. I knew having a large number of labour leaders in one room for a few minutes could not give adequate time for the concerns.”

In the weeks following the meeting, the government struck deals with both the Consultant Physicians Staff Association and the Bahamas Doctors Union to quell work slowdown from the former and avert strike action from the latter group.

Meanwhile teachers at C H Reeves overwhelmingly voted in favour of a strike during a poll earlier this month. Last week, Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd said the matter of the teachers being awarded a strike certificate is still before the Office of the Attorney General, which is determining the validity of the strike vote.

This decision was a result of issues at the school that included a suspicion of mould in 12 classrooms, leakage in a few of the classrooms, termite infestation and leaky toilets in one block of the girls’ bathrooms.

Comments

tell_it_like_it_is 1 year, 9 months ago

In the "almost" words of Donald Trump...
There are CLOWNS on both sides...both sides folks, I'm telling you!
ROFL

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rawbahamian 1 year, 9 months ago

What is gonna be laffable is when these self serving union shepherds of the union sheep help facilitate the collapse of the already fragile economy and there is NO MONEY left to give anyone anything and the sheep realize that there is no more manna from heaven for them.

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OMG 1 year, 9 months ago

The President will always find money for her trips abroad and cronies. The old school female teachers seem to ignore the smoke that has continually surrounded her.

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joeblow 1 year, 9 months ago

The national grade average might increase if children are not in school anyways!

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Bonefishpete 1 year, 9 months ago

All unions should shut the country down. Gotta show who runs Barter Town.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 9 months ago

One thing we do know for sure: Minnis ain't running things! They got him and his cabinet ministers on a tight leash. All they're able to do now is try grab whatever they can get for themselves behind the scenes. LMAO

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Truism 1 year, 9 months ago

Here I was thinking that the delay in the reopening of school was because the bussing contracts are still not in place. LMAO

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DDK 1 year, 9 months ago

What an ungodly mess majority rule has created! You cannot get money out of a stone! If it's been wasted and pilfered, it's gone. Teachers could not possibly need more time off, they close school if it rains, if they see a spot of mould, to give out report cards, to have teachers' work shops, to have union meetings, and to perpetuate the famous D average........

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licks2 1 year, 9 months ago

Should we wait to hear what are the union's "beef". . .they may have a legitimate and reasonable issue? I too wonder why the school was about to open on Wednesday. . .the day after the parade? I am confused. . .but unlike these dumb politicians around here. . .I need to see more information before I run my pie hole. . .leaving my brain behind in the dust!!

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm thinking of approaching the new year with a whole new attitude. Seeing how bad things for Bahamians are always happening and being created and perpetuated by our government - I can only conclude that my view has been wrong all this time, and simply opposite. I need to start seeing "bad" as "good" and seeing "good" as "bad". In that way, things will look just rosy for me all the time.

So therefore, from this article, I must conclude - kids being out of school a longer time and not learning anything while they are there, and the existence of the grade "E" which forces the average to be a D (while there is no E in the USA) - are all GOOD THINGS. Bahamian students suffering and being made ignorant under our system of education - yes, a good thing it is. I call for even more ignorance. Let's have more.

Can we throw away all textbooks and forbid anyone under the age of 18 from accessing a library or the Internet? That would be even better. Can we get more leaking roofs and broken ceiling fans and broken water fountains in the schools? There must be a company in the USA that goes around and collects all these broken things from their schools (the same day they break) - we can import them here and set them up to be eyesores. Heck, there's a lot of ignorant things we can do - we just have to put our mind to it.

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OldFort2012 1 year, 9 months ago

Bad education: good. Keeps the brain drain away. Otherwise there would be no one under 65 left in this country!

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pingmydling 1 year, 9 months ago

School starts Jan. 2 ---- Average in June "D". School starts Jan. 7 -----Average in June "F". Hey, whats in one little letter? Belinda sweety keep shuffling those chairs with your buddies at the Min. of Ed. as the educational Titanic sails into oblivion.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 9 months ago

I actually don't think one week of school here or there makes a difference. The true problem in our system is the Government's refusal to have an on par grading system with Canada and the USA so that our kids can have the actual C average that they truly are at - reflected on their report cards. Some have suggested that this is a conspiracy to prevent even more kids from going to the USA and Canada and never returning than there are even now. Unless someone can give another reason why we deliberately take a C average and force it to be reported as a D, I have to believe the conspiracy. It's not working though. Anyone with 5 brain cells or more is making plans to get the heck out of here as quickly as possible - before the new flag raising ceremony.

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DDK 1 year, 9 months ago

I thought the Government changed the grading standard some years ago, so that a true F became a D. Some nonsense to do with the esteem of the students and not letting them feel like failures, even if they could only read and write marginally.....

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 9 months ago

No. It's because you have A B C D E F U

The D is in the middle. I have this from a 20 year veteran educator.

It's also ironic that the last 2 letters taken on their own truly spell out the policy.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 9 months ago

The MOE grading scale for BJC/BGCSE is .......... A,B,C,D,E,F,G ......... There is no U. U means that the script is Unclassified ....... Did not meet minimum standards for grading ........... and X means incomplete submission.

Madhatter et.al ............ Be careful who you get your information from ........... SMT

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah, I need to be careful (LOL) - meanwhile our children our suffering. Pay attention to the real problem. The real problem is the D average is FAKE - it is caused by the system. You say A B C D E F G - again the D is in the middle - so it is the average. Get rid of the G, and everything will be fine.

Will they get rid of it? No. Of course not. Because they love for Bahamians to suffer. It is their daily prayer and wish.

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pingmydling 1 year, 9 months ago

That last comment is really quite cute ( Mr. Hatter), even for a US/Can suckup.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 9 months ago

Thanks. I'm not so much of a US/Can suckup, as I am a "make the Bahamas better cheerleader". However, too many of us are happy and content with potholes in this country and think that so many things here that SUCK are just normal. We live a kind of "ignorance is bliss" lifestyle - and maybe in reality that is the best way to be. Maybe it is better that our population does remain ignorant - if by doing so they can be happy. Happiness is happiness - no matter its source. However, I just doubt that the vast majority are happy. Malnutrition is widespread, leading to strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, and cancer. Drug dealing, killings, stabbings, officers having to wear tall rubber boots at the prison, I could go on and on.

I've always joked how wonderful it would be if every time a Bahamian checks into a hotel room in the USA, management turns off the power breaker to their room so they have no lights or AC - you know, to make them feel at home.

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licks2 1 year, 9 months ago

Your response shows you ignorance of statistics. . .Hatter sound familiar with testing and measurements in education. . . pingmy don't .

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TalRussell 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, or no - comrade sister Belinda, looks likes she was just attacked by fart bomb?

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 9 months ago

Someone needs to tell Lloyd and Taylor that this 200 year old colonial school year is not working ......... Period.

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OMG 1 year, 9 months ago

Sheerunner , still blaming the colonial system. How many years before you and people like you grow up and change things after all you have been independent for over 30 years. Is it the colonials fault that even after 20 + years the BGCSE exams are still being moderated by Cambridge in the UK, Is it the colonials fault that the Testing and evaluation unit in Nassau cannot get coursework out to the schools for 3 months after school opens in September ?. Bahamians have the controls - use them

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank God for Cambridge ........... But we should have adopted CXC from 1993 ............ Blame the old PLP for this foolishness ........ BGCSE is a hybrid farce and a watered down BJC has doomed us to this low regional academic standard. Ingraham went right along with the crap as well.

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licks2 1 year, 9 months ago

The BGCSE exam was constructed by Bahamians. . .not by Cambridge. . .they just administrate and score for us. . .they print, administrate and score what we send to them!! Yinna insisted on "doing it for weself" and they allowed yall to do so. . .bam yinna gat this test that yinna een smart enough to read statistically!!

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 9 months ago

The University of Cambridge won't put its name on anything without quality assurance. Their inspectors check the schools every year. Those exams are vetted years in advance before they are administered. That's the British way. Don't believe me? ........... Go and call Testing and Evaluation on Harold Road.

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BONEFISH 1 year, 9 months ago

Happy new year to all.The development and implementation of the BGCSE exam was one of the many dumb decisions of the PLP We could have simply signed on to to do the CXC and CAPE exams.That money spent on developing those exams could have been spent in so many different areas of education.

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