Minister Lloyd Disappointed As Teachers Stay Out Of Classes

Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune Staff

Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune Staff


Deputy Chief Reporter


EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd expressed disappointment in the actions of the majority of teachers at CH Reeves Junior High School, telling Parliament that educators withdrew service more than a week ago despite receiving clearance that it was safe to teach at the facility.

As of yesterday morning, Mr Lloyd said substitute teachers were asked to assist administrators and the ten remaining teachers who did not take part in the unauthorised industrial action. Normally, 74 teachers are stationed at the school.

According to the minister, without prior notice, the junior high school teachers withdrew labour last Monday backed by claims of 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.

As a result, Mr Lloyd said the ministry requested the assistance of Anthony Ryan - Environmental Monitoring Risk Assessment Division in the Department of Environmental Health who assessed the affected classrooms, finding what he described to be recognised environmental concerns, including in dust and accumulated dirt.

He subsequently formulated a prescription to rectify those issues, Mr Lloyd said, adding a contractor was immediately hired to conduct the remediation process.

This included the removal of mildew, the cleaning of dust on ceiling beams, and the cleaning of air-conditioning units, window sills and elsewhere. Other contractors effected repairs to a leaky roof and to faulty toilets in one of the female students' bathrooms, the minister said.

"In good faith, the management at the Ministry of Education made the decision to suspend classes on Wednesday, October 31, and Thursday, November 1, in order to begin the remediation process," Mr Lloyd told the House.

"Meanwhile, parents were advised to keep their children at home while teachers and other staff were asked to report to school.

"Teachers were asked to work from the staff room and engage in lesson planning, the marking of student books, the preparing of examinations and other school-related tasks. Despite the fact that this arrangement was agreed with the Bahamas Union of Teachers, the majority of the teachers left the work site well before the normal dismissal time of 3.15pm.

"Following the classroom cleanings, Mr Ryan conducted another assessment and provided the Ministry of Education with an oral report which indicated that the school was suitable for occupancy. However, on Friday, November 2, 2018, teachers at the C H Reeves still refused to work despite the fact that a new classroom schedule was constructed by administrators that accommodated all classes, without them having to use the newly cleaned rooms. Instead, they insisted upon being provided with a copy of a written report prepared by the Department of Environmental Health Services."

Mr Lloyd said to accommodate the additional repairs, the executives of the Department of Education in conjunction with the school's administrative team, decided that the school would temporarily operate on the staff meeting bell schedule. This would allow for classes to be dismissed at 2pm daily until the repairs were successfully completed.

However, on Monday, November 5, the teachers abandoned their posts again, leaving students dangerously unsupervised.

"The Ministry of Education received the official written report from Mr Ryan at the end of the work day on Monday past, which was shared immediately with the Bahamas Union of Teachers. At BUT's request the director, Mr Marcellous Taylor, and his executive team arranged a meeting with Mr Ryan. A meeting was arranged for 3pm yesterday. "However at 3.10pm, ten minutes after the agreed time the union called to say that they were otherwise engaged and could not meet. The union has not been heard from since."

He said after reviewing the findings and recommendations advanced in the environmental assessment report conducted by Mr Ryan carried out on C H Reeves Jr High School, the Ministry of Education was and is satisfied that the entire campus was and is safe for occupation by teachers and students.

"Despite all efforts made to rectify the situation at C H Reeves Jr High School, teachers still refused to report to classes. At this point, teachers began questioning the validity of the written report provided by the Environmental Monitoring Risk Assessment Division. As of this presentation the teachers remain out of the classroom while yet on campus," Mr Lloyd said.

C H Reeves has a student complement of 1,020 who need 196 contact instructional days to complete the curriculum. However the ministry struggles to pack the needed courses into 176 days, which is less than the ideal quota.


DDK 8 months, 1 week ago

This mould thing is getting out of control. Get a cleaning crew to CLEAN, simple. It does mean a bit of work! Soon the word "mould" will be synonymous with "union" (no pun intended).


tell_it_like_it_is 8 months, 1 week ago

MOE needs to take these type of things more seriously. Mould leads to serious medical problems because they are much harder to get rid of than bacteria out of the body.


EasternGate 8 months, 1 week ago

Are the teachers playing games? Teachers in the private schools are paid less and get less benefits. Their students also get better results. However, you don't hear anything publically from them. Meanwhile the BUT them always disgruntled about something!


sheeprunner12 8 months, 1 week ago

Private schools are not unionized ........... so do you expect them to make any noise???? ........... Many are happy with the rebated fees for their children.


tetelestai 8 months, 1 week ago

EastenGate, but the kids at private schools generally come from more stable and affluent homes, with greater parental supervision and interest in the work of their kids. So one can argue that the private school teachers have an easier (note: not "easy") function. I think if you put the private school teachers in the public school environment, they would immediately complain to their union representative.


sheeprunner12 8 months, 1 week ago

Not only complain ......... most are not even trained teachers ....... they teach using workbooks and they focus on children passing BJC and BGCSE and other US exams ......... Most of them won't last a week in public schools.


licks2 8 months, 1 week ago

Just think now.. ."the private schools get better results". . .how do you know that? Do think that the fact that "they test for the best and brightest to enter their schools" . . . in contrast the government schools "gets whatever is left. . .the disable, dumb, uneducated, at-risk etc" to teach. . .but still get more per capita "good grades" than the PHS. You also forget that government does also get the bright ones who can't pay to go to PHS. . .


geostorm 8 months, 1 week ago

Ok, so they wont return to the classroom, then hit them where it hurts......in the pockets. Time to cut their salaries. Let's see how quickly they return then. They are being unreasonable at this point.


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