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Wilson: Heads Should Roll Over Teacher Shortage

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By SYANN THOMPSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

sthompson@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson said “heads should roll” due to the “perennial” shortage of teachers, adding more than 100 teachers are still waiting to be placed in schools by the Ministry of Education since the 2019-2020 school year started.

“Teachers are needed, and they are needed now. Some heads should roll because this is a perennial problem,” said Mrs Wilson.

Over 90 percent of these teachers who graduated from the University of the Bahamas had government scholarships and, according to Mrs Wilson, by now these teachers should have been allocated to schools.

“Sadly, teachers and guidance counselors who have graduated from the University of the Bahamas many of whom have had the privilege of government scholarships, grants and tuition fees assistance and who have successfully completed their studies are still at home waiting to be employed and posted in schools. The acting director said that the Ministry of Education is awaiting vetting for these teachers and when the vetting process is completed they will be employed. This shows the incompetence and inefficiencies that exist in (the Ministry of) Education,” said Mrs Wilson.

Teachers are needed in New Providence; Abaco and its cays; Eleuthera, specifically Harbour Island; and Mayaguana, said Mrs Wilson. The shortage of teachers for various disciplines include general primary school teachers, art, music, physical education, Spanish, sciences, English, religious knowledge and mathematics.

The shortage has had a negative impact on teachers, she said, and affects not only their well-being but also has an affect on students.

“There is teacher burn out, teachers are substituting without a free period five days per week, the syllabus and curriculum not being taught fully because many subjects that are on the timetable are not being taught because there are insufficient teachers. Most of the times the substitution is just babysitting because the teachers more often than not are substituting in areas that are not within their disciplines,” said Mrs Wilson.

The union president has also been pushing for the national exam timetable to be rescheduled in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. “The examination results is just a symptom of the breakdown of the system. How can students pass examinations if they did not have a teacher for six months out of a nine months school year?”

Teachers are accustomed to working in the midst of staff shortages, but Mrs Wilson said this should not be the norm.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 2 years, 4 months ago

I wish she was our PM. This woman don't play....

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moncurcool 2 years, 4 months ago

Ha. Jokes abound. Besides anyone can get in front of a mic and talk with no one to challenge their claims.

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proudloudandfnm 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah but not anyone can do what she does. This woman works hard and does the best she can for her teachers. She's a true leader.

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moncurcool 2 years, 4 months ago

A leader? What new initiative has she produced without other peoples money? What initiative in education has she created and implemented? Just talking in a mic and making noise so other people can give people who pay you dues salary increases is not a leader. Maybe mafia tactics, but not leadership. When you can run a company and build it with your own money and have it function and development an educational system like Finland, then talk about leader.

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geostorm 2 years, 4 months ago

This woman is a loud mouth idiot! If there is such a teacher shortage, she should get off her high horse and start teaching! After all, she is a trained PE teacher isnt she?

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OMG 2 years, 4 months ago

You overlook the financial problems the BUT has not least the so called pension fund with no accounting and funds used for other union expenses. On the other hand the union has rarely had any real say in disputes between teachers and the ministry, unfair and unjust dismissals and teaching conditions. As for the expensive annual AGM, all thats does is give union shop stewards a nice holiday package with little or any valid and practical decisions that can correct the poor working conditions, some lousy Princals, and question why the Ministry is still hiring Cubans who have been employed, and are now teaching (that is if they can communicate clearly in English). If you can visit Cuba, employ Cubans, get them to the Bahamas and out to the family islands why the hell are qualified Bahamian teachers waitiing.

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DiverBelow 2 years, 4 months ago

What is the problem? 1. Lack of classrooms? Children can be taught in any structure that is out of the elements & has adequate facilities. Empty storefront? turn it into a classroom. 2. Lack of teachers? Not according to this person. 3. Lack of qualified teachers? If they received a degree from an accredited institution, they should be able to teach. Quality teachers is another matter, one of management. 4. Lack of Curriculum? This is a Departmental problem. 5. Lack of Supplies? Again, this is a Departmental problem. 6. Lack of Funding? How much salary does the department ministers/administrative heads account for? What percent is allocated to teachers? 7. Is the system top-heavy, too many supervisors not enough indians? A Management of Department problem. 8. Schools in disrepair? A Management of Department problem. Trace the funds.

  • Substitutes are VERY expensive babysitters, they cost time that is lost to the student as well as society, who must deal with poorly trained workers.
  • What about all the highly educated individuals abroad who's education was provided by government? Equal time working within the government systems in exchange for an education program? Oh that sounds like colonialism. How is THIS system of Brain Drain working out for you?
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sheeprunner12 2 years, 4 months ago

Good points, Diver ………. You need to advise Jeff Lloyd, rather than that crew who are his so-called dinosaur retiree "senior advisors"

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