BUT president Belinda Wilson.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
BAHAMAS Union of Teachers (BUT) Belinda Wilson said the union has yet to receive a plan or framework from the Ministry of Education for the reopening of schools.
According to Mrs Wilson, there was a meeting with the ministry on Monday and they promised to provide a plan for the reopening. The president candidly admitted at a Rotary meeting on Thursday that the lack of direction has had some affects.
“Well the relationship… it deteriorated when it was evident that the ministry had no written plan and to date as we speak we do not have a plan or a framework from the Ministry of Education for short, medium, and/or long term during COVID and after COVID,” she said.
The president identified communication as still a major problem as administrator, teachers, parents, and students await the plans for reopening in a COVID-19 environment. Mrs Wilson said that BUT’s expectations includes details given to stakeholders regarding health measures and the curriculum.
She added: “We will insist that there is clear, concise information shared to all stakeholders prior to the opening of 172 public schools on 27 islands and cays and the schools must be clean, sanitized and proper social distancing measures put in place.”
“And we need to know prior to school opening what are the policies for the use of technology, the student having cellphones, the way that teachers and students would operate in a technological school, the wearing of masks, how are we going to set the timetable, is the curriculum going to be amended, are we going to have the same school hours?”
Mrs Wilson recalled that on Sunday, March 15, BUT and union leaders were informed in a meeting that the Bahamas had its first COVID-19 case . At this time once they had a meeting with the minister, a request for the Ministry of Education to provide a plan for the union to outline a framework and the continuation for providing education.
However, she highlighted that the challenge teachers and students had was they were left on their own to decide how teaching and learning would happen.
“There was little consistency with the lessons because the lessons that were taught not following the curriculum or the syllables and the platform that teachers were using proved very challenging because a lot of them ran out of data, the WiFi, the internet connection was going in and out……and they did not have a way to test what their students had learnt,” she said.