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Teachers Union Says ‘Issues’ Not Resolved

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson has said the thousands of teachers she represents have reached a “breaking point” after seeing no results on multiple issues brought to the attention of officials since September 2021.

The issues, she said, are well documented in numerous letters to the Department of Education since then.

As students returned to school for in-person classes under a hybrid instruction model this week, issues — particularly at T A Thompson — came to light. At that school, the majority of teachers staged a sit in due to inadequate conditions.

In an appearance on Beyond the Headlines with Shenique Miller on Wednesday night, the BUT president also addressed the view that teachers did not support her push for industrial action earlier this week, saying more than 1,200 took part in some form of industrial action.

 Mrs Wilson said: “The decision that we need to do some action was not Belinda Wilson’s decision, but it was the decision of 1,200 members on Thursday, January 20 and another 873 members on Friday, Jan 21.”

 This week, Education Minister Glenys Hanna Martin said only 466 teachers did not report to work for personal reasons.

 Mrs Wilson said she has often found herself annoyed at the ministry’s failure to address grievances.

 “You know what I note and what I am very annoyed about? I believe that a lot of the meetings are to say that we met with the union,” she said. “Not really to get true results because we had a meeting with the minister yesterday (Tuesday). We were able to outline 10 of probably 30 or 40 concerns and she said okay. She wrote them down and she said she will get back to me.

 “However, these are not things that I just woke up yesterday to say I have letters that I’ve written from September, October, November (and) December of 2021, January—I’m writing all the time.

  “We even did a document that we presented to education and then the other thing that I want persons to think about is the persons that work in the ministry and the Department of Education, they’ve not changed so the documentation and the information and the recommendations that we’ve given, it’s lodged into the Department of Education.

 “So, you have a new minister that comes then you should be able to say whichever topic it is that the minister is discussing with you internally, you should be able to say ‘hold on minister this is our documents. However, we have received this document from the Bahamas Union of Teachers’.”

 She continued: “And let me tell them something too, when you see me don’t think ‘oh that’s Belinda.’ There are 3,000 behind me and let me also set the record straight for this too: they noted that we only have 466 persons who did not go to schools. So, that is their narrative.

 “We have the documentation and we have the numbers and we had more than 1,200 of our members throughout The Commonwealth of The Bahamas who did some form of industrial action.”

 Her comments came the same day teachers at T A Thompson voiced frustrations that their main education block was plagued with serious issues.

 The matter forced them to work from another block on the school campus. However, the structure only had one working bathroom to service 200 students, some of the classrooms do not have proper ventilation and some teachers were unable to easily access all of its three floors due to mobility issues.

 Therefore, the school has reverted to a virtual platform until the issues can be resolved.

Comments

tribanon 3 months, 3 weeks ago

We don't have a public education system anymore so why do we need teachers or a teachers' union?

When are parents going to realize most of the teachers in our so called public education system are unqualified and simply incapable of educating children at any level, either remotely or in a classroom setting?

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Sickened 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Nothing will be resolved until there's a more amenable representative for the union. Her attitude doesn't help.

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 3 weeks ago

What Belinda and her sychophants are missing is that the WHOLE educational system is broken. It's an apartheid system that the PLP exacerbated by getting rid of the old GHS and tried to make all schools carbon copies of each other. Now, it's a race to the bottom. Covid only exposed the underbelly of the broken system.

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tribanon 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The seeds for our broken public education system were planted many years ago by SLOP, Loftus Roker and Sean McWeeney when they realised that getting rid of highly qualified foreign teachers was crucial to deliberately dumbing-down successive generations of voters in order to create and maintain a wealthy and elitist ruling class of politicians in a corrupt two-party political system.

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