Back to School AND No Child Must Be Left Behind

COVID 19 Impact

One only has to drive pass the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) any day of the week during the the 3PM to 6PM time slot to appreciate the debilitating effect the raging pandemic continues to wreck on the country’s main economic sector. The number of vehicles seen in the car park can be comfortably counted on a single hand.

Consistent with how Covid 19 has catspraddle business the recent posting of Goddards Enterprises 9 month unaudited financial statement paints the sorry tale.

The threat to a sustainable way of life is real!

The inability of key stakeholders – the Ministry of Education (MOE) and respective teacher’s unions to discuss Covid 19 protocols in a constructive environment in order to facilitate the commencement of the proposed September 21, 2020 term has come as no surprise. The relationship between successive governments, Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) and Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) has been unnecessarily acrimonious through the years. The same point made here about the failure to pass the Integrity in Public Life Bill is apt. All sides will never secure what they want, however, for the greater good there must be give and take.

Our leaders MUST find the solution to get the nation’s children back to school. All agree we have to find ways to coexist with Covid 19 because it will be with us for the foreseeable future even if a vaccine or therapeutic treatment is approved by end of year. This is not the time for the unions and MOE to engage in the usual pedantic offerings cloaked under the guise of industrial relations best practice. Children getting back to the classroom has wider implications for the country if we assess the relationship between home, school and work.

It was reported the 340 teachers and principals who turned up today for a general meeting called by the MOE had a constructive engagement. Let us hope attempts will be made to share findings with the executive of the BUT and BSTU to ensure there is consensus on the best way forward. Although the unions are important stakeholders the MOE has the responsibility to lead the process.

The issue of the reopening of schools is one high on the agenda for almost every country in the world. The risk benefit to decisions taken by the MOE must be data driven. There is the reality we have to accept that COVID 19 is active in the environment we have to exist, therefore there is an inherent risk to being infected. This means controls to mitigate must be well thought out, publicised, monitored and enforced. As adults – MOE, BSTU, BUT and others – we have a legal and moral duty to protect our children during one of the most frightening periods in the existence of humankind.

The feedback coming from some teachers that they are on vacation and should not have been asked to attend the meeting held today must be regarded as a minority view. If it is not then may God help us if this level of mentality exist. The government is on record declaring its committent to pay the large public sector wage bill until the economy improves. One thing the economists agree on is that it takes an economy longer to grow than it takes to contract. The time is coming soon when the government will have to start printing money and with it the implications for negative impact on the foreign reserves. The Freundel Stuart government found itself in a similar situation of printing money to pay public servants, a reread of archived central bank reports should remind us how that played out. Should we have the infants do a performance of ‘there’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza? This is not time for the usual political rhetoric.

We acknowledge the concerns of all sides.

We have to ensure the environment is safe for our students.

We have to ensure the method to deliver the curriculum ensures no child is left behind.

The use of the repetitive WE is not accidental.

107 thoughts on “Back to School AND No Child Must Be Left Behind

  1. I suggest that instead of listening to these so called Health Experts that say we should hide in our homes and wait for a Vaccine which Historically has some severe side affects, why don’t we have local doctors (that don’t serve the Deep State) test the Trump proven HCQ along with Azithromycin and Zinc. Many doctors have promoted this 6 day cure in the USA and have been vilified by the Pharma companies because they don’t make any money on it. Before you jump up and down and say that there will be a shortage for those with Lupus and others I suggest that someone with some brains either contact Trump or the Indian Health Authorities and get some. Provide it to the people at a reasonable price and be damned with the Deep State and Pharma companies.! Whose more important ? The people and the Economy or Big Pharma ?

  2. Bradshaw confident 

    by COLVILLE MOUNSEY DESPITE A PALTRY TURNOUT by teachers at yesterday’s first meeting to discuss the restart of schools in the COVID-19 environment, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw is confident all will be ready for the new term on September 21.

    It was reported that 340 out of just over 1 300 invited secondary school teachers showed up for the brainstorming session, to which both the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) strongly objected. They deemed it a circumvention of their advocacy roles.

    After the closed-door meeting, which ran from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., Bradshaw told the media that even though the numbers represented about a quarter of the public secondary school teachers, she was happy with the robust nature of the discussion. She added that having heard the concerns, she was confident of the start of the new academic year, but there was flexibility for adjustment on the date.

    Can move forward

    “I wouldn’t say it represented the majority, but the fact of the matter is that I have been to union meetings and I have not seen the majority of all secondary schools at their meetings . . . . I think we can definitely move forward with the date but we have to conclude our discussions for the rest of the week.

    “There were no concerns raised about the September 21 start date, but there were concerns about the length of the term, which ends on December 18, as some teachers were concerned about the completion of the syllabus,” she said.

    Bradshaw said she was not going to be “distracted by the noise”, referencing objections by the BUT and the BSTU, whose leadership were noticeably absent from the meeting at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex,

    Wildey, St Michael.

    Very focused

    “I think people who know me, know that I am very focused. I gave the explanation to the teachers this morning that I had to be focused when I was going through my own treatment [for breast cancer]. I got up every day and still played the role as Minister . . . . I understood that my responsibility to the children of this country is greater than anything else.

    “Therefore, I am not going to be distracted by the noise of persons who I believe should know better. Coming to office, I have met with unions and stakeholders more than any other minister in the last decade,” she said.

    On Monday, the BUT leadership said it was not going to deter members from attending, while insisting that the issue was a lack of respect as well as a deviation from good faith negotiations.

    Bradshaw said the unions appeared to have mistaken her attempt to keep them in the loop, as seeking permission.

    “The unions and the Ministry will never agree on everything, but what we must always be, is respectful, and what we must never do is distort the facts either. I believed that the calling of this meeting was disclosed to the unions by my Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, because I was saying to her that we needed to repair the gap in terms of communication.

    “As a consequence, I believe that they may have taken that to mean that we were seeking their

    rubber stamp. There were practical issues that led us to make a decision that differed from what they were told that the Minister was looking to do. It was not a disrespect of the unions in any way,” the minister said.

    Good relations

    Bradshaw said while she was confident good relations would be maintained with the unions, there must be understanding that attempts must be made to hear all voices within the education sector, especially on matters of such importance.

    “I am not concerned that it would ruin relations because the fact of the matter is that this is a meeting called by the minister to speak to teachers across the board. There is no representative of teachers that represents all teachers, and for people to believe that they represent all voices is totally incorrect.

    “I believe that while I am going to continue to listen to the union representatives, one has to accept that there are some teachers who are not happy with therepresentation they have received from the unions. There are those who have become disengaged by the process because they feel that everything is a fight with the Ministry of Education and these are some of the teachers who came here today.”

    Source: Nation News

  3. Franklyn’s lashes
    by COLVILLE MOUNSEY OPPOSITION SENATOR and veteran trade unionist Caswell Franklyn has taken Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw to task, saying she “overstepped her bounds” in calling for a direct meeting with teachers over the start of the new term.
    The outspoken senator also had harsh criticism for the two teachers’ unions over what he described as a feeble response to the development, which he saw as a clear breach of industrial relations practices.
    In an interview with the MIDWEEK NATION after yesterday’s meeting at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in Wildey, St Michael, Franklyn said in addition to the fact that the teachers were officially on holiday, it was only within the ambit of the Chief Education Officer or the Permanent Secretary to meet with teachers.
    He further contended that the minister, as one responsible for setting policy, was not supposed to be in direct communication with educators.
    “If you look now today [yesterday] there was a meeting with the Minister of Education and the teachers.
    The Minister of Education has no authority to meet with teachers, she should not even be in the room if there is something to do with teachers. However, the unions are not pushing for this.
    When you have unions that do not understand their role, then you really can’t expect much,” Franklyn said.
    Channel it
    “The minister has two staff members that she can give instructions to, and those are her personal assistant and her constituency assistant, no more, no less. What the minister should have done, if she had something she wanted to relay to the teachers, was to channel it through the Chief Education Officer and let her act as a conduit. Under the system of Government that we have, ministers do not meet with civil servants.”
    The MIDWEEK NATION contacted Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, who disclosed that she issued the invitation letters to the teachers, with a letter from the minister attached.
    Since the matter surfaced last week, both the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) voiced objection on various grounds.
    However, Franklyn was adamant both unions ought to have explicitly instructed their members not to have attended the series of sessions, which began with secondary school teachers at the Gymnasium.
    “A majority of the unions have been neutered and that is the problem. The unions were more preoccupied with the location and not the fact there shouldn’t be a meeting at all. They don’t know what they are doing. We have people who are professionals in their own right, but they then think that they can be professionals in everything,” said Franklyn, who revealed that he instructed the few teachers who were members of his Unity Trade Union, not to attend the meetings.
    Follow my guidance
    “I have instructed the teachers in my union not to go. I don’t have a lot, but they follow my guidance.
    There is no reason why the minister should be meeting with teachers and she should know better. They [the teachers’ unions] should have instructed their members to walk out if the minister gets up and speak. The only minister that a civil servant should meet with is the minister responsible for the public service because this is the person who assigns the order. No minister has any calling meeting with public servants,” he stressed.
    At the aftermath of yesterday’s meeting, several secondary school teachers said they attended the session because they were summoned by their employer and wanted to hear firsthand what were the plans for the new term. Some said they were torn between the instructions from the Ministry of Education and their unions.
    It was reported that 340 out of just over 1 300 invited secondary school teachers attended the meeting.

    Source: Nation News

  4. I do believe Santia has erred in reaching outdirectly to teachers. That was never going to work.

    The concerns of teachers are legitimate. There should be no heavy hand here. This is a difficult situation where consensus can only be reached by cold heads and an understanding of the issues facing all sides. Teachers have children too. I am certain they wish them to be taught.

    They also wish them to grow up with parents.

    No need for the heavy hand here.

    • @Donna

      How was the matter managed in a heavy handed way? We are operating in a global pandemic with school opening sheduled for September 21. This is a time for out of the box approaches given the importance of addressing the education of our children. This is a conversation ongoing across the globe. Our unions have a track record for engaging in too much politics. The ministry of education via the PS and minister have a right to reach out to the teachers, one of the most important stakeholders.

  5. As the late Gladstone Holder said: language defines a person. Note the language: “I” “ the minister” “my”I and my , obviously the only difference between Bradshaw and Jones is the delivery. This using and blaming teachers is nothing new coming from the BLPDLP.
    Errol Barrow once said he could deal with them because he was a bomber pilot in some war; Louis Tull when he wanted teachers to give up their lunch hour to supervise children, told the public that teachers don’t care because they would let the children eat without washing their hands a A bd spread disease.
    Sometimes union leaders worship their political masters: Mary Redman put on the now ruling party red colors and marched all up and down behind the party of her choice.
    It is pure nonsense for Bradshaw to say that not all teachers are not represented by the same union. We know that! It is a direct attempt to undermine the unions.
    This is always the case, going back to the mid seventies and under both administrations. Those teachers who don’t bend would be accused of not wanting to go back in the class room to teach but expect a cheque.
    Senator Franklyn is right. The unions have been neutered.
    The president and treasurer of the NUPW told the public, that they had “ crunched” the numbers and the last administration could afford a 23% percent wage increase for public servants. Then suddenly with a new administration settled for 5%.
    Bradshaw has a lot of goodwill going for her but she is squandering it with this stupidity of trying to divide and rule. On this path she will be another failure in this ministry and will join all the rest who went before her , perhaps with two exceptions : Sandiford and Miller.
    We all want normalcy and the children back in school but high handed political gamesmanship is not the way. Quite frankly I see no urgency and this period should be used to plan right and reopen the schools in January , if the COVID is still under control. In the mean time , we should be trying to tweak all the problems with online teaching so that if the COVID becomes a further challenge we could better handle the online situation.
    So, delaying the opening until next year thereby giving us time to get every single school up to required protocols; using such time to tweak and continue online teaching will be actually like killing two birds with one stone.
    Colonialist divide and rule plantation styled government will eventually kill us all. At least spare our children this buffoonery.

  6. David

    Covid has more damage to a dying capitalism that governments can only resort to turning working people and our children into cannon fodder to feed the maw of their Covid war machine

  7. Let me start from the top. In my mind there is no plausible reason why school cannot restart IN SOME FORM with regard to the present COVID-19 situation in Barbados. The govt’s defense is that current protocols have seen at one point in time a reduction to 0 active cases and the present active cases have been imported. The curfews and stay at home orders have been removed and as yet there has been no”community spread” of COVID-19 in Barbados. Reading the articles that DavidBU posted and from what i have heard over the news, the teachers unions are just ( for lack of a better term)”frustrating” the process. They have presented weak responses to stop the meetings farless presenting a fundamental case as why schools cannot restart. Caswell as union leader is only using “officialese” as reason why a minister cannot meet with teachers. The bigger picture is that the Ministry wants to find out from teachers their concerns and any other reasons why schools cannot restart.

  8. The reopening of school is a policy matter . Obviously, the Minister of Education have had inputs from the COVID -19 Advisory Committee and needed the inputs of the main stakeholders – principals and teachers. This is not an industrial issue and I am of the opinion that the Teachers Unions are out of order. Parents ought to have been included.They have had a hard time with the distance learning experiment. The children are developing problems with their eyes from staring at bright flickering screens, not to speak of the low level radiation.
    So we do need to get back to the class rooms with social distance protocols. Maybe we can have classes with 15 pupils or less with morning and afternoon sessions.

  9. @Vincent

    If GDP is a measure of economic activity, are we to assume that if schools were not functioning fully that such inactivity would impacted the economy, however slight?
    You are right about the teachers’ unions. They have proven themselves to be enemies of the state. Where did this atavistic behavioural attitude come from?

  10. @ Hal Austin at 9 :34 AM
    Yes. All domestic activities that have been put on lockdown have impacted negatively on economic growth. Directly , those who operate school canteens,the private transport systems ,and those providing ancillary services at schools constitute a leakage to the circular flow of income. We may have little control of the external economy but the domestic economy, small though it be, is under our control.

  11. @VC as an experienced former civil servant your views are ‘interesting’ or troubling depending on one’s perspective!

    Isn’t the ENTIRE process of gaining input from ”the main stakeholders” fully defined or ‘established’ by having small groups of selected representatives (called unions oftentimes) – whether for principals or teachers – as the conduit for gathering info???

    Of course meetings of the ‘full’ population of principals/teachers can be convened but realistically what more or better data will be gained that could or would not have been passed through the ‘union’ reps. This type of grandstanding is POLITICAL posturing as the admin is bluntly signaling that the unions are obstructionists and no longer viable partners for negotiations … so in sum they are clearly also signaling that it is “an industrial issue”.

    Maybe a teacher or two can come on and explain how ‘much time’ during the closing stages of the last school term was time ‘wasted’ that could have been used for teacher group meetings led by MoE executives!

    Or they can speak of the Zoom and at-school meetings they attended on various matters during those last weeks…. all types of minutiae of school governance were decided in the background (as it should be) … so note, the reported remark by teachers that ”they attended the session because they were summoned by their employer”.

    The issues now being faced are very much the same as were known then so any argument that the period since offered new data points that better informed decisions is blather. They could have covered this ground weeks ago without trying to paint teachers as recalcitrant malcontents who didn’t want to give up just one day of their paid holiday!

    This, as in other parts of the world is just pure and simple ridiculous, “heavy-handed” political posturing and has absolutely no place in the serious process of getting our schools and life back on track.

  12. The curfews and stay at home orders have been removed and as yet there has been no”community spread” of COVID-19 in Barbados.

    Tell that to the bars and nightclubs that were closed because their patrons believed that too.

  13. @ Vincent
    Children have been staring at those bright flickering screens long before the distance learning experiment. Even now with the schools on holiday, many of those same children will stare at said same screens all day and night.

    This does not in anyway seek to dispute your assertion that they are developing eye problems.

  14. @ dpD

    The call for the inputs of persons with direct skin in the reopening schools is not an industrial issue.What is being sought are solutions to very pragmatic matters. The widest possible suggestions are relevant. To suggest that the union leadership has all the relevant knowledge and experience is repugnant to common sense.

    By the way, I spent a very short early period of my life in the Civil Service. The bulk of my working life was in the wider Public Sector corporations. I was not hemmed in by following precedents.

    • Maryanne Redman clarified this morning the MOE changed the conditions of the meeting after it was agreed. Also the BSTU did not ‘instruct’ its membership whether to attend the meeting called by the MOE. Here we go again.


  15. @ Raw Bake

    What is the point you are making? Just because something is being done should I not point out that an implementation of a GoB method of delivering child education exposes more children to health hazards?

  16. @ Raw Bake
    There is more to education than covering a syllabus. We are Homo Sapiens. Direct social contact between child and teacher is faster and more diagnostic…..quicker communication and feed back. Of course we can develop automata….posterity without emotional intelligence. How much of our heartless crimes are inspired by what some perpetrators saw on TV as youngsters?

  17. @Raw Bake i ain’t understanding your “logic”. Bars and nightclubs were totally closed until around July 1st. They were among the last places allowed to reopen BUT with conditions. If you don’t follow those conditions you will be shutdown. No different than when a health inspector shuts down a restaurant . The situation in Barbados is not like in other countries like Jamaica or even Trinidad that have a invasive spread of Covid 19 within the country.

  18. David,

    William Skinner has given my answer for me.

    As I said, teachers have children They also want them to be taught. They have this in common. This should not be so hard.

  19. I heard Miss Redman on Brass Tacks on this issue. My impression is that mass media is making this matter more confrontational than what it really is in an effort to “sell news”. It would also explain why the BUT did not “deter members from attending the meeting” as compared to an outright objection against it. All that has to be done is govt can hold subsequent meetings to the satisfaction of the teachers’ unions. What the govt has done is to start the ball rolling and held a meeting for those teachers willing to attend regardless of if they are union members.

  20. Barbados has a golden opportunity to change its education system. It idyllic climate is ignored, no reason schools cannot operate 12 months of the year. This is an instant reduction in class sizes, as students will rotate when their “term” is off. And teachers will now work 12 months a year, with vacation taken in line with the rest of society. They will have a group of non-assigned teachers who will ‘fill in’ as required. This summer off concept was born in places where climate make schools less habitable without extra air handling capabilities.

    On another note, if a private sector conglomerate decided to pull the move of speaking directly to employees, represented by multiple unions, the noise would be immense.

  21. @Disgusting Lies and Propaganda TV

    Earlier you said:
    –> The curfews and stay at home orders have been removed and as yet there has been no”community spread” of COVID-19 in Barbados.<–
    In other words, the children can go back to school.

    I said:
    –> Tell that to the bars and nightclubs that were closed because their patrons believed that too.<–
    In other words, the authorities ain’t too sure, so dem suffered the consequences of their patrons not doing wuh de people seh fuh do.

    I think it will be a challenge getting school children to observe protocols, but that is based on my fuzzy “logic”

  22. I taught for a number of years as a young and healthy woman who had no children of her own and no responsibility. I also loved the job. That was thirty years ago when children were far easier to handle.

    You want teachers to teach with three or four weeks vacation?

    You want mad ass teachers?????

  23. @NO
    Our school year was adopted from other countries e.g. the long summer vacation is modelled on the countries where children were expected to help the family on the farm harvest the crops in summer so they needed the extra time off.

    What about Gov’t? Where did the idea of pre- retirement leave come from? I’ll bet it is a hangover from the time when all the senior positions in Gov’t were held by folks from the mother country and when they left the locals carried on the practice.

    We can muse about changing the school system but the first person to try to do it will be burned in effigy on the Garrison.

  24. @ Vincent
    The point is; this is an age where children are staring at screens even before they can walk. As they get older, the time spent on these devices increase to the point that parents routinely confiscate them as a means of punishment. No cou cou stick, leather belt or tamarind rod required any longer.
    I didn’t gather that parents were perturbed by the three hour long sessions.

    RE: @ Raw Bake
    There is more to education than covering a syllabus.
    Vincent, you should try telling that to the Ministry and the Minister.

  25. School for 12 months a year. Why not make it 13.

    Do you think the students would survive and if they do…. Perhaps the weekend is too long.

  26. You must forgive me. I have this throwaway bucket that I use too quickly and too often. Once it hit the bucket, my narrow mind and limited intellect takes over.

    If VC likes the above comment… We will be enemies for life 😄

  27. There are some things that need to change and there are some things that don’t. When I was enjoying my teaching I used to be glad for vacation time and equally glad to return. At the end of every term I was exhausted and my voice was gone. Those children were relatively sweet and not rude or inclined to fight very often or beat teachers at all. There were no weapons in that school or a proliferation of gang activity as there is now.

    In my opinion a week or two could be shaved off the summer vacation but nothing more unless you want teachers with nervous breakdowns.

  28. School operating in more months of the year doesn’t mean that all other things should stay the same, perhaps the school day could be shortened but students would be able to spend the same number of hours in class. I’ve noticed that students and people in general lose concentration after midday, I’m sure there are stats that measure productivity during the morning vs productivity during the afternoon.

  29. The Ministry of Education was under no obligation to seek the unions’ “rubber stamp” to conduct meetings with teachers, Minister Santia Bradshaw has said.

    While vowing not to be distracted as she charts the way forward, Bradshaw contended that Tuesday’s meetings to discuss the September 21 reopening of schools allowed “disengaged” union members and unrepresented teachers to share their perspectives.

    Nevertheless, the Education Minister expects discussions on the resumption of school to continue between her Ministry and the unions.

    Bradshaw was responding to accusations of disrespect, levelled at her ministry by leaders of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Association of Public Primary School Principals (APPSP).

    The unions contended that a decision to meet with hundreds of teachers at the Wildey Gymnasium was a deviation from an agreement reached during discussions with them less than a day before. BSTU President Mary Redman also argued that such a large meeting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was placing some lives at risk.

    While giving the representative bodies a sound chiding, Bradshaw acknowledged that the smaller meetings with teachers, previously agreed upon, needed to be adjusted at short notice. She explained that information was only disclosed to unions to strengthen communication with them.

    “I believe they may have taken that to mean that we were seeking their rubber stamp for holding the meeting, but things changed in the course of a short timeframe. We were able to secure this gymnasium, which was capable of holding the large number of teachers that we wanted. To try to do it over the number of schools we had initially looked at would have presented problems in terms of the length of time our discussions would have taken,” the Minister explained.

    “It was not a disrespect of the union in any way and I have explained that to the teachers and I think that they understand the sincerity with which I operate.”

    In further defence of the Ministry’s stance, Bradshaw declared that none of the unions represents all teachers and even among the ranks of the unions are “frustrated” individuals.

    “There are some teachers who have become disengaged by the process because it seems as though everything always seems to be a fight with the Ministry of Education. These are some of the teachers who came here today and said first-hand that this is how we feel and we are grateful for the opportunity that the Minister and the Ministry have given them to express and share their views for the first time in a long time,” she told reporters.

    Referencing her recent fight with cancer, she added: “I think people who know me know that I am very focused… and I kept focused because I understood that regardless of what was going on in terms of my health, my responsibility to the children of this country is greater than anything else; and, therefore, I will not be distracted by the noise of persons who I believe should know better, because on coming to office I have probably met with the unions and all of the stakeholders more than any other Minister in the last decade.”

    Bradshaw added that just as the Ministry invited the unions to discuss other matters, such dialogue would be allowed to continue after the series of meetings with teachers. (

  30. @ Donna
    The vacations are really for the children. Only a joker would want children in school all year. These stupid politicians don’t have any idea of what our teachers go through. They have little respect for teachers, especially primary school teachers. The problem we have is the public being brainwashed against the teachers. This political hatchet job started in the 70s.
    Some very young teachers suffer from hypertension, mental and physical fatigue because of the abuse of some parents , administrators and students.
    Teachers often go beyond their duties and sometimes they are the only hope the children have.
    We have spent forty years sweeping every known negative under the carpet. Every single negative that COVID has exposed was always there waiting to be exposed. There is no where to run and hide now.
    We are too ashamed to accept that the country has been in decline for sometime.
    Personal testimonials offer hope but they are never the reality for those who are barely getting a good daily meal.
    I always say the child who pulls a fridge door and has five choices of cheese and three choices of a high quality juice , cannot even imagine that a child sitting next to him or her , has not seen a really good meal for months.
    And so it is with teachers. Anybody who has not had the experience of teaching could never imagine the horrors of the profession.
    But, that’s how we are.

    • What is the issue again?

      Let us restate.

      During an unprecedented time caused by a pandemic in the form of COVID-19 members of the general public are ‘pissed’ key stakeholders lack the competence to agree to immediate solutions to efficiently manage how we deliver education to our children.

  31. Why is every decision made is becoming confrontational with one individual who was totally silent for years and all of a sudden that voice is heard with every issue? Before I elaborate, let me deal with the refusal of Union Representatives engaging teachers from attending two crucial meetings with Ministry Officials headed by Minister Bradshaw prior to the re-opening of schools on September 21, 2020. Both Union heads were adamant that face-to-face meeting should not be held stating social distancing will not be adhered and it would be better to have virtual zoom meetings. That is utter nonsense since it would be impossible for teachers to have the freedom to be involved. The location of the Gymnasium with its high-tech audio system is far better giving teachers, Ministry officials and Unions to have uninterrupted dialogue.
    I was totally disappointed with the behaviour of Wendell Callender arrogant behaviour on Brass Tack regarding alternatives for the face to face meeting. I say no more.
    I want to know the decision why Mr. Know-it-all from the Unity/Opposition and Upper house have to response to every statement using unknown jargon to pretend he is an unmatched guru. Unfortunately, a Minister has the right to speak to his/her staff on crucial matters. In order for easy consultation knowing teachers and headteachers would like to quiz the Minister and her staff, a face to face encounter would be better once Covid 19 protocols are. Franklyn, sometimes you have to look away sometimes. Whilst at it, how many teachers signed up with your union?

  32. @David
    members of the general public are ‘pissed’ key stakeholders lack the competence to agree to immediate solutions to efficiently manage how we deliver education to our children.
    Are you serious? The word “unprecedented” has been overused in this situation but this is an unparalleled situation in modern times. Teachers/Administrators/Politicians/Parents/Students all over the world are having a difficult time coming to grips with this situation, there is no “best” solution and to expect people to come to “immediate solutions” is the height of lunacy. I expect the folks in Barbados will have many discussions before they come up with a model that is acceptable to the majority of all concerned.

    • @Sargeant

      You do realize the issue last week was agreeing to what form the meeting should have taken?


  33. @ TheOGazerts at 1:31 and 1 :34 PM

    I recognized the sarcasm hence the Like. I am OK with the enemies for life threat. We need to get practical in this blessed country of ours. Why are we still playing petty political games? We are in a crisis and we have to stop playing games and get on with our lives. We must have a protocol so that we may not retrogress in the field of education and social cooperation.I would hazard a guess that unions in our situation have lost traction. We need solidarity in a crisis.

  34. William Skinner,

    I know the vacations are really for the children. But the person who suggested they be cut was suggesting children attend at different times.

    What I am saying though is even when children were relatively easy to manage and teaching was a joy I was glad for the vacations to recuperate.

    I would not wish forty-eight straight weeks of teaching in today’s school climate on our teachers. That would be manslaughter.

    My son had a few more rotten teachers than I had but most of his teachers tried their best and some were wonderful. There are some I meant to thank personally and send a fruit basket for but my son kept putting off his visit. When school re-opens he will probably not able to do anything other than collect the certificates we never picked up. We will find a way to thank them.

    No doubt some teachers will spend even more of their own money on students and supplies this year.

    I considered it a privilege to be able to spend it thus in my days of teaching. Those were great days spent with teachers who really cared. What a bunch they were!

  35. @David
    While everyone is trying to mark their “turf” our children and their parents are left clueless and uncertain.

    Just observing

  36. I can’t understand what is wrong with our government ministers and ministries. On one hand they say COVID is a serious thing, nothing to play with and implement harsh protocols they say are following the science and best medical advice but they selectively flaunt the rules when it suits them.

    If our protocol restricts gatherings to less than 500 people, why ask for a special exemption to hold a meeting in the air-conditioned gymnasium of all places when the science clearly states the virus is most likely to spread in air-conditioned above all other environments. Was a deal made with the virus to not infect the attendees or do they know something about this the true nature of this virus they have not been telling us?

    School is the head place for rules so the ministry should be the last government ministry to exploit the loopholes in the existing COVID protocols.

  37. I am sure most persons would love to know when school will re open since the children are eating them out of house and home. I figured at this time parents would like to hear what the need of the teachers are so the protocols put in place would not cause any problems with their child and the teacher,or the teacher and the parents, that will impact the delivery of education. When it was computer time some teachers did not even come on to offer work.what will happen if the protocols don t suit them,?
    This is one of the most important things that all parties should focus on. I am tired of party and politics. I am also tired of Mr Franklin jumping up at everything there are times when you observe,
    We as Barbadians love to complain , love to feel as though we have all the answers to the problems but still at square one. Thanks to covid 19 we should get a glimpse of who really want to work and to do a good job at it. If you are working please give it your best there are people out there who gave it their best but home and the worst are left.

  38. Santia, BUT hit back at Franklyn
    BOTH MINISTER OF EDUCATION Santia Bradshaw and Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) general secretary Herbert Gittens have struck back at Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn.
    The typically outspoken Franklyn, general secretary of Unity Workers Union, had blasted the teachers’ unions for being “feeble” in their response to what he said was Bradshaw overstepping her bounds by calling for a series of meetings with teachers.
    Franklyn said a minister is responsible for setting policy and an education minister was not supposed to be in direct communication with educators. He said, while the BUT and Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union had voiced objections, they had been neutered and should have instructed their members to walk out if the minister spoke at the meeting.
    But yesterday, both Bradshaw and Gittens determined Franklyn was the one who was overstepping.
    After meeting with more than 400 primary school teachers in the Wildey Gymnasium, Bradshaw said it would never be her intention to keep herself apart from the people.
    Other jurisdictions
    “We cannot have a situation where, as Minister of Education trying to look at policies, that I am not in a position to speak to the widest set of stakeholders as possible and when you look at other jurisdictions, the practice is [that] Ministers of Education go directly to teachers, parents and ancillary staff,” she countered.
    Bradshaw said the meetings, which will continue tomorrow with nursery teachers in the morning and special needs teachers in the afternoon, was precisely the medium through which she could meet with stakeholders in a forum without fear of victimisation and with officials willing to listen.
    “We’ve gotten too accustomed to the previous administration not speaking through its leadership, which has frustrated Barbadians. I recognise people want to be heard and I cannot put myself in a position where I do not consult the wider [society] . . . and I will continue to engage with teachers in any forum of this nature.
    “[Senator Franklyn’s] comments are very archaic. I have been elected to speak to the people, he has been selected. I cannot be bound by traditions
    created by those who have long passed this life, I have to respond to what the people want and that is a genuine need for consultation,” she said.
    As for the union’s stance on their executives abstaining from attending the meetings, the Minister of Education said unions would “continue to be entertained” but she planned to continue to speak directly with teachers at every possible opportunity, at least once a term.
    She said it was “unfortunate” teachers were feeling “disillusioned” by their representatives but the teachers now better understood she was there to hear from them, adding she was looking forward to those teachers who did not attend the meeting to make their concerns known via email or whichever other forum they chose.
    Gittens, for his part, said Franklyn needed to direct his comments to the right places and it was disrespectful for a union leader to speak about his fellow unions in such a manner.
    “He could be more tempered. To make comments that the unions don’t know what they are doing is disrespectful. You do your thing, we’ll do ours, Mr Franklyn. Just because he knows a little law does not make the rest of us stupid,” he said.
    Gittens said the BUT had no issue with the meetings but the ministry had disrespected them by refusing to answer correspondence to meet with the unions prior.
    “The ministry knows the
    unions are the legal representatives of the teachers but they have said the meetings are not for the unions. It’s just interesting that when anything comes up, the minister gets broadcast while the unions get a little piece,” he said.
    As for the meeting, Bradshaw said they discussed sanitisation, time-tabling, the blended system, technology, special needs training and more. She said the issues were well ventilated and more consultations were to come.

    Source: Nation

  39. Redman: No fight with ministry
    PRESIDENT OF THE Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), Mary Redman, has reiterated there is no impasse between the teachers’ body and the Ministry of Education.
    But, the long-time president said communication remained the key issue if the two parties were to forge ahead with finding the best way for a restart of classes for students.
    Redman made that clear while making a contribution on Starcom Network’s Down To Brass Tacks call-in programme yesterday after several callers weighed in on the back and forth between the union and the Ministry of Education.
    Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw met with hundreds of secondary school teachers at a special consultation on Tuesday at the Wildey Gymnasium, at a time when the BSTU and the Barbados Union of Teachers said they believed dialogue should be first held with unions instead.
    Redman said it was always the BSTU’s intention to find the best way forward for not only teachers, but for the thousands of students who could be affected. She noted that in June, the BSTU had even sent off a document to the Ministry of Education outlining suggestions that could positively effect change during a COVID-19 environment.
    “There is no impasse between the BSTU and the ministry,” Redman asserted. “We at the union are ready and willing to assist in all ways possible,” she added.
    However, she said it was important to know the BSTU did not issue any instruction or directive to its members not to attend the meeting held on Tuesday.
    “We held a Zoom meeting on Monday evening with our members, which was very well attended, and having heard the issues in detail, it was a general consensus taken that they would not attend unless the minister could make some provision for them to attend by Zoom,” she said.
    Redman said a letter containing that information was hastily despatched to Bradshaw that evening.
    Zoom element
    “We again expressed our reservations based on the structure of the proposed meetings that was laid out to us. We agreed to what the ministry told us last Wednesday. We tried to convince our members to turn up at the meeting. We also indicated at that meeting there was a need to have a Zoom element to that meeting,” she added.
    The BSTU boss said some members made it clear they would not have felt comfortable being in a meeting with 400 people.
    “We are very aware that many of our teachers have
    co-morbidities and they are fearful. We felt that any meeting that the minister wants to hear from the teacher body should not have a structure that is prejudicial towards those unable to attend. And so we asked for a Zoom element to the meeting.”
    The BSTU president said Acting Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson agreed to pass on that information to the Minister of Education. However, she said, the very next day an email arrived indicating the meetings would be held and condensed into two large sessions, one for primary schools and another for secondary schools.
    She said that change came “with no explanation, no prior notification, so we could not provide any satisfaction or reason to members, who were very distressed at the thought of having to go into a meeting with potentially almost 2 000 people”.
    Redman said members felt insulted that reasons for the changes were not communicated and felt further insulted at how the entire process was handled. (BA)

    Source: Nation News

  40. Teachers heard
    Meeting with minister pleasing to some
    DESPITE SOME early grumblings, many of the approximately 400 primary school teachers who attended yesterday’s meeting with the Ministry of Education gave it a passing grade.
    The meeting held at the Wildey Gymnasium began half an hour late at 10 a.m. and before the start, some teachers expressed dissatisfaction with the levels of communication, saying they were upset there had not been official notification concerning the beginning of the next school term.
    However, following the four-hour meeting, some said it had been fruitful.
    Ava Greenidge said much progress had been made. “Many people had the opportunity to have their questions answered and I got the impression that with this consultation the ministry wants what’s best going forward. We teachers have been labelled as lazy by the public for not wanting to return to school, but we just want to make sure the children are taken care of. Teachers are anxious, ready and committed and its time we were respected. I believe progress has been made today which augers well for the future,” she said.
    Teacher Charmine Ottley said they were listened to, adding she was ready for face-to-face teaching.
    “We voiced our concerns and they were readily addressed. It seems many teachers welcomed that opportunity to have a one-on-one with the minister and the ministry officials. I’m ready to return to the classroom. I’ve had enough of virtual teaching, it’s hurting my eyes,” she said.
    Ottley said she was unionised but decided to attend the meeting as the ministry had requested a roundtable where everyone would be heard, noting she believed this was important.
    Executives of the Barbados Union of Teachers, the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union and the Unity Trade Union were not in attendance at the meetings which started Tuesday when the ministry met with secondary school teachers, and recommended their members also stay away due to health and safety and other reasons. However, as the invitations were for individuals and not unions, it was up to each teacher whether they opted to go.
    Some other teachers yesterday only spoke on condition of anonymity. One said he was glad he attended the meeting.
    “I’m glad I came, it wasn’t a waste of time. The one thing that was not fully addressed though was what teachers who were parents would do with the blended system if they were scheduled to be at work and their children at home. Still, they said there would be further consultation.” The teacher praised the contribution of specially invited guest, Minister of People Empowerment Cynthia Forde, a former teacher who they said had a firm grasp of the issues.
    Another teacher said the ministry was “talking sense”.
    “They spoke about the need for solidarity between the unions, teachers and the ministry. They also spoke about greater parent involvement and greater respect for teachers, especially from the ministry and the public. There were a lot of insightful comments,” they said.
    Another teacher said she appreciated the collaboration as the ministry would be using the feedback from the teachers and combine everyone’s ideas to come up with a “concrete plan” on how schools would be operating now with COVID-19 and beyond.

  41. Caswell Franklyn is right.

    Government Ministers have been overstepping their bounds and being too hands-on with their ministries and doing their permanent secretary’s job. I don’t know if the ministers have not been told their role is akin to that of a chairman of a company board responsible for developing, approving and funding overall policies while the permanent secretaries’ (Chief Education Officer) job is akin to the president of a company where he/she manages staff, implements said policies and recommends changes based on their experience, training and feedback from their staff. If ministers keep stepping on the permanent secretary’s toes, let’s get rid of the PS job and save that money.

    At this stage of the consultation, the only persons meeting with teachers should be ministry officials. The most the minister should have been doing is giving a kick-off speech at the start of the meeting defining the goals and how the information gathered from the ministry-teacher consultation will be used. That kick-off speech should have been done online and placed on youtube with the consultation being private.

    • You will note from the press that the PS confirmed she issued the invitation supported by communication from the minister. Who to blame. We live in extraordinary times.

      Are we there yet??

  42. @David
    “You will note from the press that the PS confirmed she issued the invitation supported by communication from the minister.”

    That should read the CEO not PS, but yes you are very correct. Extraordinary times!

    Didn’t this same minister “invite herself” without resistance to one Union’s Annual General Meeting and spoke with the members there and then???

    Just observing

  43. @ David Bu
    Good post as usual. I think some commenters are unaware how policy is determined and who is responsible for policy in the Westminster form of Governance. The minister is responsible for policy,but the formulation of policy is an iterative process between the governed,the technocrats, and the government. Minister Santia Bradshaw is an exemplary practitioner of this model. She knows she does not have all the answers and she seeks feedback and inputs from other relevant stakeholders. I notice this very early in her political career. It blossomed in her handling of the COVID crisis ,when she acted as PM.

    We have a practical problem of getting our children back into schools,with expert teachers. A machine and parents stressed out and untrained in education is a recipe for disaster.

  44. @ Vincent

    Is implementation not the responsibility of the technocrats and the formulation of policy the responsibility of the elected ministers (government)? Afterall that is what they were elected for. Civil servants do not make policy. That IS the Westminster form of government.

  45. However, in yet another blistering response, Bradshaw vowed not to be constrained by “outdated” practices that have outlived their usefulness.

    “I can’t be a minister trying to shape policy without being able to engage with the people who will help me implement the policy, and therefore the approach taken and the comments made by Senator Franklyn are unfortunate, because I cannot be held to a position that was taken out of custom and practice over 30 of 40 years ago when the demands of our society today require that we consult,” she said on Wednesday.

  46. @ Critical Analyser just like Caswell you are using “officialese” giving the impression that the Minister is bypassing the “chain of command” at the Ministry giving some indication that she has lost confidence in ministry officials!!!!!. This is not a typical “Ministry vs Teachers” confrontation in the direct sense..this is a govt via the MOE trying to facilitate teachers in a consultative process whereby the Govt is trying to find a way forward for the education system in a COVID-19 environment as it stands in Barbados!!!!!. The “dispute” is specifically how that process should happen. If anything the Minister MIGHT be forcing the issue in trying to make these meetings come to fruition. In THIS specific case…for the minister to have to communicate to teachers via ministry officials would just be a senseless use of bureaucracy that would unnecessarily slow down this process!!!!.

  47. @ Hal Austin

    My intervention did not address the implementation of policy. It spoke to the formulation of policy : How to have a seamless reopening of schools . What you said about implementation is true but previous and certainly not in dispute by any of the commenters.

  48. @Disgusting Lies and Propaganda TV
    Let me simplify my position in as few words as possible. The minister is too involved in the day to day running of her ministry.

    I see the meeting as the first consultation in the long Re-opening School Policy creation process which should ONLY have been amongst the Chief Education Officer and other ministry official and the teachers at this stage. I am not saying the minister cannot play a minor role in the meeting e.g. speaking about her expectations for the meeting BUT she cannot take a major part in the meeting itself. Teachers must be free to air their ideas and concerns without the added pressure of a minister being there.

  49. Barbados used to have a structured Civil service with mostly competent leaders.

    Each ministry had a Permanent secretary, Deputy permanent secretaries Senior civil servants.

    Wha happen ? Did the good ones all die out ?

  50. @Hants
    They put Acting before all their names for longer than 3-6 months so they must tow the line or we will send you back to your substantive position after spending x years doing the job with a big drop in salary. They tore that page from the DLP playbook.

  51. “[Senator Franklyn’s] comments are very archaic. I have been elected to speak to the people, he has been selected. I cannot be bound by traditions
    In Bajan parlance “Know yuh place”

    Waiting for the rejoinder

    And the beat goes on

  52. @ Vincent

    If the minister if responsible for policy, but the civil servants are responsible for formulation of policy, are you saying the minister is handed policy and told to go and promote it by the civil servants?
    To formulate means to create and that is the role of the government; in any case that IS NOT the so-called Westminster/Whitehall model of governance.

  53. @ Hal Austin at 10:01 AM

    I posit no such statement. I will therefore ignore it. Please reread my interventions on this matter.

  54. @ Hants at 9:53 AM

    The structure is still in place . The post holders have to carry the skill, the know how, and the professional ethics to these positions. Some of them are more confused than the commenters on this blog as to their power,responsibilities and the “savoire faire”.

  55. @ Vincent

    Good post as usual. I think some commenters are unaware how policy is determined and who is responsible for policy in the Westminster form of Governance. The minister is responsible for policy,but the formulation of policy is an iterative process between the governed,the technocrats, and the government…..(Quote)

    The formulation of policy is nothing to do with any iterative process between the governed, the technocrats and the government, if by the governed you mean the electorate, the technocrats (civil servants) and government.
    Policy is absolutely, 100 per cent, the role of government. The only role the governed play is by electing the government; and the civil servants implement policy.

  56. @ Hal Austin at 11:03 AM

    If that is your belief and your reality. So be it. In passing may I suggest that you ponder the word “Iterative”?

  57. @ Vincent

    I am familiar with the conventional linguistic definition, what is yours? I am saying simply that government makes policy, civil servants implement it and the governed vote for governments through their manifestos.
    By the way, at a time when the Barbados economy is in terrible trouble, and the dollar is plummeting, we are here talking about the Westminster/Whitehall model of policy-making.

    • @Vincent

      Your simple point is understood. One cannot formulate good policy without a quality information gathering exercise whatever form it takes. In a covid 19 world this becomes an even more important tactic. Forget the past, forget officialese, we are here now.

  58. Hal Austin

    By the way, at a time when the Barbados economy is in terrible trouble, and the dollar is plummeting, we are here talking about the Westminster/Whitehall model of policy-making

    Rabbit hole politics on BU everday nothing more to be expected
    Nelson had a long run
    Moving forward on the agenda is Trump
    Soon to follow would be Quaker John and his usual historical waffle of religious groups and off springs
    The Ministry of education and its leader are out to sea without a life raft on Covid
    There is no set model on how schools must be opened also parents have a right to enter the dialogue with these called meetings
    Yesterday meeting shows no purpose of finding a balanced and fair solution
    But then again this is a govt who relies on political posturing to make a point

  59. @ Mariposa

    You are on the ball. We have a president, a former minister of education, a current minister, both talking about blending education, as if it is cheap whisky, and holistic education, as if it is a lesson from some Indian mystic.
    After 14 years of Arthur, ten years of Stuart/Thompson, and two years of Mottley, we still do not have a clear educational policy. We do not have t o go back to Barrow’s introduction of ‘free’ secondary education.
    A few years ago Dr Byer Suckoo raised the issue of the future of work and it went down like a damp squib. It is still a subject waiting to be debate.
    In the meantime, we still have an 11+ based on essays in English, Comprehension (English again) and maths. And the bright, clever clogs are asking for it to be banned.
    In the meantime, the wealthy and professional middle classes game the system by sending their little Johnnies and Joannas to private primary schools, which give t hem expert tuition to pass the 11+ and entry in to the top secondary schools.
    So privilege continues to go on and on and on without a single word in opposition by politicians and political activists. In the meantime, BU continues to play its role in misdirecting the people of Barbados.


  60. @Vincent
    Your simple point is understood. One cannot formulate good policy without a quality information gathering exercise whatever form it takes. In a covid 19 world this becomes an even more important tactic. Forget the past, forget officialese, we are here now.

    What does this mean?

  61. @ Critical Analyser be that as it may, not withstanding prior cases where the Minister(s) or a Chairman of a board directly interfaces with “line workers”.There is a right way and a wrong way of doing such… If a minister does it and totally ignores the bureaucracy i.e. keeps middle and senior mgmt out of the loop then i would say the minister is out of line….if a Minister or Chair does it in a way that includes the bureaucracy i see it as less of a problem… A minister or chairman may adopt a direct style because their position carries “weight” The reality is that line workers FEELS that their concerns may be addressed more urgently if they talk to persons higher up the “chain of command” directly. On THIS specific issue, it is not a matter that govt is setting policy and forcing it on teachers. this is an instance where a government is trying to start a consultative process to include teachers (line workers) and having the rest of the MOE into the loop.
    We are dealing with the education system. An important system on which a country depends upon to function just as important as the economic system to which the COVID-19 situation has hit both the hardest. To stress to allow the consultative process be facilitated only through bureaucratic lines is at this point ridiculous.

  62. The minister is in charge and she can do what ever she pleases but she has avoid overriding other person’s roles and responsibilities and appear dictatorial. We put her there to speak on the people’s behalf not to talk to the people.

    Here is the definition taken from the Ministry’s own site ( /)


    The Ministry is headed politically by the Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Hon. Santia Bradshaw.

    The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training is headed at the administrative level by a Permanent Secretary and at the technical level by the Chief Education Officer. These officers are assisted by a Deputy Permanent Secretary, two Deputy Chief Education Officers and a cadre of staff at Ministry Headquarters.

    After reading this definition and watching the video posted by David at August 27, 2020 10:25 AM, what do you think?

    I don’t know what process the powers that be intend to follow to craft the policy but I do know it should follow an “Iterative” process (to steal Vincent Codrington’s word) that respects and allows everyone to play their proper role and should go something like this.

    Round 1 – Get all ideas and concerns into the Ministry’s hands
    Consultation meetings of the teachers with the PS, Deputy PS, CEO and Deputy CEOs in small groups to keep it manageable. Allow email submissions from parents/guardians and teachers unable to attend the meetings.

    Round 2 – Form the Draft policy
    The Minister, PS, Deputy PS, CEO and Deputy CEOs use all the feedback to craft the policy.

    Round 3 – Presentation of Draft policy
    The Minister, PS, Deputy PS, CEO and Deputy CEOs can now circulate the draft policy and get any additional feedback.

    That is the general idea of how any policy making process should be done.

  63. I guess we will now proceed to conveniently abandon legislation and so on on the grounds that it is as all “legalese.” Amazing , just two years ago we were talking about the need for transparency and good governance.
    Why don’t we just outlaw workers unions and professional bodies and give the ministers/parliamentarians free reign.
    Well , as the oldsters say:“Everybody helps you to buy a big belly cow but they don’t help yuh feed um.”
    These days are funny nights.
    “Things get curiouser and curiouser.”

  64. @ Critical Analyzer. Maybe, Caswell is promoting his Union by criticising the other Unions hoping a mass exodus will come join him. Politics and Union don’t mix.
    @ GP. Next thing you will say is ” All those students who failed the Common Entrance should attend Harrison College, Combermere, Queen’s College etc. Whilst the “A” Students should attend Daryll Jordan etc.

    You say that with tongue in cheek……..

  65. RE @ GP. Next thing you will say is ” All those students who failed the Common Entrance should attend Harrison College, Combermere, Queen’s College etc. Whilst the “A” Students should attend Daryll Jordan etc.

    You say that with tongue in cheek……


  66. It is the children that make the school ;not the school making the child. Each child makes his/her contribution to the ethos of the school. Until we get a scientific understanding of this issue we will always have this futile debate.

  67. I am concerned that the Government plans to resume school using the blended instruction approach. This will result in children being home between 50% to 75% of the time they would normally be at school. There is no evidence that the rate of infection in Barbados warrants this excessive approach. The educational disparities are only going to widen with disastrous consequences.

  68. @ Ping Pong
    I hope your post is untrue. We need to get back to face to face delivery of education. A form room for 30 students should hold 15 or 10 students comfortably with social distancing. Open air classes for music and nature studies. We need to be more creative in our use of space and teacher’s aids.

    • If most if not all other professions are back to work operating under appropriate protocols what is so special about teachers?

  69. @ David BU at 4:31 PM
    I pondered over that mystery as well. That is why I support the decision of wider consultations with members of the teaching and administrative staff at public schools.

  70. One thing that we can be certain of is that no matter what plans the government advances, some will support and some will oppose.

    Difference of opinions should be encouraged as ideas are more fully ventilated, but when it becomes ‘I must support/oppose the BLP’ then there is little or no value in having a discussion.

  71. The Ministry of Health mandated social distancing requirements will make face to face delivery of education difficult. What evidence is there that the rate of infection in Barbados is so high that social distancing is required in schools?

  72. If the typical class size is 30 students and the classrooms can only hold 15 students in accordance with social distancing requirements then where are the other 15 students to go? Answer: home.

  73. @ Ping Pong.
    Home for half a day. That is better than whole day and no eye contact with teacher…. the expert on education. But like you, I would like a continuous review of the protocol for reducing/ eliminating the spread of COVID -19..

    • New school plan
      Article by
      Barbados Today Published on
      September 3, 2020
      When school resumes on September 21, students in Nursery up to Infants B are expected to attend classes half-day, while older pupils in primary and secondary school will have a mix of face-to-face and online classes.

      This was revealed yesterday by Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson who said that following meetings with stakeholders, including teachers and their unions, the Ministry of Education had settled on these two approaches, although changes could be made.

      “Nobody has any answer for what school should look like. This is uncharted waters for us and therefore we would want the cooperation of parents, the cooperation of the general public to make sure that when we go back into school that we have that full cooperation. We might have to tweak things as we move along but that is expected,” she said during the latest online discussions staged by the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in St Philip.

      “The ideal situation is to go back as we were before with everybody going to school and everybody being taught . . . in a classroom, Monday to Friday. But we know with the protocols that really cannot happen.”

      The education chief added: “The two ideas we are looking at now is the shift system and we are proposing for the Nursery to Infants B go a shift. That means that you go half-day, . . . one group in the morning and another in the afternoon.”

      Conceding that this might present some challenges for parents, in terms of transportation and sanitizing between classes, Adamson said the Ministry was seeking the cooperation of employers ,the public and private sectors, as well as the support of relatives to assist parents who will be impacted.

      In addition, she said, there may be increased allocations from the Ministry of Finance for ancillary staff required to maintain sanitary standards at schools.

      “The second proposal, and the one that most people are accustomed to and are expecting, is the blended approach where you have some classes face-to-face in school and some classes online,” Adamson noted.

      She told the online Zoom discussion with almost 100 participants, and others following on Facebook: “We believe that if we get the cooperation from the parents, teachers, and we are working with the principals to put the protocols in place, that the two systems – the shift system for the 3 ½ to 6 ½ year-olds and then the blended approach for those from Class One to Class Four at primary, and all secondary schools where you do some face-to-face and some online – [can work].”

      Adamson was on a panel that also included principal of the St Michael School Dr Yvette Mayers; Hilda Skeene Primary School principal Ivan Clarke; and Dennis Jones, a Jamaican economist who was previously stationed in Barbados.

      In her contribution, Dr Mayers said any discussion on how schools would reopen should include students, teachers, parents, and non-academic staff.

      “As we look towards September, we know that the best place for our students is actually in school. In terms of getting the academics covered, dealing with the psycho-social needs, mental health issues, we need to be back in school. But COVID-19 will determine how best that happens,” she said.

      “If COVID-19 behaves itself and we can control it and we can ensure there is no community spread, then thankfully we should have our students back in school. However, at this stage we are preparing our schools for a reduced number of students in class, and right now, as we look at our timetables, it is a mammoth task to organize our schools in such a way that we cater to the needs of our students. Each year group will have different needs and we need to address those needs that students have.

      “We also need to look at the other persons on the school premises. What about the other members of staff? What are their needs? What are their fears? What are the fears of parents? When we come up to these blended approaches to learning, will parents be able to fit in with our plans for their children?” the secondary school principal questioned. (IMC1)

      Source: Barbados Today

  74. The educational disparities between children is going to widen considerably. What evidence (not supposition)is there that COVID infection is a problem in Barbados at this time?

  75. There is no wider educational disparity than those who go to fee-paying schools and those who go to state-run schools. It is a disparity that follows them to the grave.

  76. @Mr Hal Austin, I disagree (conditionally) with your 8:00 am comment. The greatest disparity is between those in school (of whatever kind) and those out of school!

  77. @ Ping Pong

    We were discussing pre-11+ children. It is illegal to keep children out of school under the age of 16.

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