Respect Due to Teachers!

Submitted by Paula Sealy

While work is being done to beautify the Constitution River, there is an urgent need for work to be done in the nearby Elsie Payne complex to repair the wreckage and destruction.

Minister Jones and Par. Sec. Harry were gone with the elections on 24 May 2018. Less than two weeks later, PS June Chandler was transferred. In the turnstile behind her in a short were Janet Phillips and Sandra Phillips soon to be followed through the door by Chief Education Officer Best.

Yet the ministry still cannot get the education train on the right track with all those changes. Check the current policymakers and decision-makers. Let them tell the public how many Bounce Back volunteers there have been. 

Let the education bosses tell us how come the BCC, SJPI and secondary school boards continue to get money, in many cases, without accounting for the money spent in the last 5 years. Cabinet, help the Auditor General to do more than report the bad practices.

So who do we blame? Not the teachers, I tell you! Not the former government alone. And COVID is not a plaster for every sore.

Face it and fix it. What mirror image do we see of ourselves? Something has to give.

We are tired of the talk of the lost decade. When education has lost its way, as it has, there is more than a decade at stake.

All we see is a mess and the messy hands proclaiming their cleanliness and innocence while their political fingerprints are plainly visible.

But teachers cannot and do not get the respect due to them in this society. Every child matters, yes, but even a dog is due respect.

When we mistreat teachers, we disregard the first line of authority figures. Who will be disregarded next?

May God save us.

50 comments

  • Lawsuit against CXC tossed out

    Attorney for more than 60 students vows to appeal
    by BARRY ALLEYNE barryalleyne@nationnews.com
    THE SUPREME COURT yesterday shot down a request from more than 60 students seeking judicial review of last year’s Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and CAPE results and the format in which the 2021 examinations were proposed by that body.
    But the attorney-at-law representing the youth who had filed the class-action suit plans to immediately appeal the decision made yesterday by Justice Michelle Weekes.
    “I don’t want to get into the grounds of the appeal right now, but I will continue to fight on their behalf,” former president of the Bar Association,
    Liesel Weekes told the DAILY NATION moments after the loss in court. “We’ve come this far and we can’t just leave it at this stage,” she added.
    Justice Weekes determined that the students had no standing to request the judicial review since the CXC was immune to any form of legal process in Barbados, particularly since that immunity was confirmed by a certificate issued by Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Dr Jerome Walcott on June 7, 2021.
    Weekes also determined that the CXC was not a government authority susceptible to judicial review, as it was an entity recognised by the Caribbean Examinations Council Act CAP (39B) as an international organisation.
    She also ruled that Barbados’ Minister of Education could not independently of the other members (sovereign states) of the CXC, give the council permission to administer examinations in Barbados.
    “In those circumstances, the court found that our claim against the minister that the permission which she gave to the CXC to administer the 2021 examinations in the manner proposed could not be sustained,” Weekes added.
    The judge also adjourned the matter to make a ruling on costs, to determine if the students should pay the CXC and Government their cost of the litigation. The attorney indicated that she was indeed curious to learn precisely what the CXC and the Government’s position on costs would be.
    Yesterday’s decision culminated after a series of Zoom hearings involving lawyers from all three sides, inclusive of the plaintiff, CXC and the government of Barbados.
    Weekes had filed on June 2, on behalf of the 60 students, an application for judicial review of CXC, the Ministry of Education
    and the Attorney General under a certificate of urgency and that was heard on June 4, at which time the Court asked CXC and Government to file affidavits in response and to make any necessary applications.
    On June 11, the CXC had applied to strike out the request for judicial review on the basis that it had diplomatic immunity and was not susceptible to such a review. The government followed suit by also contending that if CXC was immune then there would be no evidence the plaintiffs could lead against them, since the claims against the Minister of Education were inextricably bound up with the actions of the CXC.
    Three days later, Justice Weekes requested the parties to file submissions on those matters and on June 17, CXC asked for an adjournment seeking more time to review the submissions made by all involved. Last Friday,
    further submissions were filed by the lawyers, who were then asked to come back to court on Monday.
    On Monday arguments were again made by the lawyers and the decision reserved until yesterday.
    The students had decided on legal action against CXC after getting no satisfaction from the Council about its concerns about exam grading and in the subsequent grade review process after last year’s exams.
    Along with Weekes, the plaintiffs were also represented by Bryan Weekes, Sukeena Maynard and Alexandra Dabiel. The CXC’s attorneys were Ramon Alleyne, QC and Richelle Nicholls, while the Ministry of Education and the Attorney General’s Office were represented by Gayle Scott and Ann Marie Coombs.

    Source: Nation

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  • PM: UCB still on cards

    GOVERNMENT HAS not abandoned the establishment of the University College of Barbados (UCB).
    Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said despite setbacks, the dream of a single institution to focus on arts and sciences was still on the cards.
    “Sometimes in life you cannot get where you want as quickly as you need to go. I would have much rather to have also be announcing today that this institute was part of the UCB, but we are not yet there because we have first to deal with the reality that our children first needed access to whatever tuition services were available in this country,” she said.
    Painful
    Mottley, who was delivering the feature address yesterday at the renaming ceremony of the Barbados Community College’s (BCC) Hospitality Institute/Hotel PomMarine in Marine Gardens, Hastings, Christ Church, said it was painful to face facts about how long the establishment of the amalgamated institution was taking.
    “Work has been ongoing and it almost hurts my heart to reflect that this plan has been going on since 2001 and the frameworks for the different organisational arrangements had been completed as far back as 2008 but when you inherit an economy that is literally beleaguered you have to make difficult choices and the first choice that we made was that it was more important for us to guarantee our youth access to our education institutions before we started creating new ones which could potentially have increased costs,” she said.
    The renaming to the Jean & Holder Hospitality Institute was in honour of their contribution to education, culture and tourism and to the
    BCC in particular, as the late Norma Holder was a former principal there. Mottley said it was partially due to the vision of Norma Holder the framework for the UCB was established. The Prime Minister said she still believed there was a need for the UCB but in the meantime, the three institutions which would eventually make it up needed to continue to expand.
    ‘Absolute priority’
    “I still believe it is an absolute priority in our development going forward we ensure the BCC, the SJPI (Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology) and Erdiston Teachers College continue to expand their programmes in the interim, but at some point the reality of us having a single institution dealing with the provision of applied arts and sciences must be a priority for the people and Government of Barbados,” she said.
    In addition, Mottley said it was important to one day merge the Barbados Language Laboratory with the Hospitality Institute so every student going through the institute could have the opportunity to learn Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin and not have their growth stunted by the language barrier. She also said it was imperative to utilise technology in its fullest and one day have software used in hospitality and tourism developed by Barbadians to make the lives of tourists, tourism stakeholders and locals easier. In addition, she urged Barbadians to recognise the world was now their competition in tourism and they had to remake themselves to suit.
    Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw said the graduates of the BCC had served Barbados well and praised the contribution of the Holders, saying Norma Holder was a role model.
    BCC Principal Annette Alleyne said technology
    and social media had changed the way students operate and what they expect from their teaching institutions.
    “This space and time demands that as a college there be community engagement, whether it be tapping into the creativity exhibited across the Barbadian landscape from the blocks to the heights and terraces. In this digital age graduates from every programme, including from the hospitality institute, can stand confidently with anyone in the world equipped with knowledge, technical competency and soft skills that would allow them to create, to be self-sufficient, to respect diversity and to be economically [successful],” she said.
    Director of the institute Jennifer Barrow said they used technology to weather the pandemic and praised the work of former director Bernice Critchlow-Earle who she said worked closely with Norma Holder.
    (CA)

    Source: Nation

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  • Goo article but regrettably posts on education will NEVER get the same interest as salacious posts about corruption and money. It’s only when “my child” getting unfair that we hear the wails and wallows of an suddenly interest public.

    In the same way we all know when bad or corrupt decision are made by say nothing until it’s in our backyard in the confines of the old time paling…

    Oh what a tangled web we weave and oh how deep the sand is that we bury our heads in.

    Just observing

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  • @Observing

    No they will not, only if there is our problem right there.

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  • Did warn PS that the how matters after she suspended 5/6 officers from across the ministry within 1 1/2 years of her arrival. Seemingly the Ministry continued to apply the same modus operandi to get rid of officers by any means necessary once they didn’t/don’t buy into Group Speak.
    Glaringly obvious is that qualifications don’t lead to vision or feasible ideas. Instead positions are taken & if challenged feelings of affront or annoyance guide the incumbents’ response. The validity of stakeholders interest, ideas, concerns as well as brainstorming, feedback and resolution matter & should be the key factors driving change. In absence of the same, theories, strategies and determinations guiding approaches conceived by this Ministry will come to naught because the key stakeholders are not involved & hence not on board the change train.

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  • @groslyn
    Your inside info explains it all! Ask the Ministry how many teachers and officers are on suspension WITH pay.
    If they are wrong, fire them.
    If they end up being right. Reinstate them.

    Education will forever be the bastard child that looks good on a poster or slogan but when the lights dim no one pays any attention or give any real resources to.

    All the while, this present lot takes us down the road of 2000-2005 which is the same road that put us in the muck we are in in the first place.

    Just observing

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  • Everything is consumed by political motivation flavored with incompetence. And we are doing this as it effects the education sector that soaks up a significant slice of the national budget. Do the calculation about the kind of outcomes that will continue to generate.

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  • The blogmaster is curious the role the two unions BSTU and BUT have/have not played is creating a different kind of strategic education management system.

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  • Caswell Franklyn has posted many times on the blog cases where teachers and principals have been transferred in the system after committing unforgivable acts involving minors.

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  • Not every shepherd is David and there is only one St. Mary.

    The union politics was on show this afternoon. Pedro Shepherd spoke his piece and the game is still being played out.

    I believe Mr. Shepherd and the minister have a general election date in SMSE. He is huffing and puffing from all now trying to make an impression. He made some fair points but a few things bother me.

    Where was Mr. Shepherd’s voice when his party pushed through the Public Service Qualifications Order on his first watch as BUT president? There wasn’t one single word until hundreds of teachers were no longer in line to become principal. Not one blasted word he had to say to the members until the order was already passed.

    On the other hand…
    When the BSTU became aware that the pay of its members docked in 2017 Mary Redman went to court in a hurry. Mr. Shepherd, some of the officers and BUT members had their money docked in 2016 but he took a year before he would decide to get to court. In fact, Mary Redman got to court before he did although he had a yearlong headstart. The not so funny part is that in 2016 Ms. Redman adviced Mr. Shepherd to go to court.

    I would like teachers to open their eyes.

    The BSTU is BLP friendly. The BUT is DLP friendly. That is their history. But teachers have been shafted by both parties recently without any letting-up.

    The politics has education operating in a cesspool during a Category 5 hurricane. Teachers are left to stand in the middle of it but the union leaders are failing to speak the truth to power.

    It is party first.

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  • BUT to members: Stand firm
    The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is not budging from its position on the Bounce Back Summer School Programme for primary school students scheduled for next month and August, even though the Ministry of Education, Technical and Vocational Training says its now voluntary.
    So strong is the union’s resolve to not have its “physically and mentally tired” members participate, that yesterday afternoon, in a media statement made on its YouTube channel, president Pedro Shepherd advised them not to do so as it deemed the proposal an attempt to change the terms and conditions of teachers.
    Pandemic
    The programme is one of “several initiatives to provide students with additional educational support over the summer vacation, having recognised the impact of the lack of face-to-face instruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” the ministry had stated in a notice issued through the Barbados Government Information Service.
    It is being organised for primary school students in Infants A to Class 3 for three weeks. The sessions are scheduled be held daily from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with students in Infants A and B attending from July 12 to 30 and those in Classes 1, 2 and 3 from August 9 to 27.
    However, Shepherd said that students’ “deficits are nothing new” and “from time immemorial we’ve had students with deficits with one reason or the other” and noted it was “due to an outdated education system” and should not be blamed on teachers, administrators, the pandemic or volcanic ashfall.
    Deficits
    Asking how three weeks of summer school would resolve the deficits, the president said they would “be better addressed by putting a proper system in place” after identifying them.
    “You cannot tell me you are engaging retired educators and volunteers without even knowing the deficits to be addressed.
    This is madness; perceived madness. The assessment of students from the age group being targetted for summer school are now being conducted.
    “Has consideration been given to the workers, principal, and ancillary staff and when will they be provided with a vacation? When will this cohort be able to prepare the schools for the new school year starting in September 2021? Has this been carefully thought out?
    “Additionally, this proposal is ultra vires.
    It has clearly ignored custom and practice and is a blatant attempt to change the terms and conditions of teachers.
    In this regard, the union has no other option but to advise its members not to participate since this sets a dangerous precedent.
    “The proposal actually stretches the school year way beyond its customary 38 weeks.
    The additional proposal of six-weeks makes it a 44-week school year. The proposal constitutes a continuation of regular school July 12 to 30th, 2021 and August 9 to 27, 2021,” said Shepherd.
    Furthermore, he said that “greater compassion should be shown to students who were “mentally tired and exhausted, stressed and worn out by the vagaries” of the pandemic and therefore needed their summer vacation “to play, to rest, to relax and to recharge” and “further develop
    their social skills”.
    The head of the union which represents a large portion of this country’s teachers, told viewers they had already made their position known to the Ministry following a meeting on June 16 which was attended by 490 members, and “every single teacher who attended voted a resounding no”. ( GBM)

    Source: Nation

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  • https://barbadostoday.bb/2021/06/25/students-to-appeal/

    proof of government collusion with CXC to disenfranchise the nation’s children, no more proof is needed that they are BOTH ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE…

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  • I have posted my thoughts on education on other blogs on other occasions. It is one of my pet peeves. All I can say here is that three weeks cannot fix what more than a year has done.

    Our educational system needs serious reform. We have been assured that it is in the works. Hard to see it happening with the current mindsets.

    Bajans have to decide if they want this broken system to continue to destroy so many of our children and hence, ultimately ALL OF US. This system serves the minority. That is no good even for the minority as they have to live among the majority.

    The question to be answered is – do we want to limp along or do we want to fly?

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  • William Skinner

    @ David
    The assault on the teaching profession has continued since the 70s. The reason it does not attract too much attention on BU is that both the Bees and the Dees have acted in the same manner toward the profession.
    Efforts were made to bring the BUT and BSTU together back in the late seventies. The BSTU did not view primary school teachers as their equals and that effort collapsed.
    Both unions have high profiled leaders, not only presidents, who are die hard members and supporters of the Bs or the Ds.
    There is much that I can say but it really makes no sense because it would be the same thing I have been saying since the 70s.
    No wonder all the recent Ministers Of Education can employ divide and rule strategies and then attract public support for their nefarious deeds.
    We reap what we sow.

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  • @William

    You follow local media . You heard the head of Erdiston Training College chastising teachers by suggesting if they are not in it for the love of the profession to find another job? Her comment was provoked by the unions advising teachers not to respond to governments call to forgo summer vacation in order to teach children left behind by the pandemic.

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  • Are Liesel and Michelle Weekes related?

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  • @William
    “No wonder all the recent Ministers Of Education can employ divide and rule strategies and then attract public support for their nefarious deeds.”

    Correct!!!

    @PAula
    6 is half dozen and both the 6’s and the full dozen operate from a political crate rather than one built for children.

    @Daivd
    Have you ever heard a lawyer cussing another one? Even if they dead wrong and theiving? Have you ever heard a doctor call out another for malpractice? Have you ever heard a police testify against a police?? But yet teachers and Ministers and Ministry officials cuss one another daily… ALL THE WHILE trying to teach conflict resolution, collaboration and cooperation. Mark my words, this will go down as one of the worse periods in education in Barbados despite all the huff, puff and fluff.
    Just observing

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  • David Ellis is advertised to deal with the subject of education on Sunday Brasstacks, subject: children forgotten during the pandemic re: reception and infants.

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  • You don’t divorce to marry back.

    @William Skinner
    Whose words were those?

    If you can remember you would know that both the BUT and BSTU had mutual trust issues from the 1970s to the present.

    If they are serving teachers all the same what is it that keeps them from becoming one? Political affiliations fuel personal ambitions and representation falls flat until your party is voted out. Former leaders of teachers’ unions went straight from the table of the union executive into a political campaign, private sector association leadership, senior education posts like the last two Chief Education Officers did or consultancy for government.

    If teachers would wake up they would know understand why a vote of no confidence was pushed in the BUT last year by two members who ran in DLP council elections later that year.

    So who is running the teachers’ unions in Barbados? Are their headquarters in Belleville and Welches or George Street and Roebuck Street?

    How better to control them than by setting them against each other? Teachers need to keep a closer eye on the ministry and their union leaders.

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  • It boggles the mind why teachers are being served by two unions on a small island like Barbados.It the prevailing environment it makes sense for the BUT and BSTU to amalgamate.

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  • @DAvid
    That will NEVER happen. Anyone wonder why in all of the recent noise and tension that one of the union leaders is quiet?? Especially when same said union leader is usually the most vocal???

    Just observing

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  • Who will rid us of these petty, partisan politics?

    The loudmouth Mary is indeed as quiet as a church mouse!

    SMH

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  • William Skinner

    @ David
    That is the old strategy at work. You would recall that just about a week or so ago the matter of the date for the Common Entrance was publicly addressed by the Minister of Education. All the unions were on board. We were given the impression that consensus was reached. Then suddenly, the goal post was moved and the summer classes idea literally caught the teachers by surprise.
    Now that the unions don’t agree to it because the teachers are stressed out, the powers that be are reaching out for retirees and others to teach the students during the summer.
    Political PR will follow, it will go something like this:
    The ministry/ government/ minister trying dey best to get the “ children” catch up and dem teachers don’t want to help; they just want the salary and don’t want to help the “poor children”. The “old time teachers” who use to work for nutting ain’t like there new ones ..,……..,….,..”
    That is the way it has been always done. That’s why we can’t get no where with education , all the administrations try to put the teachers in a bad light and the public then believes that the “ teachers don’t care nutten ‘ bout de children”
    Same old same old.

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  • @William
    Well said.

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  • Olu Walrond proves just what William is saying here about the public but Ricky Neblett makes an interesting point.

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  • Walrond: Mr. Shepherd, you are fooling no one.Teachers are not under any more pressure than any other category of worker. If anything you should be more relaxed than most, because when everyone else was working you had the benefit of the children vacation. Let’s face it: you guys just don’e like to work.

    Neblett: Now you see why the last president was under pressure because he wasn’t opposing everything and calling strikes so he had to go and now we are back to normal with Mr Shepherd oppose oppose oppose

    It is cat piss and dog pepper.

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  • Redman in the red corner and Shepherd in the blue.

    They take turns at opposing.

    But it is not fair to say that teachers do not want to work. Some do and some don’t as with every other profession.

    It is the union leaders who “oppose everything” depending on which party proposes it.

    I think that one should do a “cost benefit” analysis before one jumps in with a last minute proposal.

    It is not clear that three weeks of work will make a signigicant dent in the deficit. It will however, cause significant discord.

    Unfortunately, life does not go as planned. We have to be more flexible in our expectations. The year is gone. There is no making up for it. We should stop pretending.

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  • Macdowall is a classic example what will be the result- for the union.

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  • https://www.nationnews.com/2015/05/16/pudding-souse-power-gone-to-her-wigs

    She needs to recognise that she is not sitting across the table trying to frighten an opposing side into accepting her position. They say it seems as if the water in the Constitution River has left her giddy and light-headed and warn that the big stick behaviour is unacceptable – 2015

    Miss Most Wigs refused to toe the line so she had to go. But in 2021 others are giddy with power.

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  • Education reform still on the table, says Bradshaw

    Scrapping the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE) is still on the books, says Ministry of Education Santia Bradshaw.
    During the virtual 73rd annual Erdiston Teachers Training College orientation ceremony recently, Bradshaw outlined upcoming education reforms, including replacing the BSSEE.
    “Government intends to transform the education system in Barbados so we can equip our people to be global citizens. The planned reforms will not only be the removal of the method of transferring students from primary to secondary school, replacing the BSSEE, but it will also be about reforming the national curriculum to make it relevant to the emerging technological and global trends and transformational needs of this country.
    “We will also be looking at the structure of our secondary schools and the process of transforming schools into specialist institutions, which has already begun,” she said.
    Bradshaw said Erdiston would play an important part in the upcoming reforms. She said the institution would not only continue to work with the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training but also the Barbados Community College, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology, the Barbados Vocational Training Board and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Council to develop programmes and provide training.
    MOU signed
    In addition, she said the college had signed a memorandum of understanding with the George Brown College in Canada and was forging links with Tampere University in Finland.
    The education minister also said there was an increased focus on coding and robotics, with Government already spending around
    $3 million on these programmes.
    “These will be offered at all levels of the educational system. More than 200 teachers, tutors and instructors have already started the training organised by Erdiston to implement a curriculum for coding and robotics in our schools. Some teachers are also currently in training to become certified instructors in the Vex educational robotics system.
    “Coding and robotics can make invaluable contributions to the goals of education by building critical thinking and problem solving skills and help develop the life skill of learning to work with others to solve problems,” she said.
    Chairman Dr Sylvia Henry said teaching had changed in the current COVID-19 environment and those who were not prepared to give their all and beyond should think about a different career.
    “Teaching is a profession and we need dedicated teachers who are not afraid to go the extra mile. If you are not prepared to face this bold new world of education, I urge you to rethink your career choice,” she said, while also urging the participants to make sure they were vaccinated.
    The ceremony also included words of encouragement from acting principal Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw who said teaching went far beyond theory, regurgitating facts and exam preparation as it was really about preparing students for life.
    The exam, more commonly known as the 11 plus or common entrance exam, has been drawing criticism for some time. In March, veteran educator and OBE awardee Sandie Field-Kellman said the exam was doing more harm than good and was causing those students who were not academically inclined to be left behind.
    In April, John Goddard, another veteran educator, again called for the exam to be done away with as
    he said the present education system was producing too many failures. He said children learned at different speeds yet the exam singled out particular students to excel. (CA)

    Source: Nation

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  • Let the teachers rest
    I am shocked at the largely negative public outcry levied at what appears to be a unanimous stance by teachers and their unions to reject the call of the Ministry of Education to teach summer school in parts of July and August this year.
    Mr Pedro Shepherd, who is the president of the Barbados Union of Teachers, explained that teachers rejected the proposal because they have been going from March last year when the pandemic forced them to use their Easter vacations to learn the G Suite online teaching platform. He explained that teaching online is twice or three times as hard as physical teaching and that “the country’s educators needed a break in the interest of their mental and physical wellbeing”.
    Last year, many parents complained about the difficulties experienced with online learning. Complaints ranged from insufficient access to computers or tablets, unfamiliarity with the G Suite platform, and the difficulty supervising children who had to sit for long periods in front of a screen with waning attention spans. Teachers shared these difficulties too.
    This week I spoke with an educator who explained that with the advent of online learning, teachers experienced several challenges. They had to (1) learn the new G Suite in a short period, (2) convert all their lessons into digital format (3) develop new teaching methods that allowed online learning to be engaging to students (4) monitor the learning of each student within this new format and provide extra off-screen assistance to those who were struggling (5) attempt to complete the majority of the curriculum within a shorter period. Many of these activities required teachers to devote a significant amount of additional off-screen hours in prep work, thereby increasing the workday and workload of our teachers. This while battling unstable Internet connections which caused some teachers to incur hundreds of dollars in data charges to remain online when their Internet failed.
    Supervise their children
    Teachers who have their own children had the added challenge of struggling to babysit young children or to supervise their children’s online learning while still teaching their classes. The other stresses associated with the lockdown, the restricted shopping hours and the effects of the ash fall also affected our teachers. And let us not forget the teachers who were required to quarantine after a few positive cases emerged in some schools following the return to face-to-face classes.
    Given all the challenges faced within this last year, I understand why teachers and their unions have been uncompromising in their refusal to teach summer school. Burnout is real and unless counteracted by adequate rest can result in a demotivated workforce and reduced productivity. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
    Entitled to paid holidays
    More importantly, teachers are employees too. All employees in Barbados are legally entitled to receive annual paid holidays and routinely do so without reprise. So why are teachers being chastised for protecting their legal right to annual vacation, especially when some teachers worked throughout the recent Easter vacation.
    Furthermore, section 5.1 of the General Orders of the Public Service state that head teachers and teachers of primary and secondary schools are not eligible for vacation leave other than during the period of school vacation.
    If the teachers agreed to teach summer school in July or August, they would permanently lose those vacation days since there is no provision within the General Orders that allows teachers to preserve unused vacation days. This would result in significantly reduced vacation time, some of which still will include attendance at school meetings and preparation for the upcoming September term.
    I commend the teachers and their unions for their
    joint stance in prioritising their mental and physical health and defending their legal right to annual holiday. We must resist toxic work practices that prioritise output even at the expense of the needs of the workforce. It is especially refreshing to see a union whose focus is on prioritising and protecting the needs and interests of its members.
    Michelle M. Russell is an attorney at law with a passion for employment law and labour matters and a budding social activist. Email: mrussell.ja@gmail.com

    Source: Nation

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  • .William Skinner

    @ David
    “So why are teachers being chastised for protecting their legal right to annual vacation, especially when some teachers worked throughout the recent Easter vacation.”
    The author( Russell ) asks above : Why are teachers being chastised………..”

    As I said recently, the politicians in cahoots with their lap dogs in the Ministry of Education always find a way to turn public opinion against the profession. Every single minister pulls this nastiness.
    Here is a perfect example:
    Back in the 70s , teachers were losing almost half of their lunch break or more supervising students during lunch time because of the school meals .
    When the BUT,explained that after supervising the students they needed more time to have their lunch because they were losing more than half their lunch hour, the then Minister of Education, went on national television and told the public that the teachers did not want to supervise the children. He went on to say that it’s a health issue because the children will use the wash rooms and if they were not supervised they may not wash their hands after and it would eat their lunch with dirty hands, This he said will lead to all kinds of health issues because they may end up sick.
    It was in my opinion the greatest lie ever told an any profession. The public gobbled up the lie and proceeded to “ cuss” the teachers.
    All the teachers wanted was twenty minutes more to compensate for the time lost in supervising the children.?The teachers were being very reasonable because sometimes the supervision took up more than half their lunch hour. In other words even if they were granted twenty minutes more they would have still been giving up a full hour.
    The apologists can say what they like but the current MOE, has a penchant for divide and rule. I realise she comes out very smooth before the public but she always says things like: “ I have spoken to parents” “ I have spoken with children” “ Some teachers agree with …., “
    “ Not all teachers are members of the union”.
    She like all the rest before in recent times literally scandalize the profession to ensure that their political ambitions and preferences are instituted .
    This article by Ms. Russell represents the most positive pro teacher position , I have read in the last thirty or more years.
    However I am not surprised that the public would have sided with the Minister who wants to prove she can get her way.
    The only difference with her and Jones is the presentation but the attitude and content are the same.
    Six and half dozen.

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  • @William

    There is another view given the challenge the pandemic poses that taxpayers are supporting the public sector wage bill while many in the private sector have been sent home and the teachers owe it to the country to dig deep given the prevailing challenge. In other words there are the old issues and then there is the one before us.

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  • Are we asking too much for the unions and MOE to discuss and resolve these kinds of matters offline?

    BUT blasts ministries
    Union upset over response to virus at Ann Hill School
    by SHERIA BRATHWAITE sheriabrathwaite@nationnews.com
    THE BARBADOS UNION OF TEACHERS (BUT) is slamming the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education for the way they went about dealing with the COVID-19 case at the Ann Hill School on Friday.
    Yesterday BUT president Pedro Shepherd told the DAILY NATION the union was dissatisfied and pressing for a meeting with officials from both ministries to establish a protocol on how to treat such issues.
    “Teachers were told to call the parents and inform them that there was an emergency at the school and the children were returning home because most of them go home by bus. I believe that they
    (parents) should have been told that it was a COVID-19 case so that they would know how to deal with it,” he said.
    “When you tell someone there is an emergency and children are returning home, you don’t know if it was a bomb scare or what. So you collect your child treating the emergency as if it was normal. People could have taken their child to the supermarket, then home or back to work and then home, but if they knew it was a COVID-19 case they would have reacted differently.”
    Shepherd said teachers were also blind about the nature of the emergency and had to do some digging to find out what was truly going on.
    “I think the situation might have been handled incorrectly; it was not good enough. You need to tell people up front about what the position is, so people would know how to treat to a situation. Initially, they (teachers) were told it was an emergency and I guessed they tried hard
    enough to find out what it was . . . . The principal would have informed them about the emergency.
    “The irony of it is that the child who tested positive is an Ann Hill student who was based at (the neighbouring) Irvin Wilson School. Ann Hill needed the extra space so the full complement could return to school; so they were using classes out there and using the facilities. One would have thought that Irving Wilson would have also been closed.”
    Shepherd said a number of students and teachers were in quarantine at a hotel in Christ Church, adding that janitorial staff at the Irving Wilson School were instructed to do a general cleaning of the places the COVID-19-positive second-year student frequented.
    He explained that the student in question tested positive on Thursday and school carried on as usual on Friday until the principal was informed about the test results.
    “I guess they didn’t want to panic people but going forward the union is going to have to work out with the ministry a protocol on how to deal with these issues, because they are going to pop up at schools from time to time and we cannot call them emergencies.
    “We have to be up front and look at the nature of the case – if there is need for isolation within the school or need for school to be closed immediately – but we have to sit down with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to look at protocols on how we are going to deal with these matters as they come up.”
    He added: “Like when HIV/ AIDS came up, we had a protocol on how to deal with that, so we have to look at a protocol for these cases. There has to be some process and then make determinations and so on.”
    Shepherd said this was not the first time a student contracted the viral illness and it had an impact on a school, and procedures should already be on the cards for schools to adopt in dealing with such matters.
    On Saturday during a nationally televised press conference, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George disclosed that there were three new COVID-19 clusters which resulted in 29 new infections and more than 100 people were in quarantine hotels awaiting testing.
    He said the case at the
    Ann Hill School was connected to the clusters, adding that the Princess Margaret School also had some involvement as well as a manufacturing company. However, that name of that business was not disclosed.
    Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic, in the same press briefing, said Government had nothing to hide but it was not customary to identify any private sector entity with positive COVID-19 cases.
    As it relates to the school environment, he insisted that Government had not dropped the ball in terms of investigating possible COVID-19-related cases, although news of the school cases last week was brought to light in the media before it was disseminated through any official Government channel.
    Last week was the second time a COVID-19 case was reported at Princess Margaret, the first being in May.

    Source: Nation News

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  • Santia wants all hands on deck

    DELIVERING FOOD HAMPERS alone will not help to solve many of the issues plaguing low-income families, says Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw.
    She is therefore urging service organisations and philanthropists to be more hands-on and go into the communities.
    Bradshaw recalled last year that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted underlying issues affecting families such as a lack of electricity and water, which otherwise might not have been brought to the forefront.
    “At our lowest when we had to make the transition to online and we needed devices, many of you stepped forward to give us your assistance. But during that process, we also discovered the vulnerabilities of those households where there was no electricity, and there were difficult circumstances our students faced.
    “While the devices have gone a long way in helping our students, there is still a lot more to be done. So I would [hope] that there is a time to come where many of you would go further than the hampers and the delivery of the hampers and really get on the ground . . . . I am asking for a call to action where it goes deeper because you understand now that Barbados does not have the luxury of waiting; we have to have all hands on deck,” Bradshaw said.
    The minister was speaking addressing the Rotary Club of Barbados West’s annual installation dinner held at the Tides Restaurant in Holetown, St James, on Saturday.
    She thanked the club for projects such as its Literacy Programme, adding they were vital to assisting students.
    Bradshaw, however, called on more Barbadians, organisations and churches to assist the Government in helping young people find their passions, as this could help them stay away from crime.
    “That truly is what Barbados needs right now. We can bring back all the tourism but if we have the crime at the level that we have it, none of us is going to benefit. It is not by chance that we have young people who are talented
    but only discover their talents when they end up at HMP Dodds.
    “Give them opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities, take them to places that they would never have gone to, because we all know the benefits of being exposed to new experiences and seeing things through a different lens,” she added.
    René Akobi Butcher, who was installed as president, told the media that in addition to their literacy project and scholarships, they would continue the feeding programme and screening of hearing for primary school students.
    “This year we conducted a screening at the Good Shepherd Primary School and we found one boy who had significant hearing loss in both ears. When we realised he made his way through primary school to Class 1 without being detected, that motivated us to see if we can do a similar search across the country to find children with similar issues.
    “Phase 1 includes six- to sevenyear- olds, Phase 2 involves children of all age groups and we plan to complete both phases by 2023,” Butcher said.
    He said they were still focused on aiding communities.
    “We are committed to doing what we can to assist vulnerable families and we want to encourage other persons to jump on board and assist us in tackling this mammoth task, and organising the resources to ensure we can help as many Barbadians as possible,” Butcher added. (TG)

    Source: Nation

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  • William Skinner

    @ David
    When dealing with children, we need to be more understanding. Ms. Russell’s article is very illuminating because it clearly shows that pushing burnt out teachers to now engage in some hastily conceived Bounce Back Summer what ever, will ultimately not yield any outstanding results.
    Please remember that dealing with children is not like dealing with reopening a shop, mini mart, cinema or gas station. These are young lives that have suffered tremendous psychological damage because of the disruption of COVID.
    However, and I will say this repeatedly, the hatchet job done on the profession going back to the 70s is still obvious today.
    Politicians using our most precious resource and refusing to reform the system have a lot of blood on their hands. Common sense demands that both teachers and children need to have a good long summer break.
    We don’t want to admit it but the violent crimes, hog a stylish behavior toward , each other, inability of students in secondary school to even write a simple composition and the general changing nature of our society have a lot to do with how we develop citizens via the educational system.
    We better think twice on these matters. Nothing happening now would surprise those of us , fighting for change fifty years ago.
    We reap what we sow. Teaching is not managing a mini mart and children are not about dollars and cents.
    Everyday devoted teachers make sacrifices way beyond the call of their profession. But they don’t rush into the papers for front page news. It’s not the teachers that are broken it is the education system.
    Forget the PR Bounce back Crap. We are not talking about tourism slogans here.
    There are beaches to enjoy and lazy summer days to recharge batteries. Take the damn politics out of education and deal with the reality that both teachers and children need a break.

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  • I thank Ms. Russell for her support.

    Ms. Russell, teachers are required to apply for long leave which is their only true vacation. When school is out teachers remain on duty and if schools are used as hurricane shelters they are to report as wardens. The principals report as senior wardens. Teachers are to request permission to travel in the so-called vacation during Christmas, Easter and summer. They are to return to Barbados before the school year starts on September 1 if they leave the island. They are also to seek permission to be off island there too. Who else in the public service has to?

    Teachers know they owe it to the country to dig deep. That has been the norm for most teachers. But the new normal seems to make for no regard whatsoever for the personal well-being of teachers.

    Teachers need to look out for teachers because nobody else does. It is that simple.

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  • @William

    Have no issue with your view, we live in a world where matters are assessed from a pure transactional perspective.

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  • There are good teachers and bad teachers. Most are good.

    We have a tendency to focus on the bad.

    This adversarial relationship between the politicians, the Ministry and the teachers is not good for anyone. I am tired of seeing all this crap play out in the media.

    We had better get our act together or we will perish.

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  • @PS.
    ‘They are to return to Barbados before the school year starts on September 1 if they leave the island.’

    First let me state that I spent a short time teaching at a secondary school.

    Teachers should know they have to be present for the start, during and at the end of the school year.

    I am glad that my vacation was not as difficult as that of other people.

    Let me get back to my summer reading ‘How to win friends and influence people’

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  • @David

    The parties involved are either too immature or eyeing on notnlosing ground before general elections. The minister and the president are a blessing to the media. But the people of St. Michael South East would like their MP to remember they are her constituents.

    There are teachers who live in Haggatt Hall, Wildey, Upton, the Pine and St. Barnabas who vote. They know who it is attacking them. They aren’t deaf. After they had a ten year Jones special and another special from Bradshaw, teachers are fed up with the nonsense.

    Test papers from the ministry were delivered.to primary schools on different days. Blame the teachers?

    Test items which have nothing to do with the national syllabus were on the tests prepared by the ministry. Blame the teachers?

    Papers arrived with no marking scheme and no analysis sheet. Blame the teachers?

    If results are late, do you blame the teachers? If the results are poor who do you blame?

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  • There seems to be enough blame to distribute.

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  • Bradshaw: We’re guided by Health

    by KENMORE BYNOE

    THERE ARE PROTOCOLS to deal with suspected cases of COVID-19 within schools and all heads should be aware of what they entail.
    That was the response from Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw to president of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), Pedro Shepherd, who in yesterday’s DAILY NATION blasted her ministry and the Ministry of Health over how they dealt with a COVID-19 case at the Ann Hill School last week.
    An upset Shepherd said his union wanted to meet with both ministries to set up a protocol on handling such matters.
    However, Bradshaw said yesterday after the unveiling of a bust of educator Hilda Ashton Skeene at the school bearing her name in Ruby, St Philip, that she had no time for those who wanted to cause panic.
    “All schools should be aware of what the protocols are. Once there is a suspected case, the Ministry of Health intervenes, investigates and works with the Ministry of Education; that is the protocol. You cannot advise the parents until you know what to advise, so we still have to wait on Health to carry out their investigations and advise us with regard to the next step.
    “There is no point in creating an alarm when there may be no need for it. The ministry is not in the business of creating alarm and panic in the country. We have been managing a crisis from Day 1, so those who are not capable of managing a crisis need to take it elsewhere. I don’t have any time for that,” she said.
    The minister maintained that “we do not deal with suppositions”.
    “If the Ministry of Health discovers a case, they do contact tracing and inform the Ministry of Education how to advise principals, teachers and parents. If they say there is a problem, we respond. If they say hold on, they have to investigate further, then we hold on. We cannot close schools if there is no guidance from Health.”
    Shepherd said that the student at Ann Hill tested positive last Thursday but school continued as usual on Friday until the principal was informed about the test results.
    Going to pop up
    “I guess they didn’t want to panic people but going forward the union is going to have to work out with the ministry a protocol on how to deal with these issues, because they are going to pop up at schools from time to time and we cannot call them emergencies.
    “We have to be up front and look at the nature of the case – if there is need for isolation within the school or need for school to be closed immediately – but we have to sit down with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to look at protocols on how we are going to deal with these matters as they come up,” the BUT head said in the Page 1 article.
    An obviously annoyed Bradshaw said: “Why carry a story without hearing from the Ministry of Education and then I am on the back foot trying to explain a story? There are too many things going on in education that are critically important. These kinds of things which are distractions are not my focus right now.”
    She said there were meetings scheduled with parent-teacher associations in which such matters would be discussed, but her ministry had to take its cue from health officials.
    “In every case there are assessments where contact tracing has to be done and after contact tracing is done, the Ministry of Health guides us. In the past, they told us to close off and go online. The Ministry of Health has to be given the opportunity to do their investigations.
    “If there is a fire or the danger of a building falling I can close schools, but in relation to a pandemic, the health ministry advises and guides us.”
    Earlier, Bradshaw praised the teachers at Hilda Skeene Primary School for epitomising the standard set by Skeene in providing well-rounded education for the students. She added that the population explosion in St Philip had seen St Mark’s Primary being stretched and her ministry was exploring land to build a new primary school for St Mark’s.
    The unveiling ceremony included teacher Sharon “Shakera” Branch leading a group of children in rhythm poetry, music, song and dance to give an impressive depiction of Skeene’s history. Former student, Cultural Ambassador Stedson RPB Wiltshire, and many former heads and teachers were also present for the ceremony.

    Source: Nation

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  • Shepherd was upset and Bradshaw was annoyed according to the article

    Thiis shouting match is overshadowing the issues in education. Teachers need leaders with emotional intelligence and a vision to move education forward together.

    Some people in Lascelles Terrace could tell you about the time when the union leader flattened some tyres back when he was annoyed. Two for Phillips and two for Green. A campaign has begun at Wilkie Cumberbatch where students are given messages to take home. Vote for your old teacher..

    Bradshaw’s Haggatt Hall constituency office is starting to fall apart like just the schools. On Brasstacks today a resident of Blackman Field spoke about Bradshaw no longer being accessible to constituents.

    These two do not make good examples as leaders. They are too busy carrying on like two schoolgirls fighting over a van man in the middle of the road. How low can they go?

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  • Minister Bradshaw, deal with this kind of matter offline. No need to create adversarial conditions under every issue.

    Bradshaw: BL&P cuts impacting children

    by GERCINE CARTER gercinecarter@nationnews.com
    MINISTER OF EDUCATION Santia Bradshaw has appealed to the Barbados Light & Power Company (BL& P) to show more leniency to delinquent households where there are children depending on electricity to enable them to study.
    She told the House of Assembly yesterday that turning off electricity for non-payment of bills was having “a direct impact” on her ministry, with some students being unable to complete schoolwork.
    However, in a response last night, BL& P said it was “surprised” by Bradshaw’s statements, adding that while it, too, had bills to pay, including to fuel suppliers, it had been working with the ministry to help ensure children were able to continue remote learning.
    Speaking during debate of the Control Of Inefficiency Lighting Bill, 2021,
    Bradshaw said: “Every day I get a call from somebody expressing concern about the electricity having been cut. Oftentimes you find that people wait until the bill is at that point where it has been disconnected to seek intervention because they always hope that they can find the resources to pay the bill.
    “But in this environment, while the players in the market have facilitated for the most part the very early stages of COVID, I want to make the appeal to the company that has a responsibility for being the entity that sends out the bills, to re-examine the approach to households in relation to the payment of electricity bills. It has a direct impact certainly on my ministry when electricity supply is cut off, because I have children in households that then cannot access the electricity.”
    At the same time, she urged people who were working and could afford to pay the electricity bill to do so, adding that she “would not support anybody being able to earn a living and not
    pay their bills”.
    “I don’t think that we are in an environment where if people could pay they would refuse to pay, but there are genuine cases coming to the fore that we are well aware of, where I do feel that there needs to be a little bit more leniency being exercised by the entity responsible for light in this country.”
    Wider appeal
    Bradshaw said while she had received “very good customer interaction” from BL& P when she appealed for consideration on behalf of constituents, “I do want to make the wider appeal because it really does concern me when I hear parents calling . . . because Light & Power may have cut off their electric supply on a Friday afternoon and the children have work to do on the weekend or they are not going to be able to do online school.”
    In March 2020, Government had appealed to the utilities not to disconnect customers for non-payment of bills amidst the COVID-19 crisis. However, that moratorium was due to end last July.
    In January, BL& P reported that more customers were having difficulty paying their electricity bills, but disconnection remained a last resort.
    In its response yesterday, the company stated: “Over the past year . . . among the efforts we made were to reconnect power supply to households to ensure students had the electricity service needed to participate in remote online schooling.
    “So, given this, we were surprised and dismayed by Minister Bradshaw’s statement . . . in relation to Light & Power, and our support of families and children’s education across the country.”
    BL& P added that during the pandemic, “we suspended disconnections for non-payment for 13 months to support our customers and the
    country. We have been consistently working with customers during those months, encouraging them to contact us and set up payment plans if they are having challenges paying their bills.
    “If we do not get paid by customers, even if only part payment as agreed in a payment plan, we run the risk of not being able to pay our own bills.”
    BL& P reiterated that disconnections were “a very last resort”, adding: “We have to pay for fuel and VAT . . . and we are not granted any relief from those payments. Without customer payments, we run the risk of not being able to pay our suppliers, who are critical to our ability to deliver on our obligations to the country.”
    The company said it welcomed continued talks with the Ministry of Education, and Bradshaw in particular, “on how Light & Power may continue to support children’s education – and the country as a whole – during this period of ongoing economic challenges”.

    Source: Nation

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  • Programmes to help lift the youth
    THE Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment has rolled out several programmes geared towards young people so they can contribute more to national development.
    On Sunday night during his address at a Barbados Labour Party St Michael South branch meeting at the Graydon Sealy Secondary School, Minister Dwight Sutherland said there would come a day when young people would have to lead Barbados and his ministry was committed to ensuring they had the necessary skills to do so.
    “Fifty years down the road you would see someone who is a teenager now coming to represent you . . . so we need to give young people the opportunity to learn skills to empower them to own their own businesses; we need to train young people for leadership positions in this country,” he said.
    It is against this background that he said his ministry was planning to use underutilised community centres as pinnacles of community engagement and advancement.
    Sutherland said the centres functioned not only as venues to hold social events, but they played a critical role as safe spaces for young people to take part in educational programmes, learn about community spirit and develop a community-driven mindset.
    “We saw an increase in crime as a result because the young people had nowhere to go; community centres were no longer being used as social and recreational hubs.
    Igniting sector
    “Community centres . . . did not only have dances back in my time, they had programmes where the ladies went to learn to knit . . . that would help them earn a way of living. You know how many
    people started businesses from going to community centres and learning to do these things? So, we are igniting the small business sector and utilising the community centres to do certain things.”
    Sutherland said his ministry had established programmes to help the annual 4 000 school leavers improve their skill sets.
    He boasted about his ministry’s Getting To Get Hired programme, which involves several young people learning about photovoltaic systems and electric car maintenance at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology.
    The minister said this programme targeted students who left school without any certificates.
    Sutherland also spoke about his ministry’s Pathways programme, which is a joint venture between Government and the private sector that involves giving teenagers job attachments for six months.
    This programme was also used to recruit young people to join the Royal Barbados Police Force.
    More than 3 000 students were trained in information technology in the Community Technology training programme and about 200 teens were trained in the Youth Achieving Results
    programme, which was done in partnership with the National Cultural Foundation.
    Sutherland added that Government spent $30 000 in an entrepreneurship programme conducted at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds and many women and men learnt how to do garden maintenance utilising modern technology, among other skills.
    He said his ministry was also coordinating a new programme centred around horse racing. (SB)

    MINISTER OF YOUTH, Sports and Community Empowerment Dwight Sutherland (right) addressing the Barbados Labour Party’s St Michael South branch meeting as MP for the constituency, Kirk Humphrey,
    and branch president Rosemary Leon look on. (Picture by Shanice King.)

    Source: Nation News

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  • New agency for family coming

    THE Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration is creating a new social service department that will encompass the Welfare Department and other governmental social agencies.
    Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey made this announcement on Sunday night during a BLP St Michael South branch meeting at Graydon Sealy Secondary School, Paddock Road, St Michael.
    “Very soon, what we know as welfare and the other agencies will be replaced by a new agency called the Department of Family and Children Services in Barbados that will reduce the duplication and take better care of you,” he said.
    “We are going to pull together all of the different departments in the Ministry of People Empowerment and bring all of the social service sectors and institutions together to be able to
    better serve you and to be better able to respond.”
    The parliamentary representative for the constituency said he was aware that many Barbadians were dissatisfied with the “slow” service and inconsistent responses at some social service agencies and this was a measure Government was instituting to deal with the issue.
    “Hold on, we have heard you, we understand that your concerns are real and we are making changes to the department . . . . Some of these social care services have so many cases sometimes that they are overburdened.”
    Humphrey said the Welfare Department was under pressure servicing the needs of disadvantaged people, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the new entity would have more capacity to address people’s needs, give them “opportunities for advancement and bring services closer” to them. (SB)

    Source: Nation

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  • Assessment concern
    BUT president calls on ministry for results
    Stories by RACHELLE AGARD rachelleagard@nationnews.com
    PRESIDENT OF THE Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd says while he has no issue with the Common Entrance Exam going ahead as planned, he wants Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw to make public the state of the continuous assessments scheduled over the last few weeks.
    “Class 4s can resume face-to-face in my view from July 12 up until July 28 without interruption, and the Common Entrance Exam can go on as per usual [on July 28]. If Coleridge & Parry is out of commission [which suffered damage from Hurricane Elsa], I believe the students can be diverted to another secondary school as classes would be out of session and they would have the space,” he said.
    On Saturday, Bradshaw announced school would be suspended today and tomorrow, while online classes would be conducted wherever possible on Wednesday and Thursday to allow teachers to wrap up the term. She added some schools had been damaged by Hurricane Elsa and were still being used as hurricane shelters for those affected.
    Practically prepared
    A further update from the ministry yesterday stated face-to-face classes for Class 4 students only will resume on Wednesday and Thursday.
    Shepherd said that at this stage, other than being psychologically affected, he did not think things like books being damaged would make a difference for students taking the exam.
    “I think the children are practically prepared. What would happen at this stage over the next two weeks is that teachers would be fine-tuning for speed and small areas with mistakes, but hard
    core teaching over the next two weeks is not going to be the norm,” he said.
    The BUT leader, who teaches at Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School, called on Bradshaw to publicly present the analysis on the end-of-term assessments from Infants A to Class 3 “they were trying to have completed”, and what the deficiencies were.
    “Those examinations have not been completed. The analysis has not been done. Some private schools have already closed and some papers are still in the Ministry of Education waiting to be dispatched. They need to let people know the confusion in relation to that particular programme, but yet the ministry has summer school being planned to address deficiencies that have not been identified,” he charged.
    Not sure
    Shepherd also said he was not sure a lot of students would attend the additional Class 4 instruction.
    “The parents of the top flyers would make sure they attend, but the ones at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, who hardly attend school online or hardly come to face-to-face, I don’t think they are going to see the vacation as any reasonable opportunity for them to go to school and not enjoy themselves.”
    He anticipated a high number of deferrals for the Common Entrance.
    “From what I am gathering, more parents are asking for more deferrals at this stage than normal. Come September there will be a lot of confusion in schools where we will be scrambling to see where to put these students who ask for deferrals and who remain in primary schools.
    “As I had predicted, most people whose children are not going to get into the top six schools will most likely ask for deferrals. The ones who would have gone on to St George Secondary
    or Parkinson in any case, those parents would not ask for a deferral, but the number is going to be higher than normal,” Shepherd said.

    Source: Nation

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