Teachers in Barbados could soon join other public sector workers on the breadline –– this indication from Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) president Pedro Shepherd as he addressed the opening of the union’s 40th annual general conference at the Hilton Barbados.
He told members last night the BUT had been informed that specialist teachers were to go, and a number of temporary teachers from each school would also be jobless.
“It is a fact that teacher aides from special units have been retrenched, and I learned a school in Christ Church recently had its general worker severed and no replacement given. I also know of a school, on the other hand, that had a watchman for over a year, never watched but got paid. These things cannot be fair.
“The BUT wants the Minister of the Civil Service to tell his officers at the Public Service Commission and Personnel Administration Division to start to work,” Shepherd declared.
“Let me state that the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) has nothing against retrenchment, but before a single teacher is retrenched, we are saying fill every single post.”
Shepherd added: “The Public Service Act states that interviews are part of the recruitment process; so set up one. Like the one that interviewed over 300 teachers in record time last year or year before to appoint senior teachers who for the most part had to be appointed because of the length of time they kept them in Hollywood [acting].
“Remember though, that any teacher you disadvantaged before giving them their legal entitlement or interview would not be taken lightly by the BUT, for who is to say that a disadvantaged or retrenched teacher would not have done an excellent interview and merits a post. Looking at the status of education in the country at this time, the president said the time for education reform is now.
“From the Ministry of Education right down to the janitorial staff. We know what is needed, but we seem afraid to do it unless overseas consultants say so. The time for action is now,” he said.
“I believe that schools should be linked through technology. We need to allow the ITCs to access Skype and use videoconferencing as teaching tools. We need to standardize all operations across all schools. It is my contention that education must be completely overhauled to get value for our money.”