Recent protests by members of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) and the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) have not fazed Minister of Education Ronald Jones one bit.
In fact, the outspoken Minister Tuesday dared anyone to suggest that the so-called March of Respect staged by the BSTU two months ago had forced his hand.
“The march didn’t go anywhere and didn’t do anything, so it is best you [teachers] had spent the time teaching and change the parameters of the young people,” said Jones during his feature address to Tuesday morning’s opening of a regional education workshop at the Accra Beach Hotel.
It was a direct response to an earlier statement by BSTU President Mary Redman, who had reported to her membership that their march through the capital had essentially forced the Ministry of Education to resolve a number of their outstanding grievances.
While the primary issue of the marking of SBA projects remains unresolved, Redman had reported immediately following the march that the reinstatement of a teacher,
whose status had been uncertain for four months, and
action on the sewage stink at the St George Secondary School, were signs that the Jones-led ministry had taken note of the strong message that had been sent by the marching teachers on April 5.
“Our march has already reaped rewards because in short order we have gotten a meeting to deal with the problems at St George Secondary School. Perhaps our calls reached the second floor [the Personnel Administration Office on April 5] because [the teacher who was placed on suspension due to a court matter four months ago] got a letter on Friday saying that she is reinstated in her position,” Redman said to loud applause from her members at the time.