The ad hoc manner in which some issues within the education system are handled cannot be allowed to continue, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw has declared.
She has also suggested it was time to revamp the Education Act, last repealed and replaced under a Labour Government in 1981.
She told Barbados TODAY: “We need an entire revamp of the Education Act; there are a lot of outdated things within the legislation that right now can no longer govern us.
“The practices that have taken place in many cases there was no legitimate basis for them.”
The Minister was responding to complaints from the teachers’ unions regarding transfers and the absence of detailed staff lists to enable schools to properly plan for the new school year.
Earlier this week, the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) voiced concerns surrounding the transfers by “senior officers in the ministry with the continuing lack of adherence to protocol”. The union also suggested that its members were being targeted for transfer in violation of their rights.
A day later, president of the Barbados Union of Teachers, Sean Spencer, also raised concern that some school administrators were having a difficult time planning for the new year as principals are yet to receive the staff list for their schools.
He said that in one school there were as many as six transfers, but the school is still expected to cater to the same number of students, with no word about replacements. In addition, one teacher on the current staff list was promoted to acting deputy principal two years ago, creating an even further shortage of instructors
Bradshaw told Barbados TODAY that personnel matters like these have been discussed in the past and expressed concern that areas of contention have again surfaced. She pointed out that serious changes were needed.
Bradshaw said: “I think we have to now put things in writing so that people have a clearer understanding of what they must follow if they are going to transfer someone.
“Yes, they need to give notice, you need to ensure that there is proper planning.
“These are things in the past the unions and the Ministry of Education would have taken the time to discuss and there should be some understanding about how things should be done and I am concerned myself that these things have been allowed to continue.”
She further pointed out that the time was ripe for an overhaul of the education system, noting that the legislation and policies have not evolved to meet the needs of the current system.
The Education Minister said: “The last legislation in terms of teacher evaluation was done in 2007 and I think the time is now ripe for us not just to look at teacher evaluation but principal’s evaluation as well.
“I think we now need to codify a lot of things rather than persons taking it upon themselves to behave in ways that may not be conducive to good working environment.