The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) says it has been left in the dark about proposed changes to the education system. The union is calling on education officials to hold more dialogue with teachers.
Below is the full statement from the BUT:
The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is at a loss regarding the proposed changes to aspects of the educational system in Barbados by the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT).
Limited information was shared in passing by Dr. Idamay Denny during a meeting to discuss the return to face-to-face classes between METVT and the unions. She informed that 2022 would be the last year for the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE) and that further details on its replacement and method used to allocate students to schools would be shared at a later date.
The BUT is yet to be consulted or officially informed about any proposed changes to this exam, or even the formation of Junior Academies and Academies of Excellence as reported in the media. We, however, note that robust discussion on these changes has taken place in the Parliament of Barbados.
The Union is, therefore, encouraging the METVT to engage the stakeholders in education, including the BUT on proposed changes, given that teachers will be the ones charged with ensuring the success of these initiatives.
The basis of this encouragement is linked to the White Paper on Education Reform July 1995, Philosophical Vision pg iii paragraph 3, which encourages dialogue on issues pertaining to education reform, when it noted that “the decisions arrived at were achieved after meetings with students, principals, unions, the Church and other interest groups and stakeholders in education”. Some twenty-seven (27) years later and another attempt is being made to reform the education system in Barbados and we are yet to see such dialogue. The paragraph goes on to say “we cannot expect our people to change their attitudes and accept reform overnight if they feel left out of the process”.
With these brief comments, the BUT is eagerly looking forward to being part of the discussion on proposed changes to the education system.