Saturday 31 October, 2020

Minister of Education schedules meetings with teachers next week

(FILE) Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training headquarters.

(FILE) Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training headquarters.

Approximately three weeks before teachers are due to return to the classroom, they are being invited to share their thoughts.

The Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw plans to meet with teachers across the island next week.

The consultations, scheduled to be held on August 25, 26 and 28, are to give hundreds of educators the opportunity to share their input on the safe reopening of schools.

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On Friday, Loop News obtained a copy of a correspondence making the rounds among the teaching fraternity. It was signed by the Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw.

It stated:” As we prepare to roll out an effective teaching and learning programme for the upcoming school tern, I have commenced consultations with a variety of stakeholders regarding the reopening of school. I, therefore, welcome your input in these discussions and as such, arrangements have been made to facilitate your participation. I am therefore extending an invitation to you to join me for consultation with your peers.”

A subsequent notice posted to the Barbados Government Information Website later that same day stated that the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training had also been receiving input from principals and ministry officials “at the level of various subcommittees, and those discussions are ongoing”.

While Minister Bradshaw stressed that it was equally important to get input from teachers she stated: “I believe that they, too, have to be given the opportunity to directly express their concerns, and to make recommendations as we try to navigate together these uncharted waters, which have been presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, they are the ones who have to interface directly with our students. And, while we continue to engage with the unions, I think they also deserve the opportunity to have a forum to speak directly to me as well.”

The schedule for the proposed meetings is as follows:

  1. Public Secondary Schools - Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium
  1. Public Primary Schools - Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium
  1. Nursery and Special Schools - Friday, August 28th, 2020 at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology

For these meetings, all COVID-19 safety protocols related to hand sanitization, temperature checks, mask-wearing and physical distancing will be observed.

In a circular dated August 5, Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson announced that school will reopen on September 21 for students while teachers were to return the week of September 14-18 to effect planning.  

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Minister Bradshaw had revealed that even though the resumption of school was scheduled for September 21, the ministry was still in discussions with various education stakeholders and protocols regarding the health and safety of both staff and students were to be fleshed out.

Teachers went on vacation after the 2019-2020 academic school year came to an official close on July 24.

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