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BUT president: Ensure there are sufficient teachers in Family Islands

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By LETRE SWEETING

lsweeting@tribunemedia.net

BELINDA Wilson, who was recently re-elected president of the Bahamas Union of Teachers, called on the Ministry of Education to ensure there are sufficient teachers in Family Islands, particularly in Abaco.

Several months after teachers, parents and students gathered outside the Patrick J Bethel High School in Abaco with picket signs protesting the lack of a sufficient number of teachers at a school of more than 500 students, there are still concerns with the shortage of teachers.

This also comes more than six months after Education Minister Glenys Hanna Martin promised action during a PTA meeting in Abaco on February 2 and one month following her statements that officials are in the process of hiring teachers as they seek to address shortages in critical areas in core subjects.

Mrs Wilson said there must be improvement in recruitment and processing of new teachers going forward.

“The Ministry of Education must ensure that there are sufficient teachers for the schools in the Family Islands. There must be improvement in recruitment and processing of new teachers going forward,” she said.

“There are teachers who are recent graduates who are still waiting to be hired and posted in a school. It is very important that teachers be posted in a timely manner because students are missing so many hours of instruction. Abaco should be a priority simply because of the negative impact of Hurricane Dorian coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mrs Wilson said.

Last week, Education Director Marcellus Taylor said officials are confident that they will be able to tackle the shortage of teachers in Abaco amid concerns over the issue.

He explained that currently the ministry has deployed 25 teachers to Abaco who are on the ground at Patrick J Bethel High School. However, Mr Taylor said the ministry intends to add substitute teachers where they can until they are able to complete the process of getting permanent teachers within the schools.

Last week, Mrs Wilson was re-elected to her post.

Mrs Wilson told The Tribune at the time that she intended to make this three-year term her last time occupying the office.