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MOE hits back at union claims on language barriers of Cuban teachers


Tribune Staff Reporter

THE Ministry of Education hit back at the Bahamas Union of Teachers yesterday in response to their concerns over Cuban teachers, saying it is confident that the new recruits are competent in English.

On Wednesday, BUT president Belinda Wilson told The Tribune that several teachers from Abaco, New Providence and Grand Bahama have been complaining that the new hires cannot speak English.

She also called on the Ministry of Education to investigate the issue.

“The ministry notes the concerns expressed by Belinda Wilson, president of The Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) as it relates to Cuban teachers posted throughout the country in specialist areas,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

“The group of education professionals were recruited as a result of a scrutiny process which involved seasoned public servants from the Public Service Commission, Ministry of Public Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training and representatives of the Bahamas Educators, Counsellors and Allied Workers Union (BECAWU).

“It was unfortunate that the BUT was unable to send a representative for the interview panel.”

The ministry added that the teachers were recruited as a result of a longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with the Cuban government, which allows the government “to meet deficits in specialised areas”.

“The panel was satisfied that the teachers are highly qualified and have competency in English. We are pleased that, this year, the ministry has been able to deploy technical and vocational teachers, allowing equitable access to these studies nationwide,” the ministry continued.

“The ministry has been able to bolster the complement of special education teachers who have also been deployed nationwide to ensure no child is left out.”

“We are confident based on previous years and in light of the enhanced student access, and with the collaboration of all stakeholders, including the BUT that these teachers will play an invaluable role alongside all of our other teachers in the educational well being of our nation’s children.”