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Mar 22, 2018

Education Minister Says Union Can Do More

Patrick Faber

At the start of his presentation on the Budget, Minister of Education Patrick Faber issued a response to the teachers. While Faber has had his issues with the union in the past and recently accused their leadership of having lost their way, today he offered somewhat of an olive branch, suggesting that the union could encourage their membership to take their message directly to their students and parents to fight crime and violence and other social issues.


Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“I will say on the record, Madam Speaker, that I believe the teachers have a good place in their heart, and in fact their effort to send a statement, make a statement loud and clear on the intolerance of such crime and violence against women and the students, young people, is an admirable one and I salute them in that regard. It is in the approach that I differ a bit but I will not dwell on that afternoon. I will only encourage Miss Elena (Smith), the President of the B.N.T.U., and the other officials of the B.N.T.U., to try to continue, even after the rally today, to be more innovative in terms of what the Union itself can do and also in terms of what teachers in general and the wider school community can do to help to fix the problems of crime and violence in our society, and if I may be so bold as to share, Madam Speaker: I suggest, Madam Speaker, that because it is our teachers and the wider school community are so exposed directly to the situations, Madam Speaker. The teachers go to work on a daily basis and they deal with children who come from homes where they are abused; they are engaged with parents who live the struggle; they have, Madam Speaker, a direct hand that can help to correct these problems. And while in the past things like a rally make a contribution – if nothing else it makes a statement – I think that the teachers, and in particular the B.N.T.U. that is guiding the teachers who are members of the B.N.T.U., have a gold mine at their disposal, one where they could be encouraging direct interaction with those who are affected. By maybe having sessions – what stops us from having special sessions with the children who are in abusive situations or who are in potentially abusive situations right there in the school? Something that some may argue happens on a daily basis, but we need to pronounce it in such a way that people are aware that these things are happening and sensitize people more about what can happen; bringing in guest speakers to meet with parents. A major loophole in what goes on in our education system is – I’m sure my friend from Freetown who is a former Minister of Education; my friend from Lake Independence who is a former Minister of Education; my friend from Fort George who is a former Minister of Education, will all agree that one of the missing ingredients from our education system is parental involvement. And if teachers encourage parents to come in and to work together to solve these problems, a lot of the social ills that our society faces can be solved. So I wish to place that on the record, Madam Speaker, and I also wish to agree with my friend from Lake Independence that in fact this problem of crime, this problem of fixing our social ills that we have, is more likely to be solved if we attack it together. Madam Speaker, while I listened to my friend from Lake Independence, I had to wonder if he is a different person from the person that we knew or that we’ve come to know over the years he has been in this Honorable House and even a minister.”

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