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Oct 31, 2018

Still No Decision on the Re-Categorization of Hardship Schools

Elena Smith

National President Elena Smith called out Education Minister Patrick Faber on his recent statements on the negotiations with the union.  Smith produced signed documents and minutes of a previous meeting held by the Joint Union Negotiations Team to drive home the point. Another hot-button issue is the hardship designations of schools.  Recently, the B.N.T.U. took the media to document the arduous journey experienced by teachers at Graham Creek in the south.  Since then, a meeting was held on October seventeenth between the ministry and members of the union. But according to Smith, no decision was taken, even though the ministry has said that a final list will be determined coincidentally by November seventh.

Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“We reviewed one district, the Toledo district. And they sent us a new document when they send this letter to say that we have until November seventh. In that document has a comment that says B.N.T.U. remarks; that was blank, despite the fact that we shared with them that some of these areas in the Toledo district that the teachers will be able to get into town because the bus that they provide can take them into town, but for the teachers to leave from town to get back into the villages, there will be no buses for them if they get into town after one o’clock. All of those things we shared with them and there was some agreement and what was done was that those schools that we raised issues with, they highlighted them. But there was no final decision to say that we put those schools back in category one or category two; they were highlighted because there was no agreement on them. In terms of any other changes—because the minister spoke about there was some changes made to the list about Thursday or Friday of last week—we are not aware of that because we have not seen those. So we don’t know what changes were made and which schools were moved from one category to another. So I cannot comment on those changes, but I know in the meeting we only looked at one district and we did not agree because we only highlighted the areas of concern.”

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