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Jan 28, 2020

B.N.T.U. and M.O.E. at Odds over Education Regulation

The B.N.T.U. and the Ministry of Education are at odds again. In the latest round, the B.N.T.U. says they have no favourable responses from the ministry to the list of pending issues. According to the B.N.T.U., there has been no consultation and the ministry has simply informed them that they intended to make changes to some of the education rules through a Statutory Instrument. The B.N.T.U. says they weren’t made aware of the changes and neither did they get a response when they questioned it.  The union contends that if the amendments are issued in a S.I., it would address emergency appointments, vacation rule and signing of contracts which are issues that they have flagged before. Another vexing matter involves the one hundred and twenty hours of Continued Professional Development for teachers, who would have to renew licenses in the upcoming 2020 calendar. B.N.T.U. says that they got a commitment from M.O.E. for the requirement to be waived. The union also states that despite their efforts to press for a final draft of the review before going to Cabinet, Minister Patrick Faber made it known that he owed nothing to the union. Speaking on the matter today was Chief Education Officer, Doctor Carol Babb, who says that the ministry has no intention of entering into a dispute with the B.N.T.U.  She stated that consultations were had with the National Council for Education and National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training to elicit feedback. A commitment was made to review the draft S.I. to ensure that the intentions were properly captured. That S.I., according to Doctor Babb, is sitting on the desk of the Solicitor General.


Carol Babb

Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer

“I want to make it quite clear; Minister Faber did not write that memo. Not a word was written by Minister Faber. I want the general public to know that memo was written by all the senior managers.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Approved by Minister Faber, reviewed?”


Dr. Carol Babb

“Well he read it but Minister Faber is a true leader. He trusts us and so we responded to the concerns. All we are saying to the B.N.T.U., we don’t want to quarrel and fight with the B.N.T.U. We are saying that there are some amendments that need to be made. That proposal is at the SolGen’s office. We can’t meet with them and tell them what is going on because we don’t know ourselves.”


Hipolito Novelo

“They say that the meeting that was held in December, I believe, wasn’t a discussion or a consultation. It was a notification to the union that these changes will be made.”


Dr. Carol Babb

“We did not meet with the Union. We met with the N.C.E. and the N.C. T.V.E.T. Those are two bodies that advice the Ministry and the union has membership. So we consulted with the, we shared with them because Christmas fell on a Wednesday this year, the education rules speaks to the fact that if Christmas falls on a Wednesday then you will only be entitled to two weeks’ vacation. So the teachers insisted that they must get three weeks. We already did that but you have to amend the rule because it would be that we who should be upholding the rule we are breaking the rule.”


Hipolito Novelo

“They say that the person will not only be in charge of that hold but the entire schedule and they don’t want that.”


Dr. Carol Babb

“We have not made any decision about how the makeup time will be made. So nothing is final.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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