- The following statement was issued by OBA MP Cole Simons, Shadow Minister of Education
If the Minister had listened to, and fully engaged with, our principals teachers, parents and the BUT in the first instance, the challenges we are currently seeing in education could have been avoided.
All those stakeholder, as well as the OBA, have been calling for better communications, dialogue and support for months and the lesson here is that the Minister cannot bulldoze things through without proper dialogue and support as well as resources to make things work.
The colosal blow back which came at the end of last year took the Minister, and the Ministry’s, breath away and hence they had to reset the dial, which they are now striving to do.
Now that there has at last been some dialogue te Minister must continue to engage with all education stakeholders, more frequently and I would urge him to hold quarterly meetings between the Ministry, principals and teacher representatives as they are the ones who are well equipped to provide valuable input from the front lines that will improve the quality of decisions made by the Minister and the Ministry.
It has gone somewhat unnoticed, but we should commend the steering committee, which crafted the road map for the re-implementation of the Standards Based Grading system, for getting things back on track in a positive manner. This template should be used in the future when planning and deciding to roll out major initiatives which impact the delivery of education in Bermuda.
As for report cards, it is totally unacceptable that they still are not available. The parents and students are in the dark in regards to our students’ achievements during the Fall term of 2018. Why could we not use the exiting report card system until the new standard based grading system is effectively implemented and up and running?
Lastly, things still remain unwell with our Principals, as they are still are working to rule according to the Minister. I would invite him to provide an itemized update on where things stand with regards to addressing the excessive workload, security and resource issues which continue to provide professional anxiety for our principals.