Teachers angered at fee increase
Bermuda’s public school teachers will have to purchase a $250 licence in order to work on the Island next year.
The fee was previously paid for by Government teachers were recently informed by the Bermuda Educators Council (BEC) that they would now have to incur the full cost, payable every two years. Bermuda Union of Teachers secretary Mike Charles said yesterday: “We find that the licencing fees are a bit exorbitant since the Bermuda Educators’ Council do nothing but give out a plastic card.
“When we look at nurses, they pay like $25, $30 for their licences to the Nursing Council. It’s only things like architects who make more money that pay higher fees. For what teachers get paid, and what they get for their money, $250 for two years is high.”
The union fully agrees that teachers should be licensed, he added. All teachers working on the Island require a licence. In order to earn a two-year licence, teachers are expected to submit 40 hours of professional development and pay a fee.
BEC chairperson Tina Outerbridge recently sent teachers a letter informing them the fee would now come out of their own pocket. It reads in part: “While under the previous Minister your fees were paid, that will no longer be the case under this new administration.
“It was never the intention of Government to continue paying for educators’ fees, and this Ministry has taken the position of rectifying what should have been the position after the Council was set up and running. The Council was informed back in May 2011 that the licensing fees previously paid by the Ministry of Education have been withdrawn effective immediately.”
The Ministry of Education did not respond to a request for comment by press time last night.
The licensing period for teachers who want to work from September 1, 2012, to August 31, 2014 begins in August.
Licensing fees were first announced in 2008, Mr Charles said. At that time the fee was $100 for two years, however the cost rose to $250 last year.
He said the lower sum was understandable but described the higher rate as “exorbitant”.
“When they initially announced the licensing fees at $100, we didn’t know that Government was going to pay it,” Mr Charles said. “At $100, I don’t think the teachers mind. We at the union were originally the ones who wanted licensing, but now it’s starting to feel that it is coming back to bite us.”