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Ministry changes to ‘fatally wound’ BPTSA

The Bermuda Parent Teacher Student Association claims the Ministry of Education wants to “fatally wound” it with planned changes to the education system.

Harry Matthie, the association's chairman, said the ministry intended to turn the BPTSA and other Parent Teacher Associations into “puppet bodies” of the ministry.

The ministry, he claims, refuses to be accountable and wants “unfettered control over the future of our children”.

The BPTSA is taking action in the Civil Court to block ministry plans to transfer teachers and principals, implement school closures and consolidations, and enact new parent council rules.

Mr Matthie claims parents were not properly consulted.

In a statement to The Royal Gazette, he said: “To settle the issue of consultation, years ago the BPTSA presented the ministry with a proposed consultation process, which it has ignored.

“The latest of the ministry's efforts to deny parents meaningful involvement in the public education system include the enactment of the Education Amendment Act 2015 and the rules concerning parent councils.

“These enactments appear to have been designed to splinter PTAs and fatally wound the BPTSA, and then spin those vibrant parental organisations off into puppet bodies of the ministry itself.

“The BPTSA believes these efforts have been undertaken for one reason: so that the ministry can maintain a status quo, where they are accountable to no one, and where they have unfettered control over the future of our children.

“That status quo is a recipe for failure. No parent concerned with the wellbeing of their children and this Island's future can stand back and allow it to remain.”

The hearing opened on Tuesday with representations from the BPTSA's lawyer, Eugene Johnston.

No one from the ministry attended, with a spokeswoman telling this newspaper: “The Ministry of Education was not legally required to attend the ex parte hearing.”

Public schools are due to reopen on September 8.

Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman gave Mr Johnston leave to seek the judicial review on Tuesday. The case continues.

• It is The Royal Gazette's policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

Harry Matthie (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 27, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated August 27, 2015 at 9:10 am)

Ministry changes to ‘fatally wound’ BPTSA

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