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Rabain promises training for teachers

Teachers will be provided with instruction next month on a new pupil grading system, the Minister of Education announced today.

Diallo Rabian said that a “full day of professional development” would be held in January to provide teachers and administrators with “robust training” on a standards-based grading system.

He added that training “will be ongoing during the remainder of the school year and alternatives will be developed for entering grades until all teachers are proficient in using the new system”.

Mr Rabain said yesterday that teachers had refused to enter grades into an all-schools computer network.

But Shannon James, the president of the BUT, called the minister's comments “very misleading” and said teachers were “confused” on the standards-based grading system. The update on the system training was one of five provided today by Mr Rabain.

They came a day after teaching assistants across the island staged a sickout amid continued frustration at the BUT over a lack of resources and staff support at schools.

Mr James yesterday highlighted a number of union concern.

He said that many teaching assistants did not get breaks, worked without a job description, and had not been given entitlements under the collective bargaining agreement.

Mr James added: “We have education therapists with no job descriptions, we still do not have education officers for maths, English and science.

“Where there used to be nine mentor teachers, there are now three, and there are no allocated substitute teachers at primary schools.”

He said that windows and fire alarms in some schools were broken and computers lacked proper software.

Mr Rabain said that the Department of Education had begun a system-wide review of all BUT positions in August.

He said: “This is the first time BUT posts have ever been reviewed and evaluated.

“Such an undertaking is long overdue.”

Mr Rabian said that union members had participated in meetings to support the job evaluation process.

He added: “The ministry can no longer move forward in meaningful salary and employment negotiations without new and updated job descriptions for all BUT positions.”

Mr Rabian said that the Department of Education had not had nine mentor teachers “for over 10 years”.

He added that the system had operated with four mentor teachers “one of which recently resigned”.

Mr Rabain said the union was informed that the job had been advertised and that the interview process to fill the vacancy was to begin with a view to filling the gap for the start of school in January.

He said that bids from vendors had been received to repair school fire alarms and that he had been “surprised” to hear concerns about computer software.

Mr Rabain explained that all computers “were loaded with Microsoft Office Suite, which is the standard PC issue.”

He said that a system-wide audit of school computers had started.

Mr Rabain added: “Now that the public is aware of the issues within education raised by the BUT we hope that we can continue to work together to provide our children with a quality education in a safe environment.

“Through our commitment to continued collaboration, the infrastructure and the changes necessary to deliver on our promises to reform education in Bermuda will be put in place.

“The Ministry will continue to operate in good faith with the students, parents, teachers and the BUT and we will come together to accomplish what needs to be done.”

Education minister Diallo Rabain (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published December 07, 2018 at 3:11 pm (Updated December 07, 2018 at 3:39 pm)

Rabain promises training for teachers

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