The Antigua & Barbuda Union of Teachers (A&BUT) has challenged the plan by the local education authorities, to lengthen the operation hours for public schools.
Speaking on OBSERVER AM, yesterday, Vernest Mack, president of the union said, ?It has no significant benefits for the teachers or for the system on a whole. What the Ministry of Education should be doing is to enhance what is in place. Provide training, additional training and online training for teachers and principals, so that they can inspire their teachers.?
Mack added that there were things that needed to be looked into before [they] looked into- things [considered] as non-issues such as the lengthening of the school day.
The teachers union head said, ?Structures need to be put in place such as substitute teachers which [are] critical at this particular time. A number of teachers raised concerns that they are presently without furniture and they have floating classes in the secondary school, classes that have no room, stationary that they can be in everyday, no furniture to sit on,? Mack said.
?I was shocked to hear that while we were having CXC in this country, that children were sitting on stools. Stools are also their tables during CXC and that was a shocker for me and I am sure it was for other officers for they have never heard of that,? she added.
When asked about the union executive?s views on the benefits of lengthening the school day for teachers, Mack said, ?What will an extension of the school day do for the teachers? There is no plan, no structure. As a matter of fact, there is no adequate rationale. Even the Ministry of Education has researched that there are no significant benefits to the system to extend the school hours,? Mack added.
Mack said that the Ministry of Education has been kept abreast of the challenges being encountered concerning the need for substitutes teachers.
Mack added, ?It?s something that we keep bringing up and it is something that keeps getting tabled and we are tired.?
Teachers? opinion on universal secondary, as well as the secretariat?s way forward was among other issues discussed at the A&BUT?s Annual General Meeting.