September 24, 2020

Barbados: Teachers cry out


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BY: JENIQUE BELGRAVE From Barbados Advocate

Barbadian teachers are teetering under the heavy workload being set by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

This was the resounding cry of those educators gathered at the Ellerslie Secondary School yesterday for the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union’s (BSTU) special meeting to speak to parents and other members of the public on the School Based Assessments (SBAs) issue.

The group of around 15 spoke on having to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to ensure that students completed the syllabi set by the Caribbean Examinations Council in the allocated time.

Noting that the CXC demanded teachers to complete six 35-minute classroom sessions on each subject weekly, one highlighted that often the school schedule only allowed for three to four of these sessions per week, which meant that the others had to be made up during breaks, after school and in vacation.

In addition, others expressed the fact that with all of the subjects now requiring SBAs from first form to sixth form, they were bogged down with around 30 of these assessments per class per level to help students draft and complete the work and then were required to mark and input the information to CXC’s site, alongside having to complete other course work and exam work.

“The minister is out there making us look like money hounds, but the load that teachers and students have to deal with is just too much,” said one senior language teacher.

“We are asking teachers for the impossible. I literally have had it. A line in the sand must be drawn. It is not just about the money as the public likes to believe. The amount of work being required by both students and teachers is staggering,” a home economics teacher argued.

One art teacher, who also taught textiles pointed out that six SBAs per student were required in the first subject, and three in the other.

“And I teach both the Junior school and the Seniors, and that has nothing to do with my normal course work load,” she explained to the nods of her colleagues, while questioning the deafening silence from parents on the amount of work their children were being asked to do at secondary school level.

Dismissing claims by one ministry official that no one teacher taught classes at all levels, several of the educators indicated that technical teachers especially did so.

Insisting that it was a structural problem that had to be addressed, BSTU President Mary-Ann Redman pointed out that teachers in other Caribbean islands did not have such heavy workloads as they did not have the full gamut of CSEC exams to do as did their Barbadian counterparts. (JMB)

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IMAGE: Caribbean National Weekly

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