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Peace move

Trevor Yearwood

Peace move

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Teachers are not going to disrupt the start of the new school term at Alexandra School.The Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) gave this assurance yesterday after lengthy talks with Minister of Education and Human Resource Development Ronald Jones about problems at the school.BSTU president Mary Redman told the DAILY NATION it was in response to commitments Jones gave in addressing concerns of the staff.The union had threatened to carry out some form of protest at the St Peter school if a number of complaints, including the docking of pay “in bad taste”, were not fully dealt with by the start of new term in September. Redman said the union had four hours of “cordial, productive” talks yesterday with Jones and other senior Ministry of Education officials at the ministry’s Dame Elsie Payne Complex in Bridgetown, agreeing on a number of issues.“Given all the above, and everything else being equal, BSTU has agreed to an orderly start of the new school year,” she reported.“We were pleased with the level of seriousness and commitment that the minister brought to the talks and we look forward to more of the same.”According to Redman, the Ministry of Education has agreed to “a full institutional inspection” for Alexandra School, looking at weaknesses as well as strengths.Redman said the union had made the suggestion at an earlier meeting, the idea being for the authorities to scrutinise all elements of the school, including the pedagogy, leadership and finances.She reported too that Government instructions in a letter to the school to dock the pay of teachers who went on strike in January will be put on hold until the completion of pay negotiations between the union and the Government.Negotiations“This means for us in the BSTU we can now continue our negotiations with ministry officials,” she noted. “That letter had brought us to an impasse.”“Both the Ministry of Education and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union recognise the need to hastily resolve all the outstanding issues, and to this end we have committed ourselves to the resolution of all the outstanding issues during the next two to four weeks,” she added.The two sides were said to have agreed on the need to speedily implement decisions reached at earlier meetings but left hanging.BSTU, Jones and senior ministry officials are to have a follow-up meeting next week.