Unease still at Alexandra
NEXT WEEK WILL SEE THE RETURN to the classrooms of the majority of the nation’s school population after the annual Easter break, and for what for many of them will be a most important period that will heavily influence the rest of their lives.
For many it would not have been a “full break” since they would have used the Easter holiday to intensify preparations for the Common Entrance Examination and the Caribbean Examination Council’s (CXC) tests with which they will have to contend in the coming weeks.
Understandably, these heightened study activities would have generated higher levels of stress among the students, teachers and even parents, guardians and families of those involved, therefore requiring greater tolerance and level-headedness among all concerned in the future if the period is to be put to the most productive use for teaching and learning.
It is for this reason and others there is concern that nothing should be done to further raise the level of tension, which, as a matter of course, naturally rises across the country during the period that precedes these examinations in an island that traditionally holds academic excellence in the highest regard.
That is why much notice is being taken of the most outstanding educational issue currently engaging the attention of the public and which it is widely felt that, if left unresolved, can only aggravate the unsatisfactory conditions it engenders. That issue is the protracted crisis at Alexandra School involving the school’s principal and a large number of teachers.
For far too many weeks now people both at the school and in the country at large have been awaiting signs that the grave state of affairs at the institution were on the mend, particularly in light of the declaration by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart that other phases were to follow in keeping with the deal he had brokered with the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) in order to get its members to end their strike at Alexandra.
In the meantime, while BSTU president Mary Redman has publicly expressed continued belief in Stuart’s commitment that other phases in the settlement are to follow, Chief Education Officer Laurie King has disavowed any knowledge of “phases”, and principal Jeff Broomes still has not been “separated” in keeping with the non-negotiable demand of the BSTU.
All of this has meant that the environment at the school has continued to fester, with there being continued hostility between its management and teachers. The crucial matter of getting the students fully ready after class time lost as a result of the strike should clearly be the only obsession of participants for the betterment of the pupils, who matter most.
The country can only hope that concern with individual and or institutional face-saving will in no way trigger anything that would contribute to further unease. As a matter of fact, the great hope is for a major turnaround.