Schools could remain closed as teachers say they are “exhausted”

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

Teachers are threatening to stay off the job until their issues are addressed suitably, saying they are withdrawing their services until their demands are met.

Hundreds of educators are staging a sit-in at Teachers Place today, insisting they need security at schools, backpay, allowances, and better working conditions

In a press statement released on Thursday, the Executive of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers said it is standing firmly with its members who have given and continue to give themselves to the education system in the face of insurmountable challenges.

“We have consistently made the necessary sacrifices to ensure the nation’s youth are given the best opportunity to thrive within a society that calls for 21st Century skills but makes 18th Century investments in education. We toil year after year, work in unsafe environments where breaches in our contractual agreements are a norm, and must wait many years before being correctly renumerated. Yet, we are constantly compared to schools and nations that do more than talk the talk

The teachers said in the statement they are exhausted and their souls lament the state of education in Antigua and Barbuda.

“Our souls lament the state of education in this twin-island nation. The haphazard approach to planning taken by managers of our system leaves much to be desired, and we can no longer ignore the consistent breaches of their responsibilities towards the teachers and students of this nation,” the statement said.

Schools were expected to reopen on Monday, one week after it was due after the Easter break but it appears that schools will remain closed even into next week, as the teachers said they will withhold their services until the demands made have been satisfactorily addressed.

“To relent is to allow mediocrity to permeate the fibers of our system as has been done in the past, and we cannot continue to operate in this manner. The Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers envisions a future where education becomes a priority. We envision a future where our politicians and technocrats move beyond lip service and, indeed seek to invest in our young people. The future of our nation is dependent on us as educators. They are looking to us to equip our students with the skills needed to take us to the next level,” the statement added.

The ABUT calls on the Ministry of Education to “swiftly and adequately address the issues on the ground”

“I call upon the Cabinet to contemplate our contract proposals and make a fair counter-proposal. I call upon our teachers to remain fortified in our quest for fair remuneration and a safe working environment,” the statement added.

The Union also asks parents and the wider society to “stand with us because a healthy and happy teacher leads to a healthy and happy system. Our students need us! We cannot let them down!”


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