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Teachers' Union Not Keen On Ministry's Ideas

Daily Nation, Monday 3 July 2000

Some teachers are describing initiatives taken by the Ministry of Education as "white elephants" and "educationally unsound".

At a meeting at Springer Memorial School recently, members of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) cited what they saw as several flaws in some initiatives.

President of the BUT, Undene Whittaker, said: "There is the idea of the constructivist class room where the child is at centre stage. Whereas we do not have a difficulty recognising the importance of the child in the classroom, there has to be training for constructivism in the school."

However, she said, while Barbados was taking up this concept, research had shown that it had been rejected in America after it had proven to be problematic.

Whittaker also spoke about the Edu-Tech programme, saying "schools have been responding to the training given but also we understand that training too has been suspended. We do not know why or how".

She indicated that the training was necessary and the alleged sudden cessation was causing some concern.

The BUT head said there needed to be scientific means of accessing concepts and programmes to see if they were failing, needed modifying, or if they were succeeding.

She maintained that the practitioners needed to be included in the planning process in order to provide better education.

"We are not only concerned with the now in education, because education has far reaching effects. What happens now, the spin-off, will be seen years from now.

"No one seems to recognise that we need to negotiate and look at the best solution to the situation," she said.