Hazel Durand reports on the site of Caribisch Netwerk that the Board of the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) has hired five new teachers. It still lacks a new teacher for Dutch. This says Wingrove Baker, one of the parents who was able to participate last night in a meeting with the SCS school board.
In April the school board fired four teachers and the director. Subsequently they got in a difficult position when two other teachers resigned in solidarity. However it was not until June that the Board started looking for a replacements.
As all new teachers come from abroad, all immigration papers must be finalized before the end of the summer holidays on August 18. Meanwhile the Second Chamber announced that from October 15 they will investigate the issues related to continuity of teachers Saba.
The meeting of the parents and the Board had already been postponed twice It started with protests, because the press and the dismissed teachers were not allowed as observers. Some angry parents left, leaving only ten parents attending the meeting.
It was the first time since the dismissal of the teachers and the director of the school that the Board met with parents. Some of the parents had compiled a list of 22 urgent questions. They wanted clarity about the objectives of the school in the short and long term. They would prefer that the statutes of the school board be adjusted. They also asked for adequate recruitment of new teachers in order to prevent the same crisis next year.
“Parents seek representation in the school board,” says Baker. “In this we succeeded: two parents will be nominated for the board. These persons will be nominated in the second week of the new school year. “According to Baker, the parents also rejected that two of the present board members are working for the Island Council as they consider this as a a conflict of interest.
The statutes of the school, which are valid since the Netherlands Antilles, give the board the full right to choose new board members, including themselves. The person who are currently in the Board have been in office for two years. Therefore, the parents want change of the guard.
SCS has often started the school year with a lack of teachers, but this is the first time that the year starts with a shortage of six school teachers. The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) has six made available million dollars for hiring and retaining teachers in the BES islands. In 2016, all schools in the BES islands should meet the basic quality of Netherlands.
Commissioner of Education Chris Johnson participated in the meeting. Johnson indicated at an earlier stage that he was not in a position to interfere in the crisis because “ all aspects of education fall under the responsibility of the central government government and the firing and hiring of teaching staff is the responsibility of the school board.” The school board is supported by OCW. A representative of OCW was also present but did not want to comment.