Lovell celebrates teachers’ management of COVID challenges, but regrets that they have had no contract for five years

The United Progressive Party (UPP) and its Political Leader, Harold Lovell, celebrated teachers across Antigua and Barbuda today, Wednesday, October 5, World Teachers’ Day 2022.

In his 2022 Teachers’ Day message, the Political Leader says the Party is aware of the very difficult times teachers have been facing since the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced them to cope with an unprecedented disruption to the education system.

“Our teachers were given little guidance on how to proceed; yet many found the motivation and grace to provide remote instruction, turning to each other for support and knowledge exchange,” Lovell says,

Accordingly, he says the Nation is grateful for their courage and extraordinary efforts in the most challenging of circumstances.

While recognising the sterling contributions they have made at every level – early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary –

Lovell notes that teachers have been without a contract since 2017, which, he says, is unacceptable.

As a former teacher, himself, Lovell says the empowerment of teachers will be a top priority of the UPP Administration. He says the Party is committed to ensuring that teachers are adequately compensated and will ensure they are not made to work without a valid contract.

Meanwhile, in a world where human capital has become increasingly valuable, Lovell says that learning methods are being driven more and more by digital solutions.  Hence, it is critical that the Ministry of Education invest in education technology. 

This does not simply mean providing eBooks or computers in classrooms, the Political Leader says.  Rather, “it is about equipping teachers with the technology tools to deliver better learning solutions for every child… .”

Lovell became an advocate for Antigua and Barbuda’s teachers during his early career as an educator and served as General Secretary of their Union.

Therefore, he says, he has firsthand experience of the struggles they face, particularly young teachers who are just getting started in the profession. 

“Poor classroom facilities, acute shortage of teachers, inadequate resources, and limited incentives or benefits: These are just some of the challenges facing teachers today,” he acknowledges. 

In paying tribute, the UPP Political Leader expresses gratitude to all teachers – current, retired and deceased – for their invaluable contributions, hard work, and efforts to mould young minds and build this country.