PHILIPSBURG–Representatives of the School Bus Drivers Association outlined their concerns to Education Minister Jorien Wuite during her first meeting with the Association on Tuesday.
“I considered the meeting fruitful, as we were able to have an open and honest dialogue, which is important, as we are all aware of the complexities of the relationship between the Ministry and the Association,” Wuite told reporters on Wednesday.
“A number of concerns were brought forward by the Association that ranged from complaints regarding fair treatment and transparency among all drivers, lack of communication between the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs, the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications and the Association and issues related to operating on the French side, amongst others.”
Wuite said that as Minister she recognises the importance of establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with the Association. “In that light, I have requested a series of meetings to be held in the coming weeks where we could further dive into their concerns, a group at a time, and collaborate on solutions,” she said.
“In securing the continuous safety of our schoolchildren, I recognise the critical role that the bus drivers play. In addition to this, I also envision that with proper planning and structure we can incorporate the drivers even more into our educational system by increasing the number of hours spent learning outside of the classroom.”
She said trips to cultural sites and sports facilities, nature excursions, etc., should be incorporated more into syllabuses, but cannot be properly executed without school bus drivers.
“As our meetings continue and more concrete agreements are identified, I will of course keep the general public informed via the media,” she said