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Dec 22, 2005

B.N.T.U. leaders say ministry not addressing their needs

Story PictureToday, the Belize National Teacher’s Union held a press conference to voice a number of concerns the union says it has been calling on the Ministry of Education to address, without much success. However, the B.N.T.U. did acknowledge in a press release that it recently wrote to the Minister of Education Francis Fonseca requesting an urgent meeting and that he suggested both parties meet on January fifth, 2006. But B.N.T.U. responded saying quote “This we cannot and will not agree to, as these matters are urgent and many of our teachers are presently suffering and being victimized, included by the ministry itself” end quote. But judging from the turnout at the press conference today, it appears not too many teachers are concerned, or consider the issues as urgent as their leaders. That very poor attendance, however, did not deter B.N.T.U. Secretary George Frazer from commenting on what he calls lack of communication by the Ministry of Education. Frazer also addressed concerns over the administration of Escuela Secondaria Technica Mexico, a government vocational and technical high school in the Corozal District.

George Frazer, Secretary, BNTU
?The union has an agreement with the ministry that we meet on a regular basis every quarter, every three months just to review where we are, any problems and concerns in the system, but obviously since the strike and the blood letting, relations have not been all the best. We have always been open because we have always been open because we believe in dialogue, we believe in representing the interest of our teachers, and of course want to see our education system move up. But as I said, many time we have not been able to get through to the senior people at the ministry. Almost every time they deh inna some meeting and they will not accept any calls. You want to leave a message, we leave message for them to call back and most time if we do get an answer it is after so many calls that we have to make to find out what?s happening.?

?Escuela Mexico was established in January 1983, that?s twenty-two years ago. And up to last year March when we went, it had seven different principals, some of them serving more than one tenure. So there was a list of ten principals, but two of them served more than two different terms. So that?s giving you an idea of some of the problems. So many changes in principals and administration…up to last year when we had gone there the school didn?t even have a mission or a mission statement. Teachers were not signed on by contracts, a lot of things were not happening there. And it?s a government high school, so many things…and what we found there, that the board, like in many of the high schools, is overloaded with political appointees.?

?Teachers have written to complain of harassment on the job, the principal and at time vice principal disrespecting them.?

?Out of that thirty teachers, no less than eleven of them have resigned or ask for transfers and the list continues.?

Other matters of concerns include Excelsior Junior High, social security and government’s freeze of increments. Frazer says the B.N.T.U. will remain committed and not rest until what they perceive to be violations and abuses stop.

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