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Feb 3, 2016

1300 Teachers May Lose Their Jobs

For years, the issue of the teachers training has been on the drawing board at the Ministry of Education. According to recent figures, only about forty percent of primary school teachers are trained at the associate level while in secondary schools only thirty-one percent have the required training. The ministry thus embarked on a program to equip teachers with pedagogical skills which have now become a requisite for their licensing to teach this coming academic year. But that means that over a thousand teachers will not be returning to the classrooms. News Five’s Duane Moody has a report on a conference by the Ministry of Education. 

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Many teachers in the classroom are not licensed to practice the profession. And today, at an education press conference held at the Biltmore Plaza, the Ministry of Education announced that over one thousand three hundred teachers from primary and secondary institutions are expected to lose their jobs because they did not complete education training. Back in 2008, the ministry notified teachers of the need for them to obtain certification in pedagogy. According to Minister of Education Patrick Faber it is part of the policy of the ministry to strengthen the education system.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“We invested in teacher education and professional development. We provided financial incentives for teachers to acquire professional qualifications. In our second term in 2012, we pledged to continue that work that we started back in 2008 and we continued to the following among others. Continuing the drive to train and certify all principals and vice principals in school leadership; constantly reviewing teacher education programs to meet and exceed new national standards. The Education Act chapter thirty-six of the laws of Belize revised edition 2000 provided for the governance of the education sector, including the licensing of teachers. So it is sixteen years ago. In accordance with this act, the education rules statutory instrument number ninety-two of 2000 provides for the regulation of the education sector, including the requirements for a license to teacher.”

 

So what is the Belize National Teachers Union doing to mitigate the inevitable; that is for its teachers to meet the training obligations or be removed from the teaching system? According to National President Luke Palacio, teachers have been constantly reminded that provisional licenses would have expired.

 

Luke Palacio

Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U.

“We don’t want the public nor our members who are teachers to say that the union has done nothing for them; that the union is throwing them out in the cold because they’ve been told. We keep on talking to our teachers about continuous professional development. It forms part of our theme in some of our conventions in the past where we are insisting on our teachers—you need to get the professional development and that B.N.T.U. is not going to be here to defend persons who just decide I pay mi twenty dollars a month or mi eighteen dollars a month and I can get away with whatever and the union will defend us.”

 

Faber also announced that between now and March fifteenth, teachers whose provisional licenses will expire on June 2017, will be able to apply to an Advisory Committee for a special permit for a period not exceeding three years for them to acquire pedagogical training.

 

Patrick Faber

“It was not until recent times that significant progress had been made in increasing the percentage of trained teachers in our schools. The percentage or trained teachers in 2008/2009 at the pre-primary level was at eleven point nine percent. At the primary level in that same school year was forty-two point five percent and at the secondary level, the percentage of trained teachers was twenty-nine point seven percent. By 2014/2015, the number at pre-primary had risen to thirty-one point eight percent; the number at primary, sixty-seven point six percent and the number at secondary, to thirty-nine point six percent.”

 

But what about those who are nearing retirement and have given decades of service in the teaching profession? Palacio says that recommendations have been made for those who qualify to get benefits.

 

Luke Palacio

“In some of the recommendations that have been made, the B.N.T.U. was very instrumental in ensuring that all our teachers who would be affected would not be affected negatively in its totality. For instance, we insisted that persons who qualify for service benefit that even if they don’t have or even if their license would expire that they would be given their service benefit. We were concerned about persons nearing their retirement and don’t want to go back to school or would find it very difficult given the circumstances to go back to school. So we were able to get agreement in the recommendations that persons who would retire in the next two years, will be granted the special permit that we are talking about. In terms of areas where there is very limited or non-existent opportunities for these teachers to get trained to get the necessary qualifications that they too would have to be given considerations.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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5 Responses for “1300 Teachers May Lose Their Jobs”

  1. Timber says:

    Let me tell you, Faber and the Belizean public, having a teacher’s certificate doesn’t make you a teacher. You all keep following the “Yankee” system which, I’ve first hand experience, that has never worked. It’s so funny, because I had a discussion with someone today about the educational system in the US. Ever since the past president Bush implemented this “pay for pass” program in the US, the educational system has gotten even worst. I predict the same for Belize. As the child of one of the most renown educators in the country of Belize and having taught myself, try that mess and see if you can lay off these teachers. I’ve dealt with people in Belize who have gone to that “waste of time” UB and even gotten degrees from the US and they still can’t speak nor write proper English. I’ve commented on SJC before because it’s dear to my heart and its current president is a perfect example. She can’t speak nor write proper English nor grammar and I’ve kept saying that SJC Junior College is losing its luster. How about improving and employing people in the classroom who actually want to become teachers, instead of it being just a paycheque. How about improving or welfare system, so that impoverished families can get the proper educational help, instead of Boots Anthony Martinez writing cheques to John Pollard, Moody, Bishop and the likes of them and we all know it’s a fraud and a kickback. How about improving and educating our Human Services Department, instead of having unscrupulous people working there who have to dodge lenders, loan sharks, sweethearts, etc. I digress.

  2. Primary Thief, Ali BaBarrow says:

    In Patty Faber’s administration education is a luxury for the rich and a shadow for poor-fools.

    We are at the bottom in the Caribbean. Let’s bottom feed for the world have the worst.

  3. Primary Thief, Ali BaBarrow says:

    Let’s not forget. Un-educated is what keeps us in power. Less teachers gets us there now.

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    I can’t believe that this story says that 1300 are expected to loose their jobs!! This is a clear example of how a play on words changes the meaning of the story. 1300 teachers are in the category but given the permits that will be issued, only a fraction of those 1300 MAY not retain their jobs!!!!!

  5. Marb says:

    Minister Faber,
    Keep firm your word. I do believe it is ridiculous that a person that studied Tourism be found in a classroom teaching. Come on! Not because we are a Third world country we will not try to improve, especially in the area of Education. Another thing I would very much like to add is: SPANISH in VILLAGE SCHOOLS is a terrible issue. Teachers teaching in Spanish when Belize is an English Speaking Country. How can these Students be molded to excel on their Language Arts or Composition Writing PSE, when their is no foundation? I appeal to the Ministry of Education to please make time to Supervise these Schools on a regular basis! Thank You!!!!!

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