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Feb 8, 2016

No Apologies for Loss of Teacher Jobs

Patrick Faber

Education rules to come on stream in the new academic year will likely lead to the loss of jobs of about a thousand three hundred primary and high school teachers.  But the Ministry of Education isn’t apologizing because teachers have had as much as sixteen years to get trained and licensed and still yet a significant number of them have failed to so do.  Since 2000, the Ministry says teachers were advised to get the required training. A decade later in 2010, the Ministry of Education amended the Education and Training Act to regularize the education system, making it mandatory for teachers to acquire pedagogical training to remain in the classrooms. At the time, along with the Belize National Teacher Union and other stakeholders, the ministry issued a five-year provisional license, which now expires. Those teachers who did not proceed to obtain the requisite training now risk losing their jobs. The Minister of Education, Patrick Faber explains.

 

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“We have quite a few teachers who have licenses that don’t have a job. So that’s not an accurate number or appropriate way to look at it. But we have at the primary level about five hundred plus teachers who have a provisional license that we expect will expire within this time period that we are looking at. And then at the secondary level, we are looking at eight hundred plus. So we’re looking at thirteen, fourteen hundred teachers who will be in this position where their provisional license will expire. Now does that mean that all of them will not meet the mark? No, as you saw on Saturday William, one hundred and ninety-six of those very same teachers—because a number of them are in service already—a point that I always make to people at graduation. They say all these people are graduating, well what are they going to do about jobs. Well you saw that the bulk of the graduating class from UB were from the college of education and in fact, many of them already have a job. So those numbers, a hundred of ninety-six or so, will help us to lower the number of those whose provisional license will expire. And of course that’s just one of our teacher training institutions. There are many others that are graduating on an annual basis. A good number of them will meet the bar and then again you know that last week, we signed into effect a special permit for those who are not quite there but are on their way or are close to retirement to get that special permit. So we expect that a good number of persons who are in this situation will be able to continue working and will be able to send the right message, which is what we want to do, but not jeopardizing too many people in terms of job loss. Even those persons who will lose their jobs as a result of this can’t make bad without honestly saying that they were given an opportunity. I think those cases would be rare or they would be lying of course. So while they still pray for leniency, they are of course admitting that it was a choice that they made by and large to not go and get that professional development.”

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