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Nov 3, 2016

Ministry of Education & School Managers Cut Holidays to Restore Lost Time From Strike

Students will be spending six additional days in classrooms to make up for lost time during striking days. The Chief Education Officer, Doctor Carol Babb, says that the six days adequately covers the eleven days of strike undertaken by teachers between October third and fourteenth. That decision was taken on Wednesday between the ministry and school managers of primary schools, side-stepping the Belize National Teachers Union who was not present for the meeting. This decision by the ministry was reached after both the B.N.T.U. rejected the proposal from the Minister of Education that only five reps from its council of management should participate in a meeting to discuss the salary deductions and the adjustment to the school calendar. Doctor Babb explains how the new school calendar will look.

 

Carol Babb

Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer

“Yesterday we met with the General Managers. I think we had about 17 general managers or up to twenty I would say attended the meeting. We talked about the adjustment of the schools calendar and we are going to add six more days to the school’s calendar. So, In January school will resume for all primary schools and we will add four more days in January. We will add the third, fourth, fifth and sixth. Normally, school would be open, I think, the tenth of January. But we are starting early, earlier. Because after the New Year, students will come back to school on the third and so we will have four extra days in January. And then after school closes for Easter we will add two more days – on the tenth and the eleventh of April. So, we will add six additional days to the school calendar.”

 

Reporter

“Are you able to explain though how that actually works out, because you lost eleven days and now six, will there be longer hours?”

 

Dr. Carol Babb

“No. There will not be longer hours. We will just add six more days because normally teachers do put in extra time so we feel that it is not necessary to add eleven more days.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you are basically cutting down the Kids’ holiday time, is that correct?”

 

Dr. Carol Babb

“We are cutting down the Christmas holidays by four days and the Easter holiday by two days. As you may know some of the schools have extra classes in Easter anyway and some students go back to school earlier in January because their schools call them out so it is not a big issue for students to come out one or two days earlier, in this case it will be six days totally.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, who proposed this? Was it the Ministry or the management? How did this..?”

 

Dr. Carol Babb

“The Ministry proposed it but it was a decision made. We proposed it to the General Managers. We didn’t say this is what we want to happen. We said to them, we presented it to them and we asked them how they feel about it and there was no objection.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, it was a unanimous decision?”

 

Dr. Carol Babb

“It was a unanimous decision, right.”

 

Reporter

“And the B.N.T.U. was not consulted in anything? They were not there?”

 

Dr. Carol Babb

“The B.N.T.U. was not there. We consulted with General Managers. And we are also going to meet with the principals of secondary schools next Tuesday and their chair.”

 

Reporter

“In relation to yesterday’s meeting, were all the school managers who should have been present were they present or were some not there?”

 

Dr. Carol Babb

“There are actually about a total of twenty five school managers and we had, I would say about seventeen to twenty school managers who attended yesterday’s meeting. But we have met with them very often and that is the number that always attend. We never had a hundred percent attending meetings, so this is not a strange occurrence then.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “Ministry of Education & School Managers Cut Holidays to Restore Lost Time From Strike”

  1. carlos says:

    If ministry is cutting teachers’ holiday, will they get pay for the extra time in the class? Remember they will cut teachers’ salaries and on top they want teachers to come during their holidays to teacher. This is not clear. the ministry of education need to come clear to the teachers. On another note what is the BNTU doing. Teachers need to know before this plan of the ministry comes into play.

  2. David Acosta says:

    “Normally teachers do put in extra time so we feel that it is not necessary to add eleven more days” – Chief Education Officer, Carol Babb. Yet they will dock eleven days of salary from the Teachers. If I am to understand what she wanted to say, is that normally Teachers have worked the other five days. But they will still be docked eleven days of salary. So where is the sense of this? And this decision is not legal because the ones who are supposed to do the work were not even consulted. I believe that BNTU really needs some legal advice. Are they obliged to give up their holiday and go work? Is there any law to oblige them? Will they be paid time and a half for the holiday days that they will work? Will they be charged the same income tax as October when their emoluments will be less? And if they are charged will they receive their refund immediately? I guess the Minister in his vindictiveness has not paid thought to this. Probably it will backfire on him. And if it does then he will lay naked for all to see. Oh Patricio you might end up losing much needed credibility. Remember your friend from Belmopan is eyeing your position. Just thoughts.

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