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Nov 8, 2016

Ministry of Education To Go Ahead with Deductions and Projected Make-Up Time for Classes

Patrick Faber

The Ministry of Education has finalized an agreement with managing authorities for teachers to make up time lost as a result of recent industrial action.  That decision was met without input from the Belize National Teachers Union which refused to meet with Minister of Education Patrick Faber on his terms.  Earlier today, the ministry sat down to iron out a schedule for additional school days to be added to the academic calendar in January and April of next year.  The amendment, according to Faber, falls within government’s purview to have the requisite hundred and eighty-day school year fulfilled.  While teachers will experience a deduction in salaries heading into the Christmas Season, students will be required to return to their classrooms sooner than expected.  That’s because classes resume on the third of January, as opposed to the ninth.  Sessions in the upcoming semester will also extend two days into the Easter Break.  That decision was made formal today in a press brief held by the Deputy Prime Minister.

 

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“As was promised that was the second leg of the consultations that we were doing, to put forward a proposal to amend the school’s calendar. We kinda see it as unfortunate that the information was leaked out as something that was already decided, because as I said and in fact the Chair of the General Managers Association, Misses Domingo, when she was interviewed last week, did mention that that was just the first phase of the consultation. That was for pre-primary and primary schools. And so today we held the consultations with the secondary school board chairs and the BAPSS, the secondary school principals. And the decision coming out of that meeting was unanimous…well not unanimous, sorry. It is forty secondary schools supporting the ministry’s proposal to add six days. There was one vote against the proposal and one abstention. So, again that proposal is to have the school’s calendar year be amended to include six calendar days which will be four in January, from the third to the sixth. On the initial school’s calendar, schools would have reopened after the Christmas break on Monday, the ninth of January and with this amendment, it will now reconvene on the third, which is a Tuesday. And we would then get Tuesday, the third, to Friday, the sixth, which is four days. And then we would add on two additional days at the start of the Easter break which will be the first two days, Monday and Tuesday, the tenth and eleventh of April. For reference, this is the Monday and Tuesday before Good Friday. The following week will still be a break. Easter Monday leads us into that week as people may remember and of course that is the week when the B.N.T.U. normally holds its convention so we thought that would not be a good week to add on days. The idea is that we would receive eleven full days, sorry six full days that would recover from the time that’s lost. But while it is this is a recovery time, it is being pushed as an amendment to the school’s calendar, a change to the school’s calendar which the ministry maintains it has all rights to do when it is that there is for some reason or the other a fall below the threshold of a hundred and eighty days which is required by law.”

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