G.O.B. Rewards Loyal Teachers with Easter ‘Come-Up’
The Ministry of Education effectively conceded in its arbitration wrangle with the Belize National Teachers’ Union that it could not arbitrarily set the dates for making up of class time lost to the strike carried out by the B.N.T.U. in October, as it tried to do at the end of the Christmas break. It was ultimately agreed that the six established make-up days would be taken from the first three days originally assigned to Easter break and the start of the summer break. But some teachers did show up at schools in January despite having no classes, as well as in October during the strike, and the Government has agreed to share out a million-dollar pot to thank them for their service. Minister of Education Patrick Faber explains.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
“As I’ve always said to those who advocated for us to simply pay the teachers that were on strike, it is not as easy as doing that. There were those teachers who diligently went to work throughout the eleven days of the strike and of course there were those who went in January when the Ministry along with the managing authorities of schools agreed on those days – the six days, if you’ll remember; that were make-up days – the third, fourth, fifth and sixth of January were supposed to be the first four of the make-up days and of course you know the history of that. And so while it is we cannot pay compensation fully for those teachers who attended school on those days, we thought that it would be important to give some kind of honorarium to those teachers; and so in consultation with the Prime Minister, we have agreed to set aside one million dollars that will be divided among those teachers as a small honorarium. We are in the process now of bringing together the figures that show those teachers; the managements are submitting those and once we know those numbers we will divide the million dollars among those teachers and we will try to make a payment to them, and we are hoping that this can be done before the Easter break comes fully; so hopefully this week we can get those figures. I think they are already in – we’re just now crunching them and putting them through the system, and we will be able tell you exactly what dollar figure, and it is going to be monies that they get in their account, so to speak, because it will go well for Easter, we think, for many who are looking forward to some kind of compensation for those days.”