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Sep 27, 2018

MoE Says B.N.T.U. Was Included in Re-categorizing Hardship

Dina Villafranco

The Belize National Teachers Union and the Ministry of Education are at odds again.  The B.N.T.U. says a number of its members will be disenfranchised by the “finalized” listing of re-categorised hardship schools. The list was introduced by the Ministry of Education at the start of the school year, but the B.N.T.U. says the exercise was not complete and the list was released.  Today, the Ministry of Education held a press conference at the Marion Jones Conference Room where officials broke down the numbers. The ministry says that the Joint Education Staff Relations Council has been reconvened to redefine hardship posts on the basis of seven conditions. That list was determined by representatives of the government, school managements, the Belize Association of Principals of Secondary Schools as well as reps from the B.N.T.U.  After months of meetings, at the end of August, a final list of schools, one hundred and three, were submitted to the ministry. This number was up from ninety-five schools that were on the list which was last created back in 2000, but excluded some schools that were on the previous list. Here’s how it was explained:

 

Dina Villafranco, BAPSS Rep, JESRC

“If the teachers teaching at a certain school fit the six or seven conditions, of the seven, they were in category one; category two if they suited four or five different conditions and category three, three conditions. So even if you were in category three, that means that you still had the opportunity get some addition with hardship.”

 

Cecilia Ramirez Smith

Cecilia Ramirez Smith, Deputy Chief Education Officer

“The adjustment with what was shared to that one district was made and so we moved forward with the understanding that the Joint Education Staff Relations Council has produced this set of recommendations and that is how we moved forward from that. That was in Stann Creek District, the particular one that was discussed via circulation. The ministry then saw it fit to circulate to a wider audience and so decided let us share this with all the managing authorities of the schools concerned. That was done during the month of August. The request for feedback from the managing authorities was made, I believe, in early August and towards the end of August, there was additional feedback at that point as well. And it was considered and so the ministry felt that at the end of August we were in a position to approve what the joint staff had recommended with the additional feedback that was provided by the managing authority.”

 

Deborah Domingo

Deborah Domingo, C.E.O., Ministry of Education

“We have an obligation to go back to the union to say you were part and parcel of this process. We have been in dialogue and constant communication. Why this? Because we should have that kind of relationship. And I think that we should and we must because at the end of the day, there should be some common things holding us together. And I think it is about the development of this country. It is not about added instability; it is not about pulling out a pre-packaged strike to fit some problem that has come up, but a genuine effort to address what the concerns are. And I am very interested in finding out what are the concerns because it is only in doing that that you get to address them.”

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