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Apr 27, 2000

Teachers Union meets in Belize City

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If you accept the proposition that “a school is a building with the future inside” then the biggest single influence on that future is the quality of our teachers. Today the body that represents the bulk of Belize’s educators met at the Belize Biltmore Plaza.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Approximately 600 teachers from across the country are attending the 13th Annual Convention of the Belize National Teachers Union. The convention, which is the highest authority of the Union, is being held under the Theme: Let Education Reform Continue.

George Frazer, Administrative Secretary, BNTU

“Education is a very dynamic thing. Things change, knowledge increases everyday and the way we do things. Some of the old teaching methods, the curriculum, the subjects we use to teach, and the way we use to teach them. So yes there is a need for reform. To look at where we are, what has worked and what hasn’t worked and what hasn’t worked and to see how we can improve these and let it trickle down to the children and improve our educational system.”

The meeting provided a forum where the teachers could look at the problems affecting them.

George Frazer

“Concerns that teachers have which might relate to their profession, to the union, to the education system or even national issues right because as teachers we feel like we need to also make an input and let our opinions and voices be heard.”

One formula the educators say has not worked is having 30 students per teacher. The teachers say they would like to see that number reduced to 20 pupils for Infant One to Standard Two and 25 pupils per teacher for Standard Three to Standard Six.

Teacher addressing gathering

“Making sure that this is implemented that teachers are not abused and that children on the other hand benefit. That was my concern.”

Other resolutions that were made included a commuting allowance for secondary school teachers, that the National Health Plan is explained to teachers and that the BNTU has a role in the consultation process. It was also decided that a Youth Arm of the BNTU also be formed. This was mandated by the union’s regional and international affiliates and was agreed to by the BNTU.

The two-day convention opened on Wednesday.

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