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Jan 8, 2019

Day 2 of Student Strike Continues at Maya Mopan Primary School

Since the end of last week, we’ve been reporting on growing tensions in the Maya Mopan Village. Parents and the Alcalde in the village say there has been a number of unresolved issues at the government school. Since Monday of this week, they have decided to keep their children at home and so only a few of the students are attending classes. The parents have called on the Ministry of Education to address the problems and on Wednesday, the ministry will visit the school. A News Five team was in the south today and stopped in to find out more about the issues. Principal Ewarth Carballo reserved comment ahead of the meeting with ministry. The villagers, on the other hand, didn’t hold back. They made several allegations against the principal and teachers. Reporter Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

This is what it looks like at the Maya Mopan Primary School in the Stann Creek District. Empty desks and chairs – with only a handful of students inside the classrooms – twenty three, to be exact, showed up for classes out of the one-hundred and sixty-three registered students. This is the second day that the students are boycotting classes. And they say it is because they want to see some issues addressed. According to the villagers, the issues date back to last year which saw one teacher removed from the school. But today they said some problems remain unresolved.

 

Raphael Cal

Raphael Cal, Resident, Maya Mopan Village

“Maya Mopan Village faces numerous challenges and issues with the principal and teachers over the past years. Time has come now that we have had enough of it. On Friday, November second 2018, seven out of the ten teachers and the principal went on strike. Only three teachers showed up and opened their classrooms. The rest didn’t show up and we don’t know why.”

 

One problem they had was when classes start in the morning – it was eventually worked out and classes resumed at 8:30 instead of 8. But, today, over forty parents showed up to say they are in favor of the boycott. They outlined some of their concerns which they say have fallen on deaf ears.

 

Raphael Cal

“Now that the time has changed, the teachers spite the students if they are on campus and the students are a little early they would be locked up in their classrooms and open the classrooms until eight-thirty. We are very much concerned about our children. They would have to stand up in sun and wait. Our students have now become victims and are constantly being bullied by the teachers.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“When you say the teachers are leaving early in the evening – how early are we talking? An hour or so?”

 

Eusebio Choc

Eusebio Choc, PTA Councilor, Maya Mopan Gov’t School

“Well, in my mind, there has to be fifteen minutes before all the kids go home. But these times when they are leaving at three o’clock sometimes they shut the schools at three-thirty; fifteen to three.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Are there any issues within the classrooms that you guys – that the students are facing?”

 

Eusebio Choc

“Well, honestly, right now some of the parents are complaining that some of their children are being abused. Especially some of the parents who are behind this move – their kids are punished. They put them outside to stand up in the sun.”

 

Parents say that their children will not be attending classes for the rest of the week. They have called for a meeting with the Ministry of Education because they want the matters settled before the students got back to school.

 

Raphael Cal

“From Monday to Friday whole of this week until the following Monday. So they will not be in school all of this week.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you are taking this stand because you want the Ministry to address these issues?”

 

Raphael Cal

“Yes. That is why we are here to get these addressed.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And if these issues are not addressed – do you guys plan to extend this strike?”

 

Raphael Cal

“Yes, we will continue to strike because if we don’t strike and let it go like that it will just done like that.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“To keep them at home for an entire week – that is an entire week of not doing their school lessons. Don’t you think this will hurt your children more than help them?”

 

Raphael Cal

“I don’t think so because the children are seeing what is being done to them in the classes.”

 

The Ministry of Education has committed to a meeting for Wednesday. Principal Ewarth Carballo of the Maya Mopan Government School says he is aware of villagers concerns he hopes that tomorrow’s meeting will see the matters addressed. He says he just wants to see the children back in the classrooms. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

The Maya Mopan Government School has one hundred and ninety-nine registered students; one hundred and sixty-three attend the primary school, while thirty-three attend the pre-school, but only twenty-three students showed up to classes today.


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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