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Jul 5, 2019

M.O.E. Holds Back on Extending First Term 2019

Carol Babb

The Ministry of Education has decided to stave off its decision to close all primary and high schools for Christmas break on December twentieth, following a letter from the Belize National Teachers Union raising concerns about the extension of the first term.  The new academic calendar for 2019 is set to have classes continue until the Christmas Eve based on an existing clause in the Education Rules.  The unions which have enjoyed an early closure is up in arms over the extension, which the ministry asserts is simply an enforcement of the rules.


Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer

“First of all, I want to say that it’s in the education rules that if Christmas comes Wednesday or after then the holiday should actually begin on the Monday and when it actually begins on a Monday it means that teachers will actually get two weeks.  So the teachers are accustomed, it has been practiced that for many years the teachers have been getting three weeks holiday, but practice does not make it right.  So what we will have to do if we allow the teachers to have the three weeks then we are breaking our own rules.  So what we intend to do is to look at the rules and to see how we can amend it to ensure that maybe the teachers can get three weeks.”


Isani Cayetano

“There was a counterpoint that was brought up somewhere in this discussion where the union is saying that the agreement between the union and the ministry is for thirty-eight weeks of classes, of school days.  How is that measured against what this present situation is?”


Dr. Carol Babb

“Today we had a very good discussion with the union, our concern, the Ministry of Education’s concern and the general public’s concern should be that our students are getting a hundred and eighty contact days.  When we give these three weeks in December, the students will only be getting a hundred and sixty-eight days and we also have to bear in mind that there are other non-school days.”

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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