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Feb 5, 2020

Patrick Faber Explains Need for 180 Contact Days

Patrick Faber

Amending the Education Rules to reflect particular changes that are favorable to teachers across the country was a contentious issue for the Belize National Teachers Union.  Prior to Tuesday’s marathon session with the Ministry of Education, the B.N.T.U. openly voiced its frustration, saying that it will no longer be disrespected by the ministry where negotiations are concerned.  Both parties were at a logjam over the number of contact days that teachers must have with students, the issue of continued professional development, as well as the hiring of teachers under emergency circumstances.  In speaking with the media following the meeting, Minister of Education Patrick Faber explained the idea behind the number of days necessary for teachers to be in the classroom.


Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“We need to find the hundred and eighty contact days.  We ended up saying that to see if that is the case we will refer the matter to the joint staff, joint education staff council which is made up of representative bodies that are actively involved and they will determine if indeed, because of those five days we will fall short of the hundred and eighty days and if that is the case then we will discuss how the time will be made up.  If when we do the checking of the days we see that there is a hundred and seventy-nine days for instance, then only one day needs to be made up.  And if we are over the hundred and eighty days then those days can well be given, we don’t have a difficulty with that.  We pointed out that there may well be differences in circumstances at different levels and of course at different schools and so the joint staff will be tasked with working out all of those details.  So again, in short, the decision is for us to throw away the amendment and for this current school year, try to work out, if needs be, those five days to recover.  If not, then or whatever part of the five days we need to recover we will seek to recover that in consultation with the B.N.T.U. and other stakeholders.”

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