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Aug 17, 2020

UB’s Unionized Faculty Members; “No Formal Teaching of Courses” for Opening of School!

Classes resumed at the University of Belize this morning, but from all indications, it appears there was a poor turnout.  When we visited the main campus in Belmopan, it didn’t look like the opening of the academic school year, but more like a ghost town.  Over a hundred faculty members of the U.B. Faculty and Staff Union didn’t commence formal teaching today.  As we’ve been reporting, the U.B.F.S.U. called on the Board of Trustees to delay the opening of school until September seventh because of a number of issues; primarily, they didn’t believe the university was ready for the online transition on the moodle platform and also that up to a few days ago, lecturers were being given workloads for the semester for which they have no time to prepare.  And so, the U.B.F.S.U. says that more than ninety-percent of their members are not ready. Well, it appears that the U.B.F.S.U. may have been on to something because early this morning, the online platform crashed and many students were not able to access the platform. Today, we spoke with members of the union about this decision.


Pio Saqui

Dr. Pio Saqui, President, U.B.F.S.U.

“One is that we feel that the transition from face to face modality to online modality is very difficult to do at the moment. The teachers, a lot of them have only taught face to face and now they are being forced and careened into online modality which is a very different way of teaching. Not only does it require immense amount of time to prepare but it also requires proper infrastructure to do so. Simply put , that was then coupled with the issue that the cause of the unsettled proposals and measures still pending by the administration, course assignments are still not clear and were still being assigned and I got a message as late as one fifteen on Saturday with my last course assignment to start teach today.”


Timothy Dami

Timothy Dami, Faculty Member (U.B.F.S.U.), UB PG Campus

“The University has been trying to move online for the last several semesters. 2019 was the first wide scale semester that we did an online delivery of most of the Associate level general course. In that semester, fifty-eight point seven percent of the students either did not complete the courses or failed the courses. So, there are many issues to be worked out because no changes have been made to the moodle delivery since that time. Last semester I believed one of the interviews I saw with the President and Vice President they made notice who did not fail the courses but that is because students were given the option to drop out of those courses up to one week towards the end of the course with no financial penalty. So, every lecturer basically convinced the students who had failing grades to leave the course and be able to take it again for no cost in the next semester. So, it is important that we need time to be able to get these classes up to give the students quality education.”

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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