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Aug 23, 2021

Teacher Shorter Work Week Still Not Finalized

Elena Smith

When public servants and teachers underwent the ten percent salary cut, one concession was that working hours would be cut by five hours weekly. Public officers now work fewer hours, but the change has yet to be finalized for teachers.  President Smith says the union has communicated with the Ministry of Education that teachers have agreed to work four days a week, but she says M.O.E.’s response has not been forthcoming. 


Senator Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“We met with the Ministry and we were discussing how that could work out. Our concern was how we can do that without impacting our children, especially seeing what has happened for the last school year. So, that was our concern, despite what other were saying, we were concerned about our students and how that would affect them. To make long story short, we ended up deciding we would then take Fridays off. We did a survey. The first survey we did in house. And, our teachers, we had three options, because the Ministry came around a table with us and there were three suggestions, and three of those suggestions, we had already discussed those as B.N.T.U.  We sent out those three options and the teachers selected. They elected Monday to Thursday and they get the Friday off.  Now, let me explain what Friday off means. It means that the teachers would not be physically speaking, but that your children will be given work and they have to do those work on the Friday. So, it is like you are still working on the whole week, but you don’t have to present yourself in your class or online. You can do whatever else you need to do, that would be up to you. We sent that to the C.E.O. and informed her of our decision. The Minister went on air and made that pronouncement, that it would be a four days work week. It seems right now that the Ministry seems to be waiting to hear from BAPSS [Belize Association of Principals of Secondary Schools] to finalize a decision. And, that should not be. BAPSS doesn’t make decision for teachers. And we keep saying that to the Ministry and they refuse to understand that.”

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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