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Nov 10, 2022

P.M. Briceño to B.N.T.U.: Teachers’ Early Return to School is Non-Negotiable

The Government of Belize is standing firm on its decision to have teachers and students return to the classroom only four days after Hurricane Lisa made landfall. Prime Minister John Briceño explains that Cabinet took the decision in consideration of the time that students lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Belize National Teachers Union (B.N.T.U.) has taken issue with this early return to the classroom, what has been decided is non-negotiable says Prime Minister Briceño. Here is what he told us on this matter during an appearance on Open Your Eyes this morning, when asked about the tension between B.N.T.U. and the Ministry of Education.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“I don’t think there is any issue with B.N.T.U. and the ministry. What is going on is that it is the Ministry of Education that makes the assessment. They go out and make the assessment, the different school managements would come to the Ministry of Education and say these are my buildings that got affected and the Ministry of Education would go and take another look. Minister Fonseca explained to us in Cabinet that his priority and it is a priority that our government agrees, that we need to get our children back to school immediately. I know some teachers were talking about wanting another week off and we said absolutely not, you have to go back to the school. We need to get our children back to school that is why we said we are going to open schools on Monday. But, obviously if there is a classroom that was damaged and the children can’t go in their then we have to make adjustments. I am sorry I used Belize High School that is a private school, but I got some pictures where they are teaching their children under the shed and any little corner where they could teach them. It is so important. Our kids have lost almost a year and a half because of COVID. So, we have to get them back to school. Now is teacher, whose house was badly damaged and has to stay home to try to do some kind of work to get back, obviously we will allow that. But, we have been saying teachers need to go back to school. That is nonnegotiable. I wish some of the leaders in the B.N.T.U. would understand that. This is not politics. This is about getting our children back to school. We are working within he different managements and there are giving us reports and we have to see how best we can assist them, because most of these managements do not have the necessary finance to be able to fix their schools.

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