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Dec 11, 2009

Education Act Amended to with Teaching Services Commission

Story PictureThe amendment to the Education Act that would pass powers to a Teacher’s Commission went through its first reading in the House today. It has been a highly contentious amendment and it sparked emotions from the Belize National Teachers Union (B.N.T.U.) and the church, which felt that its authority was being eroded. The town meetings and consultations only highlighted divisions in the B.N.T.U. and its northern branches as well as the rift within the various churches. There were no sparks flying today when Education Minister Patrick Faber introduced the bill since further amendments can be expected the House Committee. The minister was also quite proud of himself because it is the first bill he has brought before the house.

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
“This bill provides for the following: one, the incorporation of the National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, NCT-VET under the Education act, thus unifying the Education Act with the Technical and Vocational Training act; two, the elimination of corporal punishment and promotion of alternative, positive forms of discipline in schools; thirdly, legislative framework for the establishment of the Belize Board of Teacher Education; establishment of a Teaching Services Commission for Belize; establishment of an appeals tribunal for the Teaching Services Commission and for matters arising there from. The draft Education and Training Bill proposes to establish a Belize Teaching Services Commission. This commission shall be an independent body, comprising of representatives from various sectors in the education system. The commission will have the broad functions to ensure compliance with the standards set by the ministry for entry into teaching to assure the quality and status of the Belize teaching force and the quality of the delivery of education and all regulations governing the conditions of service of teachers with respect to employment, appointment, transfer, discipline and termination of teachers in government and government aided, primary and pre-primary, secondary, tertiary and T-VET institutions subject to the provisions of sections nineteen and twenty-one of this act. The specific powers and functions are detailed at section seventeen of the bill. In effect, the commission will assume some of the functions of the Chief Education Officer as it relates to the administration of the employment and the conditions of service of teachers that prove onerous and hinder of focus on policy development and implementation at the Ministry of Education. The commission will be supported by a secretariat, which will be a strengthened version of the general school services of the Ministry of Education. the commission shall also be balanced by an appeals tribunal, which shall have the power to confirm or set aside decisions relating to disciplinary actions or transfer of teachers by the commission and disciplinary actions taken by the commission against managing authorities.”


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