MOE seeks to motivate unqualified teachers
Saturday, May 28th, 2016
In February 2016, the Ministry of Education (MOE) implemented new standards that has affected a large sector of both primary, and secondary school teachers’ countrywide. MOE’s announcement was geared at teachers who did not have the necessary qualifications to teach in Belize, with hopes to strengthen the education system by pressuring teachers to become better qualified to educate the country’s youth. As the following academic year approaches, up to a thousand teachers are at risk of losing their job if they do not meet the requisites to obtain a full teaching license.
Minister of Education, Honorable Patrick Faber states that only about 40% of primary school teachers and 31% of secondary school teachers are actually qualified to be educators. The Education Act Chapter 36 of the Laws of Belize Revised Edition 2000, states that primary school teachers should be trained to at least an Associate level, while secondary school teachers would need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a specific subject/field with background in pedagogical skills. Faber explained that once a teacher’s provisional license expires, they will be in violation of section 29 (9) of the Education and Training Act 2010, and cannot be legally employed by the ministry. This policy will apply to both public and private schools.
According to San Pedro Education Officer Nelma Jones, the MOE has made exceptions in the past for teachers who did not have all the necessary qualifications. “The ministry made a special provision for teachers to apply for a special license for those who have at least 70% of their education completed in their professional degree,” said Jones.
Since San Pedro does not have a higher education institution, the MOE has noticed a high percentage of teachers on the island who do not meet the requirements. “Because San Pedro is a hardship area, plenty of the teachers are not qualified with a professional degree. However, it will be more likely that they will be given a provision for a special license and be asked to ensure that they qualify themselves in two years before their license expires,” said Jones.
As Mayor Daniel Guerrero is putting a priority on education, and he hopes that each teacher in San Pedro becomes qualified under the standards set by the MOE. “I’d like to acknowledge and encourage teachers to continue doing good. If there is any teacher that needs to further their education, and if there is any way we can help, we are willing to help. Education is an excellent investment; it is what moves a municipality, a town, a city, a country,” said Mayor Guerrero.
The MOE congratulates teachers who are undergoing the process of getting educated, and encourages other teachers to meet their qualifications if they are not met. Those with the provisional license are reminded, and expected, to have the necessary qualifications to obtain a full license.
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