The Ministry of Education Notes the Wide Circulation of Misleading Information Presented to Teachers in Order for Them to Make a Decision
Tuesday, January 28th, 2020
The Ministry requested and held meetings with stakeholders, including the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), and shared its intention to address the three pressing issues coming from the BNTU and Managing Authorities. The intentions shared in the called meeting with the BNTU on December 12, 2019, are as follows:
1. Adjusting the education rules that will empower the Chief Education Officer to change the vacation period. This would address those years when the holiday would be two weeks. The current rule, in place since 2000, means Christmas holidays would be two or three weeks depending on what day of the week Christmas falls as per sub-rule 132 (4), Education Rules 2000, as amended.
2. Ensuring that adequate provisions are made for Managing Authorities to quickly replace a teacher under extended emergency conditions of one month or more. This is already in effect and in policy. The intention is to change the policy to a rule.
3. Exempting teachers with full licenses who have already served beyond the two-year probationary period from having to renew contracts every five years.
The consultations were meant to elicit the feedback of major stakeholders including the National Council for Education and National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training. A commitment was made to review the draft Statutory Instrument (S.I.) to ensure that the intentions were properly captured.
An amendment to the education rules requires an S.I. signed by the Minister of Education. The Ministry suggested drafts which were shared during the meetings. There is no S.I. as yet. Any action in protest of what may be the content of the S.I. would be premature given the ongoing dialogue.
In the December meeting, there was agreement to waive the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements for the renewal of full licenses that will expire in 2020. It was also agreed that the way forward regarding CPD requirements for full licenses expiring in 2021 would be discussed subsequently.
The Ministry of Education has made it clear that teachers are deserving of the vacation periods due to them. The children are also entitled, at the very least, to 180 school days as prescribed in the regulations since 2000. Any adjustments that will be made must be balanced between our obligations to the children and the teachers. The Ministry believes that our children can achieve more with more school days and quality teaching.
For emphasis, there have been no changes in the regulations and the changes that will eventually happen will come out of ongoing constructive dialogue and will be fair and in the best interest of our primary beneficiaries.
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