Belize National Teachers Union Meets with Education Minister to Address Salary Concerns and Mandatory Working Hours
The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) and Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca, met at the ITVET this morning to hash out some pending matters. As was announced earlier this week, by the union, they are concerned over outstanding increments owed to teachers, as well as additional working hours that are being made mandatory by some of the secondary schools. After the closed door meeting this morning, Minister Fonseca spoke with the media, clarifying that there was some misinformation, among other things.
Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “We had a good discussion about that and we made it very clear that the Ministry has not mandated any additional thirty minutes of teaching. So there’s no mandate. What we’ve said from the very beginning is we’ve introduced a new curriculum framework we think is very transformational. It’s competency based, project based so that requires a new culture in our education system and requires flexibility and so where schools want to introduce additional time we made it clear they are free to do that in consultation with their teachers and in discussing and some teachers are enthusiastic about the new curriculum. They want to engage in projects and other things outside of the classroom which will require some additional time and if they want to do that I think we should all encourage them to do that and I think the BNTU understands and supports that but the bottom line is there is no mandate for any additional classroom time.”
As with all union matters, the input from the membership is crucial in decision making. According to the BNTU President, Jorge Mejia, he will be taking the details of today’s discussion to its members on Monday.
Jorge Mejia, Acting President, BNTU: “We always have an open communication with the ministry and we will continue to collaborate with any stakeholder and we’re always open to dialogue with any stakeholder that our members have issues and we will continue in that fashion. I want to share that we had a very informative and respectful meeting. We had timelines and we had slight agreements that we need to go back now to our membership to see if they’re satisfied with what the outcome of today’s meeting and then from there on we will inform you all respectfully on what would be our next step. We need to go back to our membership, inform them if they’re satisfied or not satisfied then we will see what we will do next. We’re having membership meetings on Monday across the country so by Monday we would know how we would proceed.”