The CSEC exams have been set for July as was reported by the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber. But, the Belize Teachers Union (BNTU) is concerned for their members. Apparently, the teachers had already indicated to the Ministry of Education that they felt teachers and students would be more readily prepared for the exams in August or September. Following that exchanged the teachers’ union thought the Ministry understood and was on the same page with them. President Elena Smith stated, however, that she was blindsided by the news that it would take place in July. She expressed some of the concerns the BNTU’s members have shared with her regarding the July sitting.
Elena Smith, President, Belize National Teachers Union: “I had just asked about two or so days before asked Dr.Babb if there was any decision on CXC and her response to me was no there was none and then a day or two later a memo came out well it’s going to be in July and I was like but how come we didn’t know about this you didn’t even share it with us and say “okay we have made a decision this is the decision we are going to share it with you all.”. Two days or a day later a memo comes out and so we thought that that was – we were not working as partners in that situation. Our teachers are really right now not satisfied because they don’t feel that they would be able to meet the deadlines for the various changes. For example prior to this year they had to upload four or five samples of SBAs now they must upload every student’s SBA some of them don’t have access to maybe scanners and those sorts of things how will them not being able to meet the deadline affect their students ? Are we considering all of those little things that the teachers have to do within a certain given deadline to be able to give our students the best possible chance of passing those exams ?”
The teachers are also concerned that they were not involved or consulted before the date was set. According to them, had they been consulted on the matter, the result would have been different and students would be more prepared.
Elena Smith, President, Belize National Teachers Union: “We must understand that during this time a lot of students for whatever reason, some because they didn’t have access but some they did not see it as maybe important for them to log on to these online classes that the teachers were giving so we have heard a lot of teachers complain about absences during this time. So how is it that those students then if we are continuing with online classes and they have been absent for quite some time now a lot of them missing classes how would they be able to catch up to be able to be fully prepared for the exam ?”
The BNTU is planning to meet with the Ministry to share their concerns. Additionally, The Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) have also expressed their concerns on having the exams in July, since it was their recommendation that the exams be postponed until September.