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BNTU expresses concerns over shortened holiday for teachers

The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) has written to the Ministry of Education expressing its concerns over changes made to the academic calendar for government and government-aided pre and primary schools.  The changes indicate a shortened Christmas break for teachers and students which will see classes closing on December 20, 2019 and reopening on January 6, 2020.  President of the BNTU, Senator Elena Smith wrote to the Chief Education Officer, Dr Carol Babb expressing concerns over four main points coming out of an agreement dated in 1986.  In that agreement, the school year was reduced from forty to thirty-eight weeks.  Love News noted that in the agreement it is stated that the Christmas vacation period shall begin on the Monday before Christmas unless the holiday falls on a day earlier than Wednesday.  It seems the Ministry of Education is within rights on this point as Christmas will fall on a Wednesday.  Smith, says, however that precedence has been set in previous years where Christmas was on a Wednesday.  It is also stated in the agreement that alternative divisions of the school year such as by semesters, may be allowed by the Chief Education Officer, providing that the total number of school days amount to no less than 180 days.  Smith told Love News that she did a follow up to her letter sent on Saturday, June 29 and was told that a response will be forwarded by tomorrow from the Ministry of Education.