The strike that thousands of teachers participated in spanned eleven days. So for eleven days, most students were out of the classrooms and the curriculum was disrupted. The Ministry of Education made a proposal for six days to be added to the school calendar during Christmas and Easter vacations. This proposal was accepted by the schools’ managing authorities. However, the Belize National Teachers Union is not having it. What the BNTU wants to have is its complete holidays as shared by President, Luke Palacio.
“The education rules are clear, the education rules say that the teachers of this country should be on vacation for the Christmas period, Easter period and in the month of July so again for the Minister and his Chief Education Officer to try and force our teachers to go to school on those days when they should be on holiday we are saying that they should be on holiday and unless they can come with some justification as it relates to that matter our teachers are looking at that very seriously because we are entitled to our holidays and we will make every effort to ensure that we take those days because it is by law, it s not a decision arbitrarily made by any Minister or Chief Education Officer.”
“How else would time be made up? I don’t know if the BNTU ever looked at how the time would be recovered given that the teachers have said they were willing to make up the time?”
“They were not given an opportunity to explain that to their managements, their managements were hoodwinked, their managements in fact went hand in hand with the government, we can say that deliberately because when you look at the rule they have courted rule 131 sub-rule 4 I think it is it says the Chief Education Officer may on the recommendation of managements decide whether they will extend the school year, they called those people into a meeting, gave them instructions, said to them this is how you are going to make up this time that again we believe has continued to be the attempt of the Ministry and Minister to try and punish the teachers. We say it again we did nothing wrong when we demonstrated, we did nothing wrong when we went on strike we did everything for this country and we are prepared to continue to do so based on the support that we get from our people and we must always remember this country belongs to all of us and whatever good we can do now we must do it because otherwise we can lose what we have already gained over these years.”