In today’s press conference with the head of the Belize National Teachers Union, Luke Palacio, he spoke of the schools’ curriculum and the importance that the union will be placing in having other subjects incorporated. The Belize/Guatemala issue is one of those subjects among others.
“We will be trying to get all sides to agree that it is time that this matter be taught in our schools. We are hoping that if at any time soon we can is to get the primary school curriculum to be revised to what it used to be in the past where you had instead of Social Studies covering all of those areas and aspects of our lives, that we go back to teaching the civics of Belize, history of Belize and the geography of Belize. Because unless our people understand and realize what our country is, how it is made up, how it is governed and all sort of things we might have some difficulty in trying to get people to understand the need to stand up and defend this country.”
Palacio went on to say that the institutions need to begin capitalizing on the existence of historians in Belize and focusing on imparting knowledge to the students. He also spoke on the importance of other subjects he deems crucial for the students.
“Basically there are historians, persons who are knowledgeable and it is time for us to start to respect and make use of the knowledge that those individuals have in trying to carve out where we go. For instance why we are insisting that we need to come back to teaching the geography of Belize for instance which was a separate subject in our primary schools some years ago is simply because where you would have spoken to somebody much older and at that time we didn’t have the technology we have today and particularly I could recall at the time of a hurricane and the radio would be announcing that this hurricane is at such a latitude and longitude the older persons would be able to tell you exactly where that hurricane is. Today I guarantee that we cannot, our younger people would not be able to do that unless they are seeing it on the tv. We had the civics which taught us how we were governed. There are people who still believe that our Ministers are elected but we elect area representatives and then the Prime Minister appoints the minister so I think things like those I believe we can start to get our Belizean people and in our school system to get that clearly articulated and then of course in terms of the Belize Guatemala issue we are hearing for instance that the 1859 treaty that Guatemala does not recognize it but Ambassador Shoman is saying that it is still there so things like those we need to try and ensure that this activity we are launching on Friday will help to give us that united front, will help to give us that drive that together we will try and address these issues.”
“We keep hearing from our teachers that the children are asking the question and they don’t feel comfortable responding to them simply because there is not that plan in place, there is not the information for them to give to the students and so we find this very important for us as educators to take the lead on.”
Palacio says that the union will lobby for these changes in the schools’ curriculum as part of their campaign.