The Ministry of Education held a press conference this morning to discuss key policy objectives in the education and training sector that will be affecting teachers with provisional teaching license across Belize. The ministry has requested that all teachers with provisional license, further their studies and apply for a full teacher’s license since their new implementation will not allow for renewal of provisional licenses. A mandatory special permit has been introduced for applications, this will run up until Match 15. This permit will be only issued if the applicant who has a provisional license but will continue studies. Minister of Education Patrick Faber spoke about the statutory Instrument that was signed in 2012 that had already enforced the same regulations being implemented today.
“In accordance with the education and training act of 2010 the Education Amendment Rules Statutory Instrument #87 of 2012 made amendments to the education rules of 2000 to provide for the functions of the Belize Teaching Service Commission and to enforce the standards set by the Ministry for entry into teaching to assure the quality and status of the Belize Teaching Service and the quality and delivery of education and to enforce all regulations for the administration of the teaching service as it relates to employment, appointment, transfer, discipline and termination of teachers in government and government aided pre primary, primary, secondary, tertiary and TVET students.”
Faber says that the ministry has been lenient long enough with those teachers that have not applied for a full teacher’s license.
“We also conducted a teacher license audit in order to determine the status of the licensing of teachers since the education rules of 2000 and to signal the requirement of all teachers to be appropriately licensed. What are we saying there? Yes we started in 2000 and all kinds of things happened, some had licenses some didn’t some had the wrong one, some had licenses that were not signed. Everything that could have gone wrong with the licensing went wrong but especially the fact that the Ministry did not insist on clamping down when the five years expired in 2005 or in 2010 or in the years in between; nothing was done.”
Faber spoke about teachers that hold a provisional license such as study leave and retirees.
“Those teachers who are on study leave and your provisional license will expire in the time that you are on study leave you should apply for the special permit as well. Why because if you don’t hold some kind of license or permit legally you can’t be hired and so you can’t be paid and I’m sure you want to collect if you are a teacher in that position. Lastly those applicants who will retire in 2018 the committee thought that we should give some relief to those persons who will retire shortly within two years. When we say retire we mean 55. So if you are already past the age of 55 and you are stretching your retirement years this does not apply to you. Those teachers who have passed the age of 55 in other words and who are employed now with the provisional license will need to leave the system.”
President of Belize National Teacher’s Union, Luke Palacio says that they are also on board and that the union has informed their members tirelessly to apply for a full teacher’s license.
“We have been keeping our teachers up to date in terms of reminding them at all our meetings that we hold, we’ve said to them to remember if they have provisional licenses that the rules are clear that after five years you must get the necessary training to upgrade your license from a provisional license to a full license. They are aware. We ensure that we sit on different committees, be it with Ministry or with management so that again we can mitigate what has transpired here. We keep on talking to our teachers about continuous professional development, it forms part of our theme in some of our conventions in the past where we are inviting to our teachers to get the professional development and that BNTU is not going to be here to defend persons who just decide that they will pay their $20 and get away with things and that the union will defend them. That is not our position, we are a professional organization, we will always defend the rights of our members as long as those rights are being violated.”
When issued a special permit to continue studies, the permit will not exceed three years. As mention the special permit will only be granted to those who fit the criteria.