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Education Ministry Throws Book at Teachers

The tension is getting thicker between the Belize National Teachers Union and the Government of Belize. The teachers have planned a demonstration for Monday but the Ministry of Education is not having it. Late this evening the Ministry fired off a release in which it assures the public including the teachers and students that the Managing Authorities will quote, “take necessary measures to ensure that schools and institutions are kept open for classes and to ensure that there is safety for students and teachers present at a school or institution during the industrial action planned by the Belize National Teachers’ Union” end of quote. The Ministry clarifies that classes have not been canceled and that school buses will run their normal schedules on Monday. The Ministry cites several rules contained in the Education and Training Act which governs education generally and the employment, management and discipline of teachers. According to the ACT, if a labor disputes leads to industrial action, teachers who participate in such action may not be paid for the day or portion of the day they strike on. According to the Ministry, the Act also states the teachers who will not participate in the strike should report to classes as per normal. The managing authority of the school will keep record on who attended school on Monday. Principals of the schools are advised that they do not have the authority to inform the student body that there will be no classes on Monday. Any principal who does so, without prior approval, would be committing an offence and be liable to appropriate disciplinary action. The Ministry of Education believes that the BNTU’s decision to strike on Monday is unreasonable and in bad faith.