There is another matter unfolding in the north that has demanded the attention of the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber. The core instructors at ITVET are unhappy being on contract and they are now demanding to be a public service worker. There are several other issues on the table for those at ITVET as we found out earlier today.
Lewis Ramos, Spokesperson, ITVET Teachers: “My name is Lewis Ramos and I am an Orange Walk ITVET computer service and repairs instructor but at this capacity I’m the spokesperson for the staff and all of our staff. The issue is we went on a sit out because of some of the concerns that our staff had and the last resort was to have an audience with the relative authorities which we had today.”
Reporter: What are some of those concerns that you’ve been having ?
Lewis Ramos, Spokesperson, ITVET Teachers: “Well among them, it’s several of them but some of them are issues regarding salaries. I would want to leave it there it is only salaries and at this point I think we are making progress. We have brought forward our concerns to the official from the ministry that came today and we had a very lengthy conversation with the person, the person I must say is very understandable of our situation, she empathizes with the situation that are going through and we have reached to a consensus and we will be waiting on further information. Tomorrow we will continue and we will see what transpires after that.”
Reporter: Continues as the site out or will you be teaching tomorrow ?
Lewis Ramos, Spokesperson, ITVET Teachers: “We will be waiting on the response of the person who had agreed to give us a response by tomorrow. The minute get the response the minute we get back into our classes. It has been a lengthy time, it has been recurrent year after year and this is the reason we had reached to this stage and so it wasn’t something that just happened yesterday or this year it has been recurring every year and I think for the record we want to make it straight that we need to stand up. In total we are sixteen teachers and at any given time all of us have been affected. The entire staff, sixteen teachers however if you look at our student population we serve 300 plus students and I think we deserve better than what we are getting. The whole issue of this is that we as the teachers of the Orange Walk ITVET and all the ITVETs across the country we are seen as contract officers and that has brought out the whole problem. So we have offered solutions, we have offered solutions to the officials and we are saying that we should be brought into the permanent teaching status and so I think withe that we will have all the problems resolved.”
Reporter: So today you had the union represented here, talk to us about her involvement.
Lewis Ramos, Spokesperson, ITVET Teachers: “Yes as an agent she came here to support us. We have asked them to come on board and yes they have supported us, they have given us guidance and I think that they will also take our cause in the list of things that they are having conversations with the deputy prime minister.”
The group at ITVET has been on a go-slow since Tuesday and today they demanded that the Minister himself show up today by one o’clock. Needless to say, that didn’t happen; but the minister did send Deputy Chief Education Officer, Cecelia Smith along with Brenda Armstrong from the Secondary Schools Supervision and Support Unit to travel north to meet with the workers. Faber added that the Belize National Teachers Union has also been invited to participate in the discussions as well as other education stakeholders.