The new school year begins next week for secondary schools and by September primary school students will be back in their new classrooms. Now, while parents are ensuring all is ready for their children, teachers also go through their own preparations. One of the biggest, particularly in primary schools, is ensuring that their classrooms are properly arranged. This means that teachers are tasked to have everything in order. And if you are a teacher, you would know that teachers are constantly asked to ensure that their classrooms are furnished with stimulating visual aids to assist with learning. That however comes at a cost and almost always, that cost is incurred by the teachers year after year. It is not surprising that teachers have repeatedly expressed concern over the matter and so we asked the Minister of Education Patrick Faber about the issue in an interview last week.
Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber:
“You are right in terms of providing those visual aids and multimedia aids now because we are moving in the direction of technology has been left on the teacher’s primarily but the government does what it can do. Remember we are in a partnership with other stakeholders, the government’s main commitments is to meet the salaries of the teachers and the minute that commitment is not lived up to you know because the teachers start calling the talk shows and saying they don’t get their pay on time. As far as I’m aware and in direct answer to your question as well, the Ministry of Education and the government provides a small contribution to each of the managements that have schools in Belize and it’s a very minimal thing. I don’t want anybody to think that it’s grand but my understanding is that while this is given for charts and chalk and other materials that the teacher might use in the classroom. Some managements don’t pass it on to the teachers because of course they are also in a struggle to try to keep things going but if we are to be honest that is a contribution that the government makes in order to help out in cases like that. I also want to use the opportunity to implore the business community, if a teacher comes to you, we have many business places that are successful and if it is that you can help a teacher to fix up the classroom to provide a fan or paint this is where the community effort comes in. There might be parents who are willing and able to give a little more and to help teachers in this fight so I want to encourage that kind of support for our teachers and I do know that it is a time where they feel the financial pinch indeed.”