Ministry of Education on Unpaid Teachers No person shall be employed as a teacher who does not have a valid licence to teach.’ Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 20 October 2011 00:00

On Tuesday, October 18, the Ministry of Education and Youth issued a press release on the unfortunate situation whereby some teachers have not received salaries for September. The release stated that representatives of the Teaching Service Commission travelled across the country of Belize from June 7 to June 15, 2011 to meet with school managements and inform them of the requirements for the employment of teachers. The release pointed to specific requirements which have been in the Education Act since 2000 that states, “No person shall be employed as a teacher who does not have a valid licence to teach” and “no person shall be granted a licence who has been convicted of a felony of a nature indicating unsuitability for the teaching profession.”

The Ministry claims that the main reasons some teachers have not been paid is because “school managements submitted incomplete documentation to the Teaching Services Commission (TSC) or did not submit any documentation at all”.  In many instances the persons did not have licences to teach. Many applications for such licences were submitted without required police records. According to the Ministry, the TSC met six (6) times from late July to September but could not approve employment of individuals with incomplete documentation and could not approve the employment of persons who had no applications submitted on their behalf. Furthermore, the TSC and Ministry were not even informed about some of the individuals that were teaching until the individuals did not get paid in September. The Ministry sees this as no fault of the teachers themselves and “are working diligently along with the TSC, the school managements concerned, and the Ministry of Finance/Treasury Department to resolve the situation”.

The Ministry stands firmly behind the TSC’s attempts to ensure compliance with the law and policies set by the Ministry. The TSC’s mission is to “provide and effect a mechanism within which standards and regulations governing the quality and conditions of service of teachers will be managed with transparency, impartiality, and efficiency to ensure school effectiveness and promote public confidence in the education system.” The Ministry states that the TSC has exposed long standing deficiencies in the education system. It has been more than ten years since teachers have been required to obtain teaching licences before being employed and “it has been common place for this requirement to be flaunted.” Furthermore, the TSC’s efforts have revealed cases where an applicant’s police record calls into question the applicant’s suitability for the teaching profession. The Ministry said this is troubling because “persons have been found to utilize schools to prey upon children”.

The Ministry closed its release by saying:
“However, it must be pointed out that this situation has served to expose significant deficiencies in our system and signals the urgency for all to do their part to address these deficiencies and in particular to make submissions to the TSC on a timely basis. It cannot be overemphasized that if we are to safeguard the interests of all concerned, most importantly our children, and restore public confidence in the education system all involved must commit to doing their part and be held accountable for so doing.”