Ministry works throughout Weekend, yet O.W. Teachers stay Home Print E-mail
( 2 Votes )
Written by Shane D. Willaims   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 00:00

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and SportsWorking parents of students attending Catholic schools in the Orange Walk District had to make emergency arrangements to ensure the safety of their children on Monday, September 30th, since teachers chose not to attend classes.

Teachers’ salaries are usually in their bank accounts by the last Friday of the month. On Friday, September, 27th, teachers took time off from school to do transactions at the bank but all catholic school teachers and a few others discovered that their salaries had not been deposited. Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, was informed of the situation while he was at the House of Representatives meeting. He immediately contacted Ministry officials in order to investigate the problem and fix it as quick as possible.

The management team of the Ministry of Education went to work immediately. They contacted the Treasury Department for answers about the delay. Minister Faber explained that the Treasury Department did not process the salary for the Catholic Public Schools (CPS) because the management did not get authorization from the Teaching Services Commission to reinstate teachers from study leave to active duty. Teachers on study leave receive eighty percent of their salaries. As the new school year started in September, there were a number of teachers returning to full duty and the salaries would have to be adjusted to one hundred percent. However, management must first receive approval from the Commission to reinstate those teachers to active duty. This was not done and the payroll was forwarded to the Ministry of Education. The Ministry did not notice the error and forwarded the payroll to the Treasury Department. Minister Faber said at a press briefing on Monday, September 30th, “In terms of blame, I think it needs to be shared. The management (for not getting approval from the Commission), our ministry (for not picking up the error) and also to an extent the Treasury because my understanding from the people who work in my ministry is that when this omission occurred in the past the Treasury would process the salaries by paying the eighty percent to those who were on study leave and rectify it later.”

The Ministry of Education and the Catholic Public Schools issued a joint release late Friday, September 27th, apologizing to the teachers that were affected by the glitch and assured them that their salaries would be processed as early as possible. Another joint release was issued on Sunday evening, September 29th, apologizing once more for the inconvenience and informing teachers that “they will be receiving their salaries on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Rural school teachers are allowed the day on Tuesday to collect pay and transact business. Teachers from urban schools will have Tuesday afternoon to collect pay and transact business.” Minister Faber also called the national radio and television morning talk shows to apologize for the error and assured teachers that their salaries were being processed. Despite CPS and the Ministry’s efforts, catholic school teachers from the Orange Walk District and at least one school in Belmopan decided not to attend school on Monday. Minister Faber was very disappointed with their action and reminded them that their actions only hurt the students.