Misdirected Protest Print
( 0 Votes )
Written by Shane D. Williams   
Friday, 25 October 2013 00:00

Hon. Patrick FaberCarlos Galvez, operative of Mike Espat, led a group of students in protest through the streets of Punta Gorda Town on Monday, October 21st, to express their frustration at the incomplete education they have been receiving in the last six weeks. According to Galvez, when parents showed up to the school last week to collect midterm reports they saw that their third and fourth form science students had no grades for Physics and Chemistry. They then learnt that there had been no teacher available for those subjects since the school year started. Mr. Abdullah Adebara, Nigerian national, had been the teacher and Head of the Science Department in recent years. However, he has had problems renewing his passport. Therefore, the Teaching Services Commission has not granted him a teaching license.

Galvez’s protest through the streets of Punta Gorda Town ended in front of the District Education Center. According to residents, most of his chants were directed at the Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber. Minister Faber says that his protest is “misguided”. He agrees that it is inexcusable for the students to have been without a science teacher all this time and expressed his disappointment at the school’s management. Faber said on Wave Radio’s “Fus Ting da Mawnin” on Tuesday, October 22nd, “There is no reason why there shouldn’t have been a science teacher for those students when the school has a complete science department.” He explains, as a former high school administrator, that there should be plans in place in case a teacher is unavailable. He explained further that the Minister does not grant teaching licenses; that is the job of the Teaching Services Commission. There are criteria to qualify for a teaching license that applicants must meet. The most basic criterion is the applicant must be a Belizean or have proper immigration status. Thus, Mr. Abdullah has failed to qualify for a teaching license from the Teaching Services Commission.

Abdullah Adebara’s inability to get a teaching license is no reason for CXC students to not have a science teacher. The principal of the school should have assigned another teacher to the classes as a short term solution. The school board should have then applied to the Teaching Services Commission to hire a part time teacher to take the classes left vacant by Adebara’s absence. Then, if Adebara eventually fails to get his immigration status addressed, the school board should find a permanent replacement.

Carlos Galvez should not play politics with the student’s education. There are plenty of measures they should have explored before taking the students out of school to go call out the Minister through the streets. Where their protest ended, the District Education Center, is where their concerns should have first been registered. It is irrational to take the students out of school because they have not been receiving Chemistry and Physics lessons. Now they won’t be receiving any lessons. How does that benefit them?