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Bishop Martin Situation A Problem for MoE

Bishop Martin Situation A Problem for MoE
May 11
08:23 2019

Classes are back to normal at Bishop Martin High School in Orange Walk Town after they were interrupted two months ago when four of its teachers were sent home. The problem was that the teachers were working but there were no records of their employment and that rendered their employment illegal.

The teachers were re-hired after they went through the proper procedures and their particulars were placed on the records at the school’s administration office and at the Ministry of Education. But now, sorting out their benefits that they would have earned but officially didn’t because of their illegal employment, is something that the Ministry is sorting out. The situation puts the Ministry in a complicated position, Minister of Education, Patrick Faber told reporters last week when we brought up the issue to him.

“When the principal made the hiring of those teachers that was not in line with the Teaching Services Commission’s Policy and the wider hiring practices of teachers in general, they put everybody in a predicament. Those teachers in terms of their benefits down the road, all of those years of service – some four, five years – is what is in consideration,” Faber shared. “And then to fix that kind of thing, it would take some kind of back-peddling or some kind of breaking of the very same rules that existed in order to accommodate those teachers. And that to me is where the matter becomes ticklish because there is, from what I understand, serious blame to be put on the shoulder of the principal who did not follow procedure.”

The Minister said the Ministry is looking out for the best interest of the teachers without trying to set a negative precedence of things to come.

The teachers were sent home for about a month while they were processed legally. Suzannie Cajun, who is a member of the school board had told the Reporter after the reinstatement of the first two that the Teaching Services Commission, which is the governing body that decides the fate of teachers, was giving the four teachers priority to fill the posts they had to vacate. She also said that school board would have some input on how a way forward on the teachers’ benefits. She indicated that the new Board discovered that the old school board had apparently erred by not recording the teachers’ employment.

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