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NEPOTISM galore at Sacred Heart College – Is this the cause of poor staff morale and declining quality of education?

Posted: Monday, May 29, 2023. 10:52 am CST.

Тhе vіеwѕ ехрrеѕѕеd іn this аrtісlе аrе those оf the author аnd nоt nесеѕѕаrіlу those оf Вrеаkіng Веlіzе Nеwѕ.

Contributed by Jose Luis: Dear Editor, I kindly request space to express some concerns regarding Sacred Heart College (SHC), my Alma Mater located in San Ignacio Town. In the 1990’s and 2000’s, SHC was widely regarded as one of the top high schools in the country producing students of excellence, many of whom went on to be open scholars. While some may have differing opinions on this matter, it is not the primary focus of this letter. I write to draw attention to the perceived declining quality of education at SHC over the past 8 years, coinciding with the appointment of a new President/Principal. The factors contributing to this perceived decline are complex and encompass the following issues:

SHC’s administration has become excessively top-heavy. The current President has appointed her family members and relatives of board members to key positions within the school, accompanied by generous perks and salaries. It is important to note that my concerns are not personal but stem from an observation of inefficient leadership. The prevalence of nepotism at SHC is noteworthy, with several unnecessary positions created solely to accommodate these individuals, and sets a bad precedence for publicly funded educational institutions in the country. Here are some examples of new positions created for relatives:

1. The President’s brother who alleges to be an engineer, holds the position of engineer at the school. SHC is the only secondary school in the country that has an engineer position, and this position was created especially for the President’s brother. In addition, it is alleged that he has a very high salary, receives unlimited fuel, phone, and food stipends.

2. The Campus Ministry now employs two full-time workers to oversee tasks such as planning Friday Mass and attending class retreats on Tuesdays.

3. The Board chairman’s son was hired as a school counselor, allegedly, without proper approval from the ministry. Despite this, the school covers his full salary. Notably, the school rarely provides funding for teachers’ study leave, yet the counselor is currently on paid study leave.

4. Another board member’s daughter was appointed to a created position in the accounts department, leading to an unusually high staff count of five members. Such a high number of accounts staff is unprecedented for a secondary or tertiary institution in Belize.

5. SHC already has a school secretary and an administrative secretary assigned to assist the President with her responsibilities. However, the President’s niece was hired as a third secretary, reporting directly to the President. Despite rarely being present at work, she receives a monthly salary for a part-time position.

6. The accountant’s husband was employed as a technical assistant at the Junior College.

7. A new position was created for the past chairman’s son, who occasionally works as an assistant in the accounts office and at the cafeteria. He is the President’s nephew.

8. The school cafeteria is currently managed by the spouse of another board member.

9. The President’s husband was recently hired to teach at the Junior College. Furthermore, the past Chairman of the board, who happens to be the President’s brother-in-law, served for six years. During that time, his wife attended the 6th form tuition-free, with all her books provided at no cost.

Due to the extent of Nepotism, and other management factors at the school, staff morale is at an all time low, and once high standards that the school was once proud of has begun to deteriorate.

It saddens me to witness this sad state of nepotism at my alma mater. If urgent action is not taken, SHC’s once high standards of excellence will further deteriorate. Unfortunately, teachers and support staff are afraid to question the institution’s wrongdoings and as such these issues cannot be addressed internally. The level of nepotism present at SHC is deeply concerning, and all stakeholders should acknowledge these transgressions and try to address these concerns.

As an SHC graduate, I am faced with a choice: to passively observe the injustices and nepotism plaguing my alma mater or to take the first step in raising awareness of these issues in the hopes of finding resolution for the students’ benefit.

The irony lies in SHC’s current motto, “A Tradition of Excellence,” which in my mind has drifted significantly for the worse over the past 8 years.

In ending, I call especially on the Ministry of Education to launch an investigation into this matter, to assist in correcting this current nepotistic situation and put in place policy measures to avoid a repeat of this kind of Nepotism at Sacred Heart College or any other educational institution in the country.

 

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