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Education Minister announces Government to pay salaries, pensions, allowances and full-service benefits at grant-aided schools

Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2023. 2:42 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology Francis Fonseca has announced that the Government will spend an additional $64.8 million in the next five years to pay full salaries, allowances, and benefits for teachers and staff of grant-aided secondary and tertiary schools.

These are schools that accept Government funding but pay a portion of teachers’ salaries in a ratio of 70-30.

In correcting “a historic injustice,” Fonseca said, Cabinet approved the proposal following discussions with the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) and other stakeholders.

“Teachers and administrators, all teaching staff, will benefit from full 100 percent pension, salaries, and full-service benefits. And non-teaching, we haven’t forgotten the non-teaching support staff, [they will] receive full-service benefits,” Fonseca said. Proposal 22 of the 2008 Collective Bargaining Agreement created by the Joint Unions Negotiating Team (JUNT) covered this item, as did the Government’s own Education Sector Plan.

The new provisions which come into effect in 2024 affect 879 full-time secondary and tertiary-level lecturers and 175 non-teaching support staff, a majority of the teaching corps.

In response to a question from former Education Minister Patrick Faber, Fonseca said the increases are not retroactive, and that pension reform continues in discussion with the unions. But it removes a major thorn from the side of the BNTU which has long been campaigning on this issue.

 

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