Screen_Shot_2014-03-03_at_8.17.34_PMIn our last newscast we told you about the efforts of the Rhaburn Ridge residents and even people of surrounding communities in opening the first primary school at that village. The community, with assistance from investors outside Belize has managed to construct a building and even a cafeteria that are both in full use as the school opened its doors to twenty-five students in January of this year. The name of the school is Hope SDA Christian Academy. However, the school’s management faces serious repercussion for that decision since they began operations without a valid license from the Ministry of Education.

 

Last week Head Teacher Jacqueline Moralez said they have followed and met all requirements but their efforts proved futile as the department has denied them a license on the grounds that Biscane School caters for children within a ten mile radius and that the ministry is not encouraging multi-grade classes in schools. Morales mentioned they are outside that ten mile radius and are not conducting multi-grade classes. While they have appealed the Ministry’s decision, they are yet to receive an answer, according to Morales. Since the school opened, the administration has been warned to close its doors or face a fine from five hundred to a thousand dollars or six months imprisonment for violations of the Education and Training Act.

 

That letter was directed to Morales. Despite the warning, the school was opened and it has been two months since. Today, parents joined teachers and students for a morning service in the church located within the school compound after which a meeting was held to inform parents of the Ministry’s intentions. Around ten this morning, three officials from the Ministry arrived and according to them they went to the school to verify if the school had closed. None of the officials would give CTV-3 News a comment on the situation except to say that they did not have any authority to do so. They refrained from answering any questions from parents just the same and left shortly thereafter.

 

Parents who attended the meeting were left with more questions than answers. At least twelve of the children enrolled at Hope SDA Christian Academy are children who attended other schools in the Biscane and Ladyville areas. Their parents shared why they made the choice to transfer their children even without the proper transfer papers.

 

Ferdinal Spencer – Parent


“It’s more convenient and I don’t have to be worrying if they get lost or don’t have money to come home because the school bus as you can see it is parked in the drive way out there brings the children to and from school.”

 

Dalila Ical – Reporter

 

“How has your child been performing since he came here?”

 

Ferdinal Spencer – Parent

 

“Much better, at least he is doing his work and wants to come to school.”

 

Dasia Robinson – Parent


“I gone to Biscayne and I ask for my transfer and they say well, the Tuesday night I hear my phone ring then the acting principal said that they can’t give le no transfer because the ministry said no to give you it, so the Wednesday morning I sent my kids back to Biscayne school but I never register the at Biscayne they registered up here so Friday I got a letter from Biscayne school stating that they will take action against me for my kids.”

 

Dalila Ical – Reporter

 

“For the two months you didn’t sent your kids to school since they have been coming here?”

Dasia Robinson – Parent

 

“Yes mom”

 

Ian Robinson – Parent


As a parent I would go all the way because at the end of the day I would want to see my child being educated.”

 

Ethel Becan – Parent


“I’m asking the Ministry of education to not make it be about Biscayne versus hope, hope is needed here we have a lot of parents here that are poor and they can’t afford to send their kids to go to school, they can’t afford to pay the passage that for them needed for them to go to other school not to mention lunch, hope is needed here.”

 

Morales says they will remain open in spite of the warning since they fully believe in their purpose.

 

Jacqueline Morales – Head Teacher


“We’re going to continue with classes and we are going to continue with our prayers and fasting and we are going to continue to do what God has commissioned us to do because like I said before what we are doing here is exactly what our God commissioned us to do. We’re not quarrelling with the ministry we are not their enemies whenever they want to talk to us we are ready to dialogue.  This morning I invited personnel from the ministry to dialogue with us but I would say they kindly refuse to dialogue with us and they said that they were not in any position to answer any questions that the parents had so we will wait and see when will they be willing to talk to us.”

 

Morales is not alone. Despite the odds, parents say they will stand behind the new initiative.

 

Amanda Balderamos –Parent


“Si, yo si yo lo apoyo cien por ciento, porque yo digo que sí es justo que habrán aquí, aquí si se necesita una buena escuela y un buen camino para mostrar a nuestros hijos.”


Linda Segura – Grandparent


“Yes I support the school because it is a nice school, it is a Christian school, and the things that the kids them learn since they been here they never taught in Biscayne School.”

 

Melissa Acosta – Parent


“Aquí todos nos tratamos como familia, todos nos ayudamos con cualquier problema está la maestra, está la principal y los demás padres todos los ayudamos y por eso como padre estoy dispuesto ayudar a la escuela en todo porque desde que empezaron hasta ahorita estamos y hasta que Dios decida que esto se acabe.”

 

We contacted the Chief Education Officer Chris Aired who said that they will be issuing a press release on the situation by tomorrow.

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