The gates of most Primary and Secondary schools remained closed here in Orange Walk today, contrary to what had been decided by the Ministry of Education and Managers of Pre, Primary and Secondary schools who decided that classes were to resume today, January 3rd to make up time for BNTU’s eleven day strike in October of last year.
While the Ministry and school managers remained intent on having schools re-open today, BNTU held their ground and as mentioned in Friday’s newscast following a meeting, BNTU Orange Walk unanimously agreed to take their full Christmas break and go back to the classroom until January 9th as stipulated in the education rules. Based on what we observed today it is safe to say that parents and teachers continue to support the union.
Our news team visited various primary and high schools today and only found a couple operational. The gates at Trial Farm Government, Chapels, Salomons, San Francisco and La Inmaculada Primary Schools were padlocked and no one was present. While St. Peters Primary School was open, classrooms were locked up. Louisiana Government School was open with 54 students in class out of the over nine hundred.
The high schools were not so different. Orange Walk Technical, Bishop Martin and New Hope High schools were all open but saw minimal attendance from both Teachers and Students. Muffles High school however, was the only institution in town which carried out normal classes and had participation of almost all students and teachers.
Reliable reports reaching our newsroom late this evening indicated that teachers from one primary school here in Orange Walk were sent home after being informed that they would not be receiving any form of compensation for showing up to work today since student attendance was low. We are told that some of the teachers tried to contact Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, but were informed that he is currently out of the country on vacation and would not be back until January 6th.
Up until news time we were unable to confirm with the Education Department here in Orange Walk the exact figures of students and teachers who showed up in the various schools across the Orange Walk District.