On Tuesday the Ministry of Education hosted a media breakfast to discuss strategies of the Ministry of Education going into to the year 2015. After the breakfast meeting the Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber addressed the issues surrounding the recent influx of allegations concerning misconduct of teachers and educators in three different institutions.
First Minister Faber addressed the recent allegations at the University of Belize that singled out three educators accusing them of sexual misconduct.
“As you know I do not interfere directly into the affairs of the University of Belize. I appoint the Board of Governors here and that is about my role.
I have not gotten a formal report of what has transpired, so I think that question is best served for the officials here at the university.”
As we told you last week the allegations surfaced in the form of a flyer that was circling around the campus of UB in Belmopan; no formal report was ever made to the police.
On Tuesday the media inquired with UB’s Office of Public Information, but we were referred to their press release issued last week Tuesday which simply stated that the University is ongoing and issued a statement saying, “UB maintains a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment and is committed to maintaining a campus culture that fosters mutual respect and trust on the part of staff, students and teachers.”
On Tuesday, Minister Faber added his voice to the statement maintaining that the Ministry on a whole has a zero tolerance to this type of behaviour.
“We have not supported in any kind of way the behavior of teachers in our system. In fact, while we maintain that due process must happen, there are systems in place to make sure that we eradicate these kinds of practices in our schools, but there is no foolproof way.
For instance, when a situation arises like this now, there needs to be the investigation. You’ll be aware that false allegations are sometimes made, but I believe you’re heard me on the record, in fact, saying that the people who are involved in education, especially teaching in our class rooms, sometimes are not the best persons, and you’ve seen how many attacks I’ve received for that.
We want to make sure the best persons are in our classrooms, and so we have to put in place structures to do that. In fact, all that we’ve heard this morning, much of what we’ve heard this morning aims towards getting the right people in the classroom.”
While the Ministry and the UB management seem to be taking the allegations seriously, students of one of the lecturers who was singled out for alleged sexual misconduct are unhappy with the way the UB management is handling the situation. They wrote to us yesterday explaining their concerns. According to the letter, “No information has been shared with students who attend his classes about the situation surrounding this lecturer’s absence from class, and who will take over his classes if he is officially not teaching these classes any longer. As students of this lecturer we are angry, upset, hurt and disgruntled about the measures taken to handle the situation.”