Belize will see the addition of 35 new schools around the country that is set to benefit 5,300 students at the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels. This comes from a program that is being launched by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in Belize.
The new schools will include 178 classrooms and laboratories, as well as relevant sanitary and administrative spaces. The project will also fund the outfitting of each school with furniture, equipment and technology to enhance the students’ learning environment.
“The schools will be built on government land and that the infrastructure will be the property of the government, but that we are wide open to engage our church partners in forming management agreements for some of these schools where it is identified that this is possible,” commented Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, to Channel 5 News in Belize City. “There might be some areas where we might well say government management of this school is best and we will do that. But we are not in any way breaking up the church state system.”
A second component of the project addresses institutional management issues that currently cause low enrollment rates and hinder progress in strengthening the education system.
A number of activities will be rolled out in support of this component, including: developing an Early Identification System for children at risk of educational and societal failure; training school and education sector leadership in efficiently scheduling and allocating both physical and human resources; and determining the implications of increasing the age of compulsory education.
The project is being financed by a US$35 million loan from CDB, funding from the Government of Belize of US$8.7 million, and a US$461,000 grant from the Bank’s Special Funds Resources.
The Belize Education Sector Reform Program focuses on providing children across the country with equitable access to a quality basic education, with a goal of increasing enrolment in post-secondary and tertiary education.
“This program exhibits the Government of Belize’s understanding of the critical role of basic education in driving economic growth and development. CDB is pleased to partner with Belize as it embarks on this transformational journey,” said Deidre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Sector Division, CDB, who delivered remarks at the launch event.