The University of Belize convened a historic meeting with Presidents, Deans, Principals and representatives of Junior Colleges of Belize and a couple of technical/vocational schools. This meeting held under the theme “Working Together to Advance the Education of our Nation,” was held on Friday, April 5, 2019 at the Belmopan Campus. Junior Colleges were represented from across the country and the Institute of Technical Vocational and Educational Training-Orange Walk and Cayo Center for Employment and Training. The representatives from UB included all of our Deans and representative Chairs from our four faculties, the Registrar, Senior Management, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim.
The Chairman opened the meeting and expressed the strong desire for the University of Belize, Junior Colleges and technical schools to work in harmony to build tertiary education in Belize. Mr. Deryck Satchwell, Deputy Director, Tertiary and Post-Secondary Education Services in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, our guest speaker, spoke at length on contemporary issues affecting the tertiary education sector globally. He focused much of his though on access, quality, accreditation and certification and emphasized that meeting the output standards for a particular discipline is dominant in current thinking. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, UB’s President, emphasized the importance of access of Belizean students to the National University of Belize so as to significantly enhance the number of students who graduate with tertiary qualifications and can contribute meaningfully to the advancement of Belize’s development.
The Junior Colleges all expressed a desire for a more seamless entry of their graduates into UB’s various programs and that the articulation framework developed through ATLIB (Association of Tertiary Level Institutions in Belize) needs to be constantly updated with programmatic changes that are occurring both at UB and within the Junior Colleges. The matter of general courses at UB that proved to be challenging for some graduates of Junior Colleges, and access to high level ITVET graduates to Engineering for example will be a matters in particular that will be addressed by UB and the Colleges.
The meeting concluded that this approach must be pursued, but in addition, the Junior Colleges will approach our various Deans and Chairs to ameliorate any difficult challenges with respect to student access and the President of UB endorsed this direct approach. All agreed that with dialogue and steady communication we can build a very responsive tertiary sector for Belize. The President thanked all who made this meeting such a success, including our Deans and rapporteurs from the UB.
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