CDB launches programme to reform Education Sector in Belize

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) launched yesterday in Belize a programme that will build 35 new schools, benefitting 5,300 students at the pre-primary, primary and secondary education levels.

The Belize Education Sector Reform Programme 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. It is grounded in the Government of Belize’s Basic Education Sector Strategy (2011-2016) and aligns with CDB’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development, as outlined in its 2015-2019 Strategic Plan.

L to R: Deidre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Sector Division, CDB; Dr. Idamay Denny, Portfolio Manager, Social Sector Division, CDB and Dr. Ellajean Gillett, Senior Project Officer, Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture chat during the launch of Phase Two of the Belize Education Sector Reform Programme in Belize City on January 27, 2016.

L to R: Deidre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Sector Division, CDB; Dr. Idamay Denny, Portfolio Manager, Social Sector Division, CDB and Dr. Ellajean Gillett, Senior Project Officer, Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture chat during the launch of Phase Two of the Belize Education Sector Reform Programme in Belize City on January 27, 2016.

“This programme 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.

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.

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture (left) delivers remarks during the launch of Phase Two of the Belize Education Sector Reform Programme, in Belize City on January 27, 2016. Also pictured: Deryck Satchwell (centre) and David Leacock (right) of the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture.

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture (left) delivers remarks during the launch of Phase Two of the Belize Education Sector Reform Programme, in Belize City on January 27, 2016. Also pictured: Deryck Satchwell (centre) and David Leacock (right) of the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture.

A second component of the project addresses institutional management issues that currently cause low enrolment rates and hinder progress in strengthening the education system.

Students of the James Garbutt SDA School Choir perform the National Anthem during the launch of Phase Two of the Belize Education Sector Reform Programme in Belize City

Students of the James Garbutt SDA School Choir perform the National Anthem during the launch of Phase Two of the Belize Education Sector Reform Programme in Belize City

A number of activities will be rolled out in support of this component, including

· creating an early stimulation and emergent learning programme, focused on child development and parenting education;

· reviewing the current school feeding programme;
· 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;

· determining the implications of increasing the age of compulsory education; and

· developing a schools’ maintenance policy and plan.

The project launch, which is being held at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, includes a two-day workshop during which CDB officials will present on a range of related topics including Managing for Development Results, procurement, and legal aspects of development financing. The project is being financed by a USD35 million loan from CDB, funding from the Government of Belize of USD 8.7 million, and a USD461,000 grant from the Bank’s Special Funds Resources.

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