Saturday, December 4, 2010

Belize - Minister of Education jumps UDP government report card 3 points to 53%.


The Education Minister has announced that teachers, and particularly those in rural primary schools, will have to qualify to teach academically within three years, or be kicked out of their jobs. This is expected to cut the Education budget at least 25% for teacher salaries.
I remember when this happened as a child in CANADA in Southern Ontario, 65 years ago. Now it is coming to Belize.
Schools in Belize are often cloaked as religious/state schools and before this they were paid their teacher salaries as a subsidy. What the country got was a bunch of different religions, cults and those masqueradig as mission schools, financed mostly by the government tax money. Schools were looked on as a small business and those that did not claim to speak for GOD, were more or less the same, operated as family and relatives small businesses, to get a job and cash flow from government funding. Most of the problem with schooling in Belize has always been in providing primary school education.
There are statistically 11,000 primary school age children without a school. Not very good statistics at all. Of this the nation is probably short about 500 primary schools. We are short more classrooms as well. Classroom shortage is about 2000 classrooms nationwide.
Patrick Faber the Education Minister is earning the points for his political party score card, based on having a plan. He will earn more points should the plan be enforced and actually work. We do not know where this plan is going, but it is breaking the existing paradigm of education in Belize. At this point in time, we cannot wish for more.
There is a lot of explanation in his plan about what happens to children after PRIMARY SCHOOL. In the next level of education. Since the majority of children never get there, we will ignore that part as being less meaningful in the BIG PICTURE than fixing PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION. Most of his plan is dealing with just one of the nine towns in the country, which is the PORT of Belize City. This is unfair to the nation and buildng and development, but that is the way the two political parties have set up the biased system of election boundaries for elected representatives.
Patrick Faber who is closer to the statistics than those of us observing outside, says that 85% of the unqualified teachers will be qualified within 3 years. Or they will lose their jobs.
The BIG PICTURE should be on PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION NATIONWIDE. Qualified teachers will get a pay raise. PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION needs more classrooms, more schools and trained teachers. EDUCATION has changed and at the moment only the population corridors joining the 9 towns around the nation, are serviced with internet capability. The biggest problems come with expanding internet service to ALL THE NATION including the remote rural parts. Primary School, should be core subjects dealing with plain simple READING, RITING and RITHMETIC. The last two years of primary school must include MANDATORY SUBJECTS needed for rural children, the ability to teach themselves from the internet. If the internet is not here now, it is coming presumably. Typing is mandatory. Computer savvy is mandatory. Given that, most rural children and the majority of the citizens of this country in the future, will have to teach themselves various interesting subjects from the internet, AFTER they leave primary schools. GDP, EXPORTS will come from these rural children growing into adults. You can teach yourself many busineses and skills by the internet now and this has replaced a lot of HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE and UNIVERSITY education. The internet is not going to teach you higher math, engineering, or complex physics, but for the business and development aspects of our people and the next generation, it is the teaching educational tool of choice and hopefully in three years availability will be nationwide in even the remotest rural villages and farms.
At any rate, Patrick Faber, UDP Cabinet Minister of Education is proposing a PARADIGM breaking method of creating the super state of Belize. For this he gets 3 points on the UDP approval rating.

Belize -The Little Switzerland of the Americas

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