The fifth annual Belize International Symposium of Education (BISE) was held this morning at the George Price Center, in Belmopan. BISE was developed about five years ago with the purpose of reaching out to the educational institutions in Belize, primarily those at the primary level. Executive Director and Founder of BISE Dr. Pamela R. Cook tells us more.
“BISE is an organization that was developed five years ago. We wanted to come in to the country to help the children of Belize and when we come to Belize we like to conduct an educational symposium that encompasses many different universities and when we come to Belize, we also partner with the University of Belize and Galen University. We primarily like to do is bring university professors, other educators, and principals together so that they can share knowledge and research topics. Second of all, we like to give opportunity of volunteering so that people from international areas of the world can come in to Belize and see what it’s like to work with children in need. So, we go into orphanages, we help with the preschools, we help with the Ministry’of Education, we work with many different organizations that work with children and we give our time, donations and contributions”.
Dr. Judith McConnoll Farmer is a professor at Westbourne University, Kansas, USA and has been an active contributor to the Belize International Symposium of Education since it first started in 2009. Dr. McConnoll is also the program coordinator for the Study Abroad to Belize Program. According to her, this is the fourth year that her students, through this program, have been coming to Belize to do volunteer work and partake in educational functions.
“I came to Belize seven years ago. I fell in love with the country and the people and certainly fell in love with the children. It was at that time that I started putting together a study abroad program for my undergraduate students although we’ve had a few graduates from Westbourne University and Topeka, Kansas, USA. We now are able to celebrate the fourth time that we’ve brought students annually to Belize. We come here for fourteen days. What we do initially is that we volunteer in several orphanages and my students bring some donations such as kitchen supplies and lots of activities to do with the children. Then we are going to Caye Caulker to volunteer there in the elementary school for two days and come back for one more day and then unfortunately we have to go back to the snow of Kansas”.
Dr. Cook, Dr. McConnoll and other members of BISE will be in Belize for 13 more days doing voluntary work around the community. The Dean of the faculty of Education and Arts at UB Dr. Priscilla Brown Lopez works in collaboration with the BISE as the Belizean Contact Site Coordinator. She explains what these annual symposiums mean for Belize and the University of Belize in particular.
“What we are trying to do is to develop a research culture. Dr. Pamela Cook on an annual basis. She is the executive director of the Belize International Symposium on Education and numerous professors are showing here from the U.S. They share their research that they have conducted. This year they are partnering with the Faculty of Education and Arts. We have our own lecturer, Dr. Silvano Woods; we share our research in terms of language competencies and how best to address language needs. So, today is actually sharing research information. This is one of the many stages to learn on how do we got a data, how do we analyze. So, it’s a learning experience”.
The next symposium is scheduled to take place in January of 2015.