With schools set to re-open in a few weeks’ time, the men and women responsible for our children’s education are spending these last few weeks of vacation conferring about the way forward for education in Belize. 54 schools which form part of the Quality Child Friendly School Initiative of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports are this week meeting in Belize City to formulate their checklists for better schools in the next few years. The schools from Cayo and Belize Districts met at Pallotti High School to conduct self-assessment and work on the resulting improvement plans. We hear more from the Ministry’s Dr. Neulin Villanueva, policy researcher and planner in the Policy and Planning Unit.
Dr. Neulin Villanueva – Policy researcher and planner, Minister of Education
“This is a continuation of our quality child friendly schools program that we implemented in 2010 and it represents a roll out to all school. Within the next 5 years, the program will be implemented in all schools. We are stating with this first 54 schools as a group and then we are going to take on additional schools until all primary school have completed the program. We are focusing on three primary areas for the school self assessment. They will be examining their policies and practices with regards to student assess and inclusion, they will be looking at student achievement and development and they will also be looking at the relevance and quality of their curriculum. They will assess themselves, look at what the education regulations require and look at how they compare to the standards that the Ministry of Education has set. That will allow them to identify where they are strong and where they have areas of weakness. Those weakness becomes what they use to develop their school improvement plans.”
As for implementation, Dr. Villanueva told us it should take between 1 to 3 years depending on the type of reforms needed. The program will be rolled out to all schools countrywide.