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Conference on Open Schooling Underway in Belize

Belize is hosting the first Regional Conference on Open Schooling. Stakeholders such as lecturers, students and specialists in the education field from Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and some Caribbean countries are a part of the conference facilitated by the Commonwealth Open Schooling Association, COMOSA- Canada Caribbean Chapter. The conference is being held under the theme, “Innovation Schooling: Transforming Pedagogy, Increasing Access, to Ensure Learning”. Chair of the Canada-Caribbean Chapter, Dr. Cynthia Thompson, spoke to Love News.

cynthia thompsonDR CYNTHIA THOMPSON

“The work of COMOSA at this moment is we are trying to spread the idea of open schooling which is trying to get students who are below university level education and try to create access to these students. Earlier on in the presentation today we heard from one of our presenters from New Zealand in their efforts to try and get students engaged in learning and they are taking an approach where they are looking at the individual students and trying to cater the courses that those students have shown interest and get them interested and employed in those areas.

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: What are some of the challenges that the initiative would see here in Belize?

Voice 1: Here in Belize we have one of human resources I think our capacity at this moment. If we want to reach out and do what all open schooling can do it would be another one of technology, we had our experience even here this morning try to load up, the band width issue is really one that we would need to address but the innovative schooling goes beyond just the use of technology but its to create ideas and to organize learning in such a way that students will be engaged. We want to make sure that our students are engaged, it’s not just going to school because we want to go to school but because we want to learn.

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: How do you attract at risk youths, because one of the problems we have in Belize is that we have a lot of at risk youths who are out of school and join gangs.

Voice 1: Well there was a question here this morning about how we engage students it’s the program in New Zealand tried to embrace the community in the students learning and so one question that came up today is how do you engage students who are members of gangs or who are families of gangs and so the whole idea is that it is very sensitive and at the same time you want to make sure that you can get students to see the alternatives of formation of gangs. So for us in Belize I think it would be a challenge in to how we would reach out and that yes it is in their community but there is something else that would help them to move into other types of work and activities that are not as dangerous for them as being in gangs.”

The workshop concludes tomorrow.