The Education sector gets funds for vocational and STEAM labs

The Education sector gets funds for vocational and STEAM labs

Forty million Belize dollars will be injected into Belize’s education sector.  Thirty million is a loan through the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) while the remaining ten million Belize dollars is a grant from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).  The two funding agencies have teamed up with a goal to transform education in Latin America and the Caribbean with Belize selected as one of the beneficiaries.  The money from IDB is being used as part of the Skills for the Future Program in Belize which seeks efficiently improve foundational learning, bridging the skill gap, preparing students for a changing job market, closing gender gaps and promoting inclusive education.  Adding to these objectives, the Ministry of Education will be turning six secondary institutions into Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) labs.  The establishment of the labs will enhance students who already have a foundation on cloud computing, and cyber security that are considered fourth industrial revolution skills.  Meanwhile, the ten million dollars from the GPE will be used to close learning gaps in foundational skills at the primary school level, and will support education for students with disabilities, as well as strengthen the country’s education data system.  The data system will allow authorities to track the progress of vulnerable groups and monitor gender equality interventions.  This is the first time that both IDB and GPE are collaborating on such an initiative.  Belize’s Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca, has commented, saying, quote, “I am pleased to give my endorsement to this program, which forms a crucial component of the government’s plan to establish an educational framework that equips students to thrive not just academically but in all aspects of life. One of this ministry’s primary objectives is to stimulate economic development by equipping the Belizean labor market with the essential 21st-century skills demanded by the fourth industrial revolution.”  End of quote.  As for the loan from the IDB, Belize will repay the loan over a 25-year-repayment term with five and a half years grace period

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