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Belize Tertiary Options & Opportunities Education Expo, a first

The Belize Tertiary Options & Opportunities Education Expo was held today at the Saint Catherine’s Auditorium in Belize City. Tertiary level institutions in Belize, as well as educational institutions from abroad, converged in one place to showcase what opportunities and options they offer Belizeans students. Deryck Satchwell, Deputy Director for tertiary and post-secondary education services in the ministry of education spoke more about the event.

Deryck Satchwell – Deputy Director for tertiary and post-secondary education services

“This is the first of its kind on this scale at least. This has normally been the date on which COBEC, an organization of Belize and US partner institutions in tertiary education used to have a fair mainly as recruitment fair for the US institutions. This year we decided to go big and just invite local and international partners to come and have people be aware of, as the title of the expo says, what are the options and the opportunities because basically we want people to know that there may be programs there that they don’t know about that would interest them that they could match up with. You would notice that we actually have our own ITVETs in there as well as two technical community colleges from the United States that are members of COBEC, because we wanted to get the message out there that technical education is possible beyond the high school level as well and we’ve also partnered that with the Ministries that offer scholarships, with the banks and DFC that offer loans, we have Social Security they have a scholarship program. It’s all the partners that were willing to come out at this first one to get the message out there that tertiary education is indeed a possibility and there may not be as many barriers as people think.”

The expo was officially opened by Minister of Education Patrick Faber.

Patrick Faber – Minister of Education

“We hope to have hundreds of high school aged students here today at the St. Catherine’s Auditorium to view the displays of the local institutions as well as the foreign COBEC partner displays so that they can make those connections and then of course they can talk to us in the Ministry as well as the folks who are from the lending institutions to tie everything in. We also have the Ministry of Health here and I’m very pleased to see them here; quite often there are requirements for students to get vaccinations and a number of things and of course it is always good that where ever we have this amount of young people converging on one location to be disseminating very important health information and so we are pleased that they can be a part of this event today.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“With the increasing access to tertiary level education do records show more Belizeans accessing this?”

Patrick Faber – Minister of Education

”Oh yes even at the local level here. Over the last decade we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of students who are attending tertiary level institutions in this country. Just the University of Belize for instance ten years ago when I became the Minister they had an enrollment of about 2,000 students and if you check that enrollment today it is well over 4,000 so that is a very good sign. Over the time as well we have seen the development of new institutions as well.”

Belize has 14 institutions in the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions in Belize, ATLIB, eleven junior colleges and three universities which are the University of Belize, the University of the West Indies Open Campus and Galen University.