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DYS Director Says the Number of High School Dropouts are Alarming

And while the police department is probing the violence, the Youth Services Department is doing what it can to address the root causes of crime. They’ve recently announced the amalgamation of the Gateway Youth Center, the Frank Lizama Training Center, and the Belize Youth Cadet Corp into a single umbrella youth program. The program named the Central Regional Youth Training Institute will help at-risk youth and high school dropouts to finish their education or learn important life skills. According to the Director of the DYS, Kevin Cadle, over two thousand students dropped out of school between 2019 and 2020. Cadle says that this year’s number is expected to be much higher which signals the need for more youth-based programs.

Kevin Cadle, Acting Director, Department of Youth Services: “We have now gotten the list from the Ministry of Education of all school dropouts throughout this country. We have now launched our first program today which was the amalgamation of the Gateway, the Frank Lizama Skills Training Center and the Cadet Program that was at mile 21. Those have come together to merge and we’re now doing countrywide programs dealing with young people. One of the most important factors to deal with young people who have dropped out of school first of all is to do an assessment as to why they dropped out of school because some of the situations are financial and I know that the Prime Minister said that he will launch a program on southside Belize City. Also I know our Honorable Minister Francis Fonseca has stated that they will work with young people primarily on south side. I think that we need to implement one of the most important strategies and that is to make school mandatory for young people and to also allow young people to go to school and drop these school fees. School fees are creating a major problem in our society and people do not have the funds especially with this COVID situation. So we need free education for all. We need to implement these strategies and that is a key component driving at what we believe should be implemented with immediate effect.”