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Early Warning System to help at risk children

RESTORE Belize and the Ministry of Education has collaborated on an Early Warning System program that targets at risk children. The objective of the program is to prevent students who are struggling from dropping out of school. Rosalyn Bradley, Consultant with the Ministry of Education explains.

Rosalyn Bradley – Consultant, Ministry of Health: Basically we took a look at the Red Flags that will determine that students may be challenged in school; some of it having to do with absences, behavior and how they are performing in school. And so the program is designed really then to ensure that the schools do better in terms of academic performance so as to keep the students in school. One of the things that we try to do is make the classrooms a little bit more engaging and hands on as well as motivating so that the students really want to come to school. So we are looking at the quality of education as well as the performance of the students because one of those things that we are doing, we are working really on those students who are in the lower division. We are concentrating on the Infant 1, the Infant 2 and the Standard 1 to improve that quality of education. We believe that the foundation is very important in that you know if we lay the proper foundation a lot of the students in the upper grades that are struggling it’s because they did not get that proper foundation in literacy and math and so If they don’t have that foundation then they struggle right through then you will find that the students will have behavioral issues because especially for the boys I think they will act it out because of self-esteem, well I can’t read so and I don’t want to be labeled like that so I come off like as a bully or that I am strong and so they come to compensate in other.”

Buttonwood Bay Nazarene school is one of the five schools where the program is being piloted.  Amelia Bencome, Principal of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School spoke about the program.

Amelia Bencome, Principal of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School: Okay overall this program has allowed us the opportunity to expand to different ideas in terms of teaching quality in terms of the physical aspect of the school in terms of looking at the at risk students and the different needs that they would encounter or you know as they go along teacher would be able to be more equipped through this program.”

The EWS program also provided training for the teachers where they learnt different strategies to engage students in order to make the learning experience fun. The program is being piloted at five schools in Belize City; thereafter, it will be rolled out to all the schools. The program targets children in the lower division.