The call from teachers, students and parents to review the school workload is being answered by the Ministry of Education. Dr Louis Zabaneh has been appointed to lead a team of eight educators to set the foundation for a curriculum reform in Belize. The team will have seven months to look at the causes of the stagnant performance of students and come up with solutions to fix what has been dubbed, ‘a ballooning curriculum’. Love News spoke with Dr Zabaneh who explained what the committee is tasked to do.
Dr.Louis Zabaneh, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, Science & Technology and Culture: “We will have to start out by looking at what will be the vision of the curriculum itself. The vision of the curriculum must align with the vision of national development of the country. So if we look for example, at the vision statements in Horizon 2030 we would need to be looking at what the people of Belize have agreed upon as to where we want to be in the future. So that the curriculum now needs to be prepared to get us to that destination. So we have particular aims and objectives in the curriculum, particular values and principles, that will underlie everything that we do. So all of this is laid out in a framework that has been prepared by UNESCO in consultations with countries around the world. Looking at best practices around the world. We will also be looking at things like what will be the philosophy of teaching and learning how the architecture will look, various types of learning competencies etcetera, teaching methodologies and strategies, how we were going to assess the progress. We’re making and then the monitoring and evaluation of the curriculum. So all of that will require expert eyes to be able to look at each of those components. Look at what we have within the ministry look at all the consultations we have done so far and kind of lay out the roadmap going forward.”
With the works in the pipeline to reform the curriculum for primary and secondary schools, Dr Zabaneh explained that training for teachers would be running simultaneously.
Dr.Louis Zabaneh, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, Science & Technology and Culture: “Well we have the curriculum being reformed we also have to have parallel work in training our teachers to be able to deliver this reformed curriculum. We now have a teacher learning institute at the ministry as you may have heard launched in August and that’s right now being done using a virtual platform but teachers can come there and find a lot of resources a lot of courses that they’re able to take to improve their skill set to improve the set of tools they need to have to be able to function at the highest possible level which is what our students deserve across the board.”
At the end of May 2022, the committee would have submitted a list of suggestions and recommendations to the ministry. Those recommendations will be looked at, coupled with public consultations with education stakeholders. Dr Zabaneh says there will be about three phases until the final document is finalized and executed.
Dr.Louis Zabaneh, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, Science & Technology and Culture: “The phrase going forward from that then is actually looking at the very important elements that must be considered when a curriculum is being laid out being created or being reformed. Things like the subject matters must be culturally sensitive we must take into consideration how we will be teaching students with different disabilities they must consider the fact that we have along with the first point multilingual group of people in our country who might not be speaking English as their first language so those are some of the very important things that have to be considered in the third phase which is the last phase where we don’t say this is the new curriculum they were all going to be following going forward.”