Government Emphasizes Education Investments and Mandatory School Age Expansion

Government Emphasizes Education Investments and Mandatory School Age Expansion

Belize has gotten the approval of forty million US dollars to invest in skills-for-the-future training that will enhance the vocational sector in education.  The money is coming from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).  The two agencies have embarked on a mission to transform education in Latin America and the Caribbean, by accelerating the foundational learning, bridging the skills gap, and preparing students for the job market changes and adjustments.  The confirmation of the funds was announced last week by the Senator for Government Business, Eamon Courtenay.

Eamon Courtenay, Senator, Leader of Government Business: “Under the Inter-American Development Bank loan, there will be $40 million spent for the Skills for the Future program. And the objective of this program, Madam President, is to contribute to closing of the skills gap to prepare tomorrow’s workforce for the fourth industrial revolution. $40 million going towards that education initiative.”

In addition to the skills gap solution, Senator Courtenay impressed on the importance of the government’s move to expand the mandatory school age, as well as its increased investments in the education sector.

Eamon Courtenay, Senator, Leader of Government Business: “We brought to this House the necessary legislation to increase the compulsory school age and that, Madam President, will have serious positive social benefits for the country. Children must stay in school. It helps in forming their social character but it also provides them with a longer stay in an educational institution and keeping them away from crime. It is in that context that we take great pride, Madam President, with the continuation of initiatives like the Education Upliftment Project “Together We Rise”. That project, Madam President, targets and interventions and supports nine government-owned schools which benefits approximately 3.2 thousand children, students, Gwen Lizarraga, Excelsior, Maude Williams, Sadie Vernon, Agricultural and National Resource Institute, Delille Academy, Georgetown Technical, Corazon Creek Technical, and the Toledo Community College. And in this budget, the 24-25 budget Madam President, government plans to add 12 additional secondary schools to the upliftment program and then coverage will extend to 6,000 additional students. That will be nine government schools and three government aided schools.”

Several other areas of investments were also announced last week during the Senate meeting, particularly, in the sectors of health and citizen security.

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