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High Schoolers Will Be Able to Participate in Real Science Experiments

The Ministry of Education and the U.S. Embassy have signed an agreement to implement the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment program – or GLOBE . This program is geared at developing and supporting educational activities in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Reporter, Giovanna Moguel attended the ceremony and tells us more in the following report. 

Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News:  Highschoolers in Belize will have a more hands-on approach to Science and Technology with the implementation of the GLOBE Program. This is a NASA funded program geared at providing young STEM students with capacity building methods that will aid them in excelling in this field. The Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca says this is quite fitting as it aligns with the new curriculum being rolled out. 

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, E-Governance, Science & Technology: “It’s directly related to economic development, to national development. So, we started with that in place and then our curriculum, the National Curriculum Framework is, this program is directly aligned to that because the National Curriculum Framework what we launched recently, identifies and prioritises Science & Technology as a key component of Belize’s Education Curriculum so at every level of our education system our students are going to be exposed to Science & Technology, at every level of our education system.” 

Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News:  The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Leyla Moses-Ones explains that Belzieans who partake in this program will be partaking in real life Scientific experiments. It gives them the opportunity to contribute important data that can be used to improve the understanding of the global environment. 

Leyla Moses-Ones, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy: “For example if other scientists are tracking activity in Belize’s mangrove but aren’t able to come here for hands-on research, this is a way for students to go out, collect that data and personally contribute to the world’s trove of information and a growing body of knowledge. We know, for example, that Belize’s intricate mangrove system is efficient at consuming the carbon. It sucks carbon in the atmosphere. It’s absolutely vital where climate change studies are happening. So we’re very excited that Belizean blooming and blossoming scientists are having a chance to contribute to this real world expanding knowledge of how to combat climate change.”

Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News:  Third former, Erin Sosa, aspires to pursue a career in Astronautical Engineering. She says that using the app that is provided by the program. She hopes to be able to provide information that can be used to tackle climate change.

Erin Grace Sosa, Student, Belize High School: “My school has a weather tree, a solar tree, and using data from the weather we can tell so much about our environment, how it’s being impacted by climate change and how we can help reverse that in order to save our environment.”

Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: While most people are on board with the technological advancements that the Ministry of Education is implementing into the school systems, some people can’t help but wonder if students from far reaching communities have been taken into account.

Derrick Velasquez, Dangriga Resident: “We’ve recognised and identified some children in Dangriga and other parts of southern Belize who could benefit from this program. What we lack in that area are the resources to get the students plugged into this NASA program. At some point, they don’t have the laptops. They don’t have access to that information. They don’t have cell phones and if they do have cell phones they don’t have data.”

Brian Plumber, Teacher, Gwen Lizzarraga Highschool: “I think it’s a promising initiative and they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating so I will wait and see. My only concern, and I brought it up with the Chargé d’Affaires, with the Minister of Education, is that if this doesn’t widen the gap between the haves and the have nots? Will they make sure rural schools have access to it as well as inner city people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds because maybe a phone might be a problem, internet access, especially in the rural. I’m concerned about the rural. The only concern I have and I made sure I talked to the minister about it and I talked to the Chargé d’Affaires. It widens the gap between the haves and the have nots.”

Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: This initiative is being implemented in secondary schools but, Minister Fonseca says they are working on a plan to begin implementing STEM education from as early as preschool. Jovanna Moguel, Love News.