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The Love Foundation Partners with the Ministry of Education in its Curriculum Reform Consultation Tour

The Love Foundation has joined the Ministry of Education in its Curriculum Reform Consultation Tour. As we have been reporting, the ministry is consulting teachers and other stakeholders via a countrywide tour to seek guidance and participation in reforming the curriculum. The goals are to streamline the curriculum, eliminate redundancy and focus on competencies instead of content. The Love Foundation over the years has partnered with the Ministry of Education and this latest partnership comes as no surprise. Managing Director Deborah Seawell explains the foundation’s role.

Deborah Seawell, Executive Director, Love Foundation: “The Love Foundation joined this tour because the Love Foundation has been partnering with the Ministry of Education for the past four years and we have been partnering on the issues of integrating good governance, transparency and ethics throughout the curriculum. So instead of creating a new curriculum, what we have been doing is working with the QUADS department within the Ministry of Education to integrate these learning outcomes that would address issues of good governance, transparency and ethics. So we’ve developed actual teaching tools that will assist the teachers to be able to teach these lessons in a more effective way. We have developed videos that are being used as teaching tools. We’ve also been working with the ministry in actually the training of the teachers and Pathlight is one of the partners that has been doing teacher training. Social emotional competencies, this is important for students in work. It’s important for them in the way that they deal with their community. It’s important for them in the way that they deal with people in positions of authority. It’s just important in the way that they carry themselves and what we have found in our research and in our meeting with different schools and different students is that students in Infant 1 feel that sometimes when they do things that are wrong, it’s justified. So one of the questions that we ask students in Infant 1 is, if you see $10 sticking out of the teacher’s purse is it okay to take the $10? Or if you see somebody taking the $10, is that okay to take the $10 to buy lunch? And we got responses like, it was okay because maybe the person was hungry. It was okay because maybe the person didn’t have lunch money. We want them to start saying that it is not okay to take the $10 because it does not belong to you so these are kind of the lessons and that’s just an example of an Infant 1 lesson. But these are kind of the lessons we want highschool students to understand that it is not okay to pay to get your driver’s licence, that you have to go through the test, that you have to get a learner’s permit, that you have to go through the steps because it is not okay to bypass the rules that are set forth to be able to justify what you need and what you want. So this is why we feel that the infusion of good governance, transparency and ethics throughout the curriculum is something that would benefit our students because it would also make them better human beings and better citizens.”

Also partnering with the minister is Pathlight Belize, an NGO that has been in the country for the last 14 years. According to Pathlight’s Executive Director Adele Catzim-Sanchez says the NGO has three programs that are implemented including the teacher training program.

Adele Catzim Sanchez, Executive Director, Pathlight Belize: “We are participating with the government in uploading virtual trainings on the Teacher Learning Institute and so the teacher training program is the program that is most aligned with what it is we are doing here today at this curriculum reform event. We also have a sponsorship plus programme in which we recruit students from primary school level and we provide them with scholarships for at least four years of highschool. We provide them with everything, we provide them with programs in an afterschool format that builds Christian values because we are a Christian Organisation but we also have a Leadership & Governance Development program. We have the Spiritual Development and Character Formation program for all the students in our scholarship initiative. We also provide them with scholarships for going on to tertiary level for some of them who want to continue.”

Reporter: Oh nice.

Adele Catzim Sanchez, Executive Director, Pathlight Belize “Yes and we have a community partners programme that links up with schools and we do infrastructure development support for schools mainly in the Belmopan area.”

Pilot schools in each district have adopted the curriculum.