The Ministry of Education launches its third round of curriculum reform consultations
The Ministry of Education set up shop in Belize City today to meet with teachers and school administrators. The purpose? To get feedback on the rollout of the national revised curriculum. This is the third round of consultations taking place and is geared at evaluating and monitoring the pilot initiative. The revised curriculum is being evaluated to determine the impact it has had since it was first piloted. The competency-based approach to teaching is focused on producing the best possible outcomes for students. Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Louis Zabaneh, spoke about the importance of continuing consultations in order to fine-tune the framework.
Dr.Louis Zabaneh, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology: “Well this morning we visited three schools in rural Belize district and in the afternoons then we meet with two representatives from each school this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon that way we are able to meet with all the different schools in the district. And what we’re doing we’re getting feedback from them on how the new units that we’ve put up on our platform are working out for them, finding out to what extent they’ve been able to implement certain aspects of the new curriculum and then planning going forward. At the end of the day what we really want to emphasize is that this whole effort is in a great extent led by teachers because they are the ones who will implement the new curriculum, they must also be the ones at the forefront of what we’re doing. So teachers have told us we spend an inordinate amount of time at night, three, four hours then we spend a whole amount of time on the weekends that we would want to have with our families to be able to plan, to do unit plans, lesson plans assessments. If we get our best teachers across the country to come and put these together then all of us can easily go online and pull them down as needed. So we’ve seen that the first units for the first cycle, we have four cycles in the year, had a number of issues. The second cycle they’ve seen some marked improvements and now the third cycle will be benefiting from these consultations and we think again we would see another marked improvement in what the teachers are experiencing using them.”
Pathlight Belize, one of the ministry’s official training partners, has been providing training in competency-based learning to teachers across the country. The organisation’s Director of the Teacher Training Programs Consuelo Godfrey explained why their support is integral to this process.
Consuelo Godfrey, Director of Teacher Training Program at Pathlight Belize: “We serve on some of their technical communities but our main focus and role in this initiative is to provide training to teachers in competency based education. Currently our role at this time is to train high school teachers so we’re in the process of working with all high school teachers, we’re in cohort two right now in September of last year we trained twenty six high schools and almost five hundred teachers and so we’re rolling it out for high school and in the coming months the goal or the expectation is that we’ll roll this training out to all primary school teachers and Pathlight would be the provider to provide that training. So competency based education is not necessarily new to the system of education. It’s something that has been happening in our classrooms for a long time we’re just calling it competency based at this time. However the approach to the way in which we deliver outcomes and objectives to our students we’re asking for teachers to transition more from content and knowledge base to more skills, imparting values and fostering those dispositions that would make them more holistic citizens because the goal is we don’t just want students know the content of what it takes to write a good story but we also want them to be able to communicate proficiently in English, we want them to be able to express themselves, think critically, collaborate with each other you know we don’t work in a bubble and so students need to learn these life skills it’s really preparing them for th world of work and also for higher ed for those that want to go into doing their university degrees.”