This morning, Belize’s national university, the University of Belize, shared its 2016-2017 report with the media. The University of Belize has several faculties including: the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Education and Arts, the Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health and Social Work, Faculty of Science and Technology and each of those faculty’s progress was discussed at the press conference. The President of the University, Professor Clement Sankat, in addressing the gathering said that in the academic year 2016-2017 set the stage for transformation which was evident in the new programmes it implemented.
Professor Clement Sankat: “We talked about continuation early in the 16 17 second semester and the Dean moved very quickly to have the bachelors in Pharmacy and Medical Laboratory approved for delivery here and I commend her sincerely for doing that because those programs are over subscribed. The Faculty of Education, again the big thing here was the beginning of the EEL Sugar bud project which was expanding access, ensuring quality, ensuring relevance, strengthening childhood and secondary education in Northern Belize and that project will be over $2.6 million Belize and as you will hear in next year’s report including the number of teachers for early childhood education as well as Secondary Education and even trained parents, are the benefits of Early Childhood Education.”
In 2016-2017, the University of Belize attracted more females than males’ students, which is a concern for the University. The female accounted for sixty-five percent while the males accounted for only thirty-five percent of the student body. The Chairman of the University of Belize, Harry Pilgrim said that the university is developing the next generation.
Harry Pilgrim Chairman University of Belize: “The University of Belize is a national institution serving the developmental needs of Belize. The University’s leaders must embrace that this is a fact, this is the reality and that it is molding the direction of which this country could develop. We are holding our young leaders and moulding them and they will emerge from UB either as persons of high moral and ethical fiber, persons who have high quality ideals and who have the intellectual capacity to continue to make Belize a great nation in Central America and the Caribbean.”
Sankat pointed out that the university is operating at a lost and the university is looking at ways in which to generate more funds in order to make it economically viable.
Professor Clement Sankat: “Let me say in 16/17 we immediately took the decision that we have to break this cycle of a lost position of the University of Belize. The accounts show that we are spending more than we are earning, that is bad news for any business because you can soon become insolvent. We took the decision, we got to break this stronghold and we have to become more efficient, we have to increase productivity and we have to reduce rates. Now the greater that you have in front of you is still not very good because University of Belize is still losing 2- 3 million dollars a year however it will be reduced year by year, now whether we can actually break even under the current circumstance where your income comes mainly from tuition and fees and from government subvention could be used to be a challenge.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Deborah Domingo at the Ministry of Education noted that the ministry is considering to increase the subvention to the university. However, Domingo was unable to say by when and how much, but would only say that the ministry sees where it is possible to do so. Sankat concluded that 2016-2017 marked the beginning of the transformation, which the university invasion for the next five years.