The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has launched a programme in Belize that will see 35 new schools being built in the country to benefit 5,300 students at the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels.
The Belize Education Sector Reform Programme focuses on providing children across the country with equitable access to a quality basic education, with a goal of increasing enrolment in post-secondary and tertiary education.
It is grounded in the Government of Belize’s Basic Education Sector Strategy (2011-2016) and aligns with CDB’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development, as outlined in its 2015-2019 Strategic Plan.
“This programme exhibits the Government of Belize’s understanding of the critical role of basic education in driving economic growth and development. CDB is pleased to partner with Belize as it embarks on this transformational journey,” said Deidre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Sector Division, CDB, who delivered remarks at the launch event.
The new schools will include 178 classrooms and laboratories, as well as relevant sanitary and administrative spaces. The project will also fund the outfitting of each school with furniture, equipment and technology to enhance the students’ learning environment.
A second component of the project addresses institutional management issues that currently cause low enrollment rates and hinder progress in strengthening the education system.
A number of activities will be rolled out in support of this component, including: developing an Early Identification System for children at risk of educational and societal failure; training school and education sector leadership in efficiently scheduling and allocating both physical and human resources; and determining the implications of increasing the age of compulsory education.
The project is being financed by a US$35 million loan from CDB, funding from the Government of Belize of US$8.7 million, and a US$461,000 grant from the Bank’s Special Funds Resources.