Education in Belize

Education in Belize


Current status

chool system

The Belizean school system is a loose aggregate of education subsystems. The system is based on British education and is broken into three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Belizean children begin their eight years of primary education with two years of "infant" classes, followed by six "standards." Secondary education is divided into four "forms." Sixth form is a two-year post-secondary course, originally intended to prepare students for the Cambridge Advanced or "A-Level" examinations. Since the early 1970s, sixth-form institutions have also bestowed Associate of Arts degrees sanctioned by the United States Association of Junior Colleges.Rutheiser, Charles C. "Education". [ "A Country Study: Belize"] (Tim Merrill, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (January 1992). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain."]

Other post-secondary institutions include Belize Teachers' College, the Belize School of Nursing, and the Belize College of Agriculture, in addition to UCB. Belize contributes to and participates in the multinational University of the West Indies. The University of the West Indies also maintains a small extramural department in Belize City.

Management of the system varies according to level. In the latter half of the 1980s, religious denominations controlled the majority of primary schools, but the government or private, community-based boards of governors administered more than 50 percent of the secondary institutions. The preponderance of government institutions at the secondary level is a relatively new development; as recently as 1980, the majority of secondary schools were under religious management. Still, denominational representatives retain considerable influence on the managing boards of private, ostensibly nondenominational, institutions.

Secondary schools also differ according to curriculum and cultural orientation. Most private and denominational schools emphasize academic and commercial studies, although some also offer technical-vocational programs. In contrast, the government directly manages nine schools, all of which offer a curriculum oriented to technical-vocational subjects.

In terms of cultural orientation, educational practices, rituals, and valuative criteria spread to Belize's schools from Jesuit institutions in the United States. Jesuit influence even affect such traditional bastions of British pedagogy as the Anglican and Methodist secondary schools and the government-run Belize Technical College. Nearly thirty years of Peace Corps and other United States volunteer teachers have also influenced Belizean educational culture. Technical-vocational education programs by the United States Agency for International Development promise to erode further British pedagogical legacies.

Access to education

Education in Belize is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 14 years for primary education. In 2001, 93.2 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years were attending school. The Education Act subjects parents to a fine of up to USD 100 if their children of compulsory school age fail to attend school regularly. Primary education is free, but related expenses, such as uniforms and books, are a financial strain on poor families. Secondary schools and apprenticeship and vocational programs can only accommodate half of children who complete primary school. In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 122 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 99 percent. Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. As of 1999, 81 percent of children enrolled in primary school were likely to reach grade 5. Results from the Child Activity Survey indicate that 12 percent of working children ages 5 to 14 years do not attend school. [ "Belize"] . "Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor (2005)". Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor (2002). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.]

ee also

*List of universities in Belize


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