Education Department to overhaul ‘absolutely overloaded’ curriculum

BELIZE CITY, Wed, April 27, 2022 — Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, Hon. Francis Fonseca, said the ministry’s plan for curriculum reform in the country’s education system will be implemented next August. This plan will focus on what he calls “fundamental reform”.

“The program is absolutely overloaded. It’s absolutely overloaded, and we intend to reduce what they call learning outcomes. We have talked about this before and making sure our students learn what matters is key,” the minister said.

In a country like Belize, says Fonseca, it is imperative to remember that education must be linked to national and economic development.

“So we need to educate our people to be part of Belize’s growth, Belize’s development and equip them with the skills, knowledge, information, values, attitudes they need to participate effectively in the development of the Belize. “, he remarked.

Along with its curriculum reform plan, one of the major challenges the ministry is currently facing is recouping the years of learning that students have lost due to the pandemic.

“Our students have actually been out of the classroom for two years. Yes, we have tried to do learning modules and we have done some virtual learning, but there is no replacement for the classroom. And so there was a learning loss. And so we have specific plans to address those gaps that have been created over the past two years,” he said.

When asked if this takeover would affect the curriculum reform plan in any way, Minister Fonseca said the two initiatives would take place side by side:

“Those are two separate things, but the idea behind curriculum reform is to provide, you know, a better quality education for our students. So the two things will work together, in parallel. We intend to unveil the new program, again, in August as well. And this new program, I think, will be a much more effective program, a much more focused, much more focused program. And it will also give us the opportunity to focus more on recovery. So I see the two things as parallel, working together,” he said.

Hon. Fonseca also noted that the ministry feels confident about a nationwide return to full-time, face-to-face learning. He said another of their top priorities at the moment is getting students who have not yet returned to class to do so, as the number varies from district to district. While more than 80% of students in the north of the country have returned to school, other communities have only seen around 60% of their students return.

“We have a lot of work to do in this regard – making sure everyone feels safe and that people understand and appreciate the importance and urgency of getting their children back to class,” he said. . Currently, students do not have classes on Fridays – part of the deal the government struck with unions after negotiating the terms of the 10% pay cut for civil servants. But according to the Hon. Francis Fonseca, this will change in August, since civil servants will see their salaries fully restored on July 1. As a result, the new school year will see pupils return to a full five-day school week.