Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015. 9:32 pm CST.
Thursday, January 15, 2015. AARON HUMES Reporting: Last year the PUP used the occasion of Rt. Hon. George Price’s birthday to launch its Social Justice Agenda in which the party re-committed to the view that all should benefit from the bounty of the nation.
One of the three pillars of the agenda in addition to economic/financial and governance reform is education reform – making sure not only that all of Belize’s youngest residents participate in the process of development, but are also able to contribute to it.
At this morning’s launch of the party’s Education Agenda, former Minister of Education Cordel Hyde, the party’s standard bearer for Lake Independence, lamented the state of affairs that has kept Belize’s education system from developing and which, he says, contributes to the social ills that plague this young nation.
If we cannot find the money to make sure students attend high school, we will have to to house them in prison or bury them after a life of crime, he stated.
But beyond simply going to school, Hyde called for a re-imagining of the education system to be truly meaningful to future students.
Party leader Francis Fonseca is also a former Minister of Education and son of late Chief Education Officer William Fonseca.
He says the party has specific goals to reach with this agenda, limited not only to introduction of technology to everyday lessons, but reforms that make the system worthwhile.
Fonseca says the party’s plan makes students the center of education, and teachers more valued and worthwhile, and properly introduces technology into the classroom for future development.
High school teacher at St. John’s College High School, artist and former NICH president Yasser Musa says that at the heart of the agenda is making students more autonomous and able to think for themselves.
Musa argues that students first need to know how to learn, so that they can be able to gather knowledge for themselves.
In the age of Youtube, he says, information is much faster to hand and easily disseminated, but the basics -mathematics, English, the sciences – are still essential.
Among the party’s proposals are setting up a WI-FI (broadband internet) administered hot spot system within each High
School and Tertiary level institution that is an open source for students, teachers and administration; developing a pilot program to provide digital devices to students beginning at the High School level in the first instance; setting up a program where master teachers can work with hi tech youths to develop User Generated Content (UGC) for learning.
For example e-books and e-materials, e-photo and video banks, e-libraries, e-resource lists and other electronic learning data spaces; Place special emphasis on student issues at the secondary and tertiary levels by developing an action plan to address our most pressing challenges, expanding the scholarship programs at UB and ITVET; developing teacher education including a pre-service component for new teachers; putting more emphasis on sports, arts and culture and Structure the historical narrative of the unfounded claim and Belize’s case for territorial and national sovereignty as a priority of all our history programs especially at the high school and junior college levels.
A copy of the Education Framework Agenda is available at the party’s website.
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