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GOB signs $20 million loan agreement for education; new science school to be built

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Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2020. 1:14 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Government of Belize (GOB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have signed a US $10 million loan agreement with the purpose of improving the quality and gender equity of education at the primary and secondary levels in the country.

The Prime Minister of Belize, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, and Country Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Cassandra T. Rogers, signed the agreement today. It has a repayment term of 25 years, a grace period of five and a half years and an interest rate base on London Inter-bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and has a local counterpart of US $100,000.

The agreement marks the launch of the second phase of the Education Quality Improvement Program (EQIP II), which has a special focus on Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education.

At the high school level, the loan will facilitate the building of a STEAM Lab School in Belize City. The ministry said that it envisions the school will serve a student population of around 300 when fully operational and that it will provide ” young people with enriching pathways to future-forward education and career opportunities.”

The ministry said that, at the primary level, the program will help the 50 percent of schools that have not yet benefited from EQIP as part of its first phase. Assistance given under the program to those schools will include training in hands-on student-centered learning for 320 principals, 1,500 teachers, and some 12,000 students.

“In EQIP I rigorous evaluations revealed that classroom practices have changed. Specifically, we saw significant increases in the time used for group work, hands-on science experiments, and active learning engagement of students,” Rogers said.

Both parties noted that the program is being carried out in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is completely aligned with the joint priority of the IDB and the GOB to improve STEAM learning, digital education, and innovation for the next generations.

 

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