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Ministry of Education sets up Reform Committee to seek solutions for students’ poor performance

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Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2021. 3:43 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology (MoECST) has set up a provisional Curriculum Reform Steering Committee (CRSC) to seek solutions to the stagnant performance of education in Belize.

The MoECST said that “education stakeholders have been lamenting the stagnant performance of students over the past few decades” and that recent extensive consultations with 17 stakeholder groups reached the consensus that one of the main reasons for Belize’s poor student performance is “a ballooning curriculum”.

Due to competition to excel, the Ministry of Education and schools, have over the years, added subject after subject to the curriculum, while in other countries primary and secondary schools operate on a basic curriculum that teaches the essential subjects to their students.

The CRSC has been constituted for the period November 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022. During that time, their main objective will be to oversee the implementation of the UNESCO/IBE (International Bureau of Education) Curriculum Reform Framework. The CRSC is also charged with setting the foundation for curriculum reform said the MoECST.

On Monday, the MoECST presented a pilot project which consists of a reduced curriculum. The project which has already started was officially presented by MoECST Minister of State Dr Louis Zabaneh, at a webinar on “Curriculum Overload” hosted by UNESCO/IBE and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The CRSC is tasked with evaluating the pilot project “to ascertain its impact on student performance and the well-being of students, teachers, and parents”.

The MoECST said the newly constituted steering committee, which will be chaired by Zabaneh, comprises of “the following expert education stakeholders”:

1. Rosanna Briceño, Special Envoy for the Development of Families and Children

2. Ray Lawrence, Principal, Stann Creek Ecumenical College

3. Dr. Mathias Vairez, Assistant Professor, University of Belize (Punta Gorda)

4. Salome Tillett, Principal, St. Catherine Academy

5. Fr. Antonio Anderson, Chairman, John Paul II Junior College

6. Dr. Priscilla Brown-Lopez, Education Consultant

7. Dr. Janeen Quiroz, Assistant Professor, University of Belize (Belmopan)

8. Althea Jorgenson, Teacher, St. Ignatius Primary School (Belize National Teachers’ Union representative)

The CRSC’s secretariat will be led by Michelle Turton from the Quality Assurance & Development Services (QADS).

The MoECST said it looks forward for the CRSC to lead the much-needed revamping of Belize’s curriculum from early childhood learning to secondary education.

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