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Youth leaders present possible solutions to increase education access at secondary, tertiary level

Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2022. 11:08 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Participants in a six-month course in development of public policy by the International Republican Institute and Caribbean Youth Fellowship presented their findings today.

Coincidentally, both their presentations were on education – specifically, improving access at the secondary and tertiary levels.

At the latter, costs of tuition are outstripped by the need for financing, with institutions such as the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) requiring land papers and at least one guarantor.

The researchers also found that Belize’s tertiary institutions assess more credit hours per program than regional universities, increasing cost.

The DFC’s general manager Natalie Goff and executive director of the National Bank of Belize, Alvaro Alamina, both say their organizations can look into offering grants and reducing interest rates but also point out that they need less onerous financing sources in order to respond to the clear need for more affordable loans.

One suggestion is tying repayment to Social Security contributions on employment; another is reducing the interest rate upon successful employment, which reduces risk of non-payment. The former would require legislation.

But Minister of State for Education Dr. Louis Zabaneh said he welcomed the suggestions and would take them back to Government for further consultation and dialogue. We’ll have more of that discussion later.

The policies developed by the participants are not full, but represent their research and ideas for moving the sector forward.


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