Education in Belize is governed by the Education Act (Chapter 36 of the Laws of Belize).
The growth and transformation of Belizean education took place in a number of phases, each related to important changes within the political and economic history of the country.
During the initial phase, between 1816 and 1892, the church-state partnership became institutionalized. Religious initiative and control, extremely limited state intervention, and vigorous competition of religious denominations for the allegiance of the inhabitants characterized this phase.
The intensification of denominational rivalry, the benign neglect of the colonial state, and the growing influence of United States Jesuit missionaries in education characterized the second phase which lasted from 1893 to 1934. In 1934 the director of education in Jamaica made a thorough investigation of British Honduras's education system. Reforms were proposed to increase spending on the school system and improve the standard of education. Implementation of many of these reforms began in the late 1930s.
During the next phase, from the late 1940s and early 1950s, the educational and social activities of the Jesuits influenced the rise of an anti-British, anticolonial nationalist movement. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Jesuits led efforts to redress the elitist, urban-centered biases of postprimary education that perpetuated social inequality and the historical dominance of Belize City over its primarily rural hinterland. By the late 1950s, the Jesuits had emerged as the dominant influence at almost every level of formal education.
With the advent of a large degree of self-rule in 1964, the government began to assert its control over schooling. Formal control over education policy and planning passed from British-born clerics and colonial administrators to British-trained Belizeans. Actual education practice, however, changed very little; the religious denominations continued to determine the direction and pace of education expansion. United States influence in Belizean schools intensified, not only through the adoption of certain Jesuit practices for systemwide use, but also through the arrival of Peace Corps and other United States volunteer teachers and agencies such as CARE and the Michigan Partners.
As the demand for education outstripped the capacities of the churches—even the Jesuits—to provide it, interdenominational cooperation grew and the state assumed a more central role. By the 1970s, the Belizean government had assumed the leading role in establishing new schools, especially at the secondary and tertiary levels. The government conceived of education as an essential tool in the peaceful struggle for independence. But the expansion of educational opportunities outstripped the state's resources, leading to an intensified reliance on external aid. Since 1981, the United States has provided the bulk of this aid. This situation caused many Belizeans to fear the rise of a new form of imperialist control over the country.
Nowhere were fears of recolonization more realized than in higher education. In 1979 the ruling People's United Party (PUP) government established the Belize College of Arts, Science, and Technology (Belcast) with the intention of breaking Belize's dependence on the outside world for university education. The PUP envisioned Belcast as a government-run institution, with no participation from the church. Funding was secured from the European Economic Community for the construction of a campus in Belmopan.
The campus was never built because the PUP was swept out of office in a landslide victory by the rival United Democratic Party (UDP) in December 1984. The UDP revoked the Belcast ordinance and invited Ferris State College of Big Rapids, Michigan, to establish and manage a new institution, the University College of Belize (UCB). Control over the UCB program rested not with Belizeans, but with the administration of Ferris State College. The birth of UCB embodied Belizean nationalists' worst fears: The country lost sovereignty over an institution that symbolized Belize's first major effort to break from the country's colonial past in the education sector. The intense controversy arose again in 1991 when it was discovered that Ferris State College had failed to obtain proper accreditation for the UCB program, thus placing into question the value of the degrees UCB had granted since 1987. Following this controversy, the new PUP government revoked its agreement with Ferris State and assumed full control over the institution.
The Belizean school system is a loose aggregate of education subsystems. The system is based on British education and is broken into three levels: Primary education, Secondary education and Tertiary education. Belizean children begin their eight years of primary education with two years of "infant" classes, followed by six "standards." Secondary education is divided into four "forms." Sixth form is a two-year post-secondary course, originally intended to prepare students for the Cambridge Advanced or "A-Level" examinations. Since the early 1970s, sixth-form institutions have also bestowed Associate of Arts degrees sanctioned by the United States Association of Junior Colleges.
Other post-secondary institutions include the University of Belize, Galen University, Wesley Junior College, in addition to UCB. Belize contributes to and participates in the multinational University of the West Indies. The University of the West Indies maintains an Open Campus site in Belize City.
Management of the system varies according to level. In the latter half of the 1980s, religious denominations controlled the majority of primary schools. The government or private, community-based boards of governors administered more than 50 percent of the secondary institutions. The preponderance of government institutions at the secondary level is a relatively new development; as recently as 1980, the majority of secondary schools were under religious management. Still, denominational representatives retain considerable influence on the managing boards of private, ostensibly nondenominational, institutions.
Secondary schools differ according to curriculum and cultural orientation. Most private and denominational schools emphasize academic and commercial studies, although some also offer technical-vocational programs. In contrast, the government directly manages nine schools, all of which offer a curriculum oriented to technical-vocational subjects.
In cultural orientation, education practices, rituals, and valuative criteria spread to Belize's schools from Jesuit institutions in the United States. Jesuit influence even affects such traditional bastions of British pedagogy as the Anglican and Methodist secondary schools and the government-run Belize Technical College. Nearly 30 years of Peace Corps and other United States volunteer teachers have also influenced Belizean education culture. Technical-vocational education programs by the United States Agency for International Development promise to erode further British pedagogical legacies.
Education in Belize is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 14 years for primary education. In 2001, 93.2 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years were attending school. The Education Act subjects parents to a fine of up to US$100 if their children of compulsory school age fail to attend school regularly. Even so, there is large number of school dropouts and children who are not receiving any education due to financial constraints.
Primary education is free, but related expenses, such as uniforms, books and annual school fees are a financial strain on poor families. Secondary schools and apprenticeship and vocational programs can only accommodate half of the children who complete primary school. In 2002 the gross primary enrollment rate was 122 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 99 percent. (Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect school attendance.) As of 1999, 81 percent of children enrolled in primary school were likely to reach grade 5. Results from the Child Activity Survey indicate that 12 percent of working children ages 5 to 14 years do not attend school.
While most tertiary schools in Belize have access to Internet and computer labs, much of the primary and secondary school system does without. Some prominent high schools and primary schools in more urban areas have access to computers and the Internet but have failed to integrate technology to deliver curricula.
There have been positive moves to change the present status. One is the Free Internet for Schools program by Belize Telemedia Limited which promises to offer free Internet connections to schools at speeds up to 256 kbit/s.
The Ministry of Education has embarked on a project to digitize course materials so technology mediums may be used to deliver the content. A pilot program has been implemented for six schools and is underway with grants from Rotary International and the IDB. Status of the project remains unclear given that more than a year has passed since the inception of the project.[ when? ]
Sacred Heart Junior College (SHJC) in San Ignacio, Cayo district of Belize started a project that attempts to get the basic requirement of having an Internet connection in every primary school and by having the schools establish a web presence via the free Google Sites for education. The project, Primary Wireless Web Labs, wishes to get schools to use more technology in the classroom for non-IT classes.
The head of the computer science program and the departments students volunteer their time to coordinate with agencies/organizations to get the free Internet connections, domain names, hosting, etc. setup. The students gain valuable experience in the setup of everything required and the schools get valuable Internet access and web presence. The team at SHJC further encourages the schools to access resources like the Khan Academy, educational YouTube videos, online teaching materials, etc. to get schools to use technology to make learning more fun and interactive. More information about this initiative is at www.primary.edu.bz.
|Age as of Dec 31||The U.S. and Canada (except Quebec)||Belize|
|4||Elementary: Kindergarten||Primary: Preschool|
|5||Elementary: Grade 1||Primary: Infant I|
|6||Elementary: Grade 2||Primary: Infant II|
|7||Elementary: Grade 3||Primary: Standard I|
|8||Elementary: Grade 4||Primary: Standard II|
|9||Elementary: Grade 5||Primary: Standard III|
|10||Elementary or Middle: Grade 6||Primary: Standard IV|
|11||Elementary, Middle or Jr High: Grade 7||Primary: Standard V|
|12||Elementary, Middle or Jr High: Grade 8||Primary: Standard VI/Primary School Examination (PSE)|
|13||Junior High or Secondary: Grade 9||Lower Secondary: 1st Form|
|14||Secondary: Grade 10||Lower Secondary: 2nd Form|
|15||Secondary: Grade 11||Upper Secondary: 3rd Form|
|16||Secondary: Grade 12||Upper Secondary: 4th Form. CXC Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Examinations (CSEC)|
A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools. The names for these schools vary by country but generally include primary school for young children and secondary school for teenagers who have completed primary education. An institution where higher education is taught, is commonly called a university college or university, but these higher education institutions are usually not compulsory.
Said Wilbert Musa is a Belizean lawyer and politician. He was the Prime Minister of Belize from 28 August 1998 to 8 February 2008.
Education in Canada is for the most part provided publicly, funded and overseen by federal, provincial, and local governments. Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province. Education in Canada is generally divided into primary education, followed by secondary education and post-secondary. Within the provinces under the ministry of education, there are district school boards administering the educational programs.
George Cadle Price, PC, OCC, was a Belizean statesman who served twice as the head of government of Belize from 1961–1984 and 1989–1993. He served as First Minister and Premier under British rule until independence in 1981 and was the nation's first prime minister after independence that year. He is considered to have been one of the principal architects of Belizean independence. Today he is referred to by many as the "Father of the Nation". Price effectively dominated Belizean politics from the early 1960s until his 1996 retirement from party leadership, serving as the nation's head of government under various titles for most of that period.
Education in Nepal was long based on home-schooling and gurukulas. The first formal school, established by Jung Bahadur Rana in 1853, was intended for the elite. The birth of Nepalese democracy in 1951 opened its classrooms to a more diverse population. Education in Nepal from the primary school to the university level has been modeled from the very inception on the Indian system, which is in turn the legacy of the old British Raj.
With a growing population, Syria has a good basic education system. Since 2000 the Government of Syria has significantly increased the expenditure on education 1 to 6. In 2002, elementary and primary education were combined into one basic education stage and education was made compulsory and free from grades 1 to 9.
The University of Belize (UB) is an English-speaking multi-locational institute for higher education, and the national university of the Belize. The institution offers certificates, diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor degrees, and a graduate degree. The UB Central Campus is in Belmopan City.
Following independence from the Soviet Union, a major economic depression cut "public financing" for education in Kazakhstan, "which dropped from 6% of gross domestic product in 1991 to about 3% in 1994, before rising to 4% in 1999." Elementary- and secondary-school teachers remain badly underpaid; in 1993 more than 30,000 teachers left education, many of them to seek more lucrative employment.
Education in the Philippines is provided by public and private schools, colleges, universities, and technical and vocational institutions in the country. Funding for public education comes from the national government. For the academic year 2017–2018, about 83% of K–12 students attended public schools and about 17% either attended private schools or were home-schooled.
St. John's College has three divisions and a number of central academic centres and activities. Through its divisions, it offers a wide variety of liberal arts and science courses at the secondary, British A-level, and United States junior college levels. St. John's College is a Roman Catholic institution in the Jesuit tradition, one of the oldest, largest, and most diverse educational institutions in Belize, founded by the Jesuits in 1887.
Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson was a Belizean newspaper editor, activist and politician. He served in the House of Representatives of Belize as member for the Albert constituency from 1965 to 1998 and twice as a minister. Goldson was a founding member of both of Belize's current major political parties, the People's United Party (PUP) in the 1950s and the United Democratic Party (UDP) in the 1970s. He was also the leading spokesman of the hardline anti-Guatemalan territorial claims National Alliance for Belizean Rights party in the 1990s.
Education in Libya begins with primary education, which is both free and compulsory. Children in Libya between the ages of 6 and 15 attend primary school and then attend secondary school for three additional years. About 60 percent of students are assigned to a vocational secondary program, while the remaining 40 percent are assigned to a more academic-focused secondary program, based on test scores and interests. Under Gadaffi, primary and secondary education focused on his treatise on political philosophy, the Green Book, with older students studying "Jamahiriya studies".
Bahrain has the oldest public education system in the Arabian Peninsula. The system was established in 1930 when the Bahraini government assumed responsibility for operating two pre-existing primary public schools for boys. Subsequently, separate girls' schools and various universities were established in the 20th century. According to data from the 2010 census, the literacy rate of Bahrain stands at 94.6%. As of 2016, education expenditure accounts for 2.7% of Bahrain's GDP.
The State of Kuwait, located at the head of the Persian Gulf, supports an educational policy that seeks to provide opportunity to all children, irrespective of their social class, including children with special needs. Kuwait was ranked 63rd on the Human Development Index report for 2011 by the United Nations Development Programme, placing Kuwait above the regional average. The education system in Kuwait has celebrated several achievements; in the year ending 2006, thirteen percent of all public expenditure was given to education, comparable to many OECD countries, although lower than other Arab nations. As a percentage of GDP, at 3.9 percent, it remains well below the OECD average.
Education in Ivory Coast continues to face many challenges. The literacy rate for adults remains low: in 2000, it was estimated that only 48.7% of the total population was literate. Many children between 6 and 10 years are not enrolled in school, mainly children of poor families. The majority of students in secondary education are male. At the end of secondary education, students can sit the Baccalauréat examination. The country has universities in Abidjan, Bouaké, and Yamoussoukro.
Education in Namibia is compulsory for 10 years between the ages of 6 and 16. There are approximately 1900 schools in Namibia of which 100 are privately owned. Namibian subjects' syllabi are based on the International General Certificate of Secondary Education which is part of Cambridge International. The Constitution directs the government to provide free primary education; however, families must pay fees for uniforms, stationery, books, hostels, and school improvements.
Education in Eswatini includes pre-school, primary, secondary and high schools, for general education and training (GET), and universities and colleges at tertiary level.
Belize's social structure is marked by enduring differences in the distribution of wealth, power, and prestige. Because of the small size of Belize's population and the intimate scale of social relations, the social distance between the rich and the poor, while significant, is nowhere as vast as in other Caribbean and Central American societies, such as Jamaica and El Salvador. Belize lacks the violent class and racial conflict that has figured so prominently in the social life of its Central American people.
This history of the Catholic church in Belize has three parts: the historical periods of the Catholic presence in Belize, religious congregations laboring in Belize, and apostolic works undertaken.