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Jan 31, 2018

The Future of Belizean Education

Students from all over Belize gathered at the SCA Auditorium to learn more about the opportunities for higher-level education in Belize and overseas. The Ministry of Education says it wants more students to consider tertiary education and so they hosted a one-day expo to promote educational programmes, career paths as well as local and international scholarship opportunities available. Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Hundreds of high-schoolers got a first-hand opportunity to explore their options for tertiary education at the Ministry of Education’s annual “Belize Too Education Expo.” Local and foreign colleges, universities, technical and vocational schools, as well as other education support organizations and lending institutions displayed educational programmes, shared scholarship opportunities and education financing plans to prospective students. The ministry uses the “Belize Too Education Expo” to encourage students pursue tertiary education after high school.

 

Derrick Satchwell

Derrick Satchwell, Dep. Dir. of Tertiary & Post-Secondary Education Services

“We feel like there is nothing like asking a live person your question. Sometimes you don’t get the nuances and the details that you want from online research. I will say that, yes, it does start with online research and you have to do a lot of it and there is so much out there that you can’t get it here and we think that the face-to-face is helpful.  We have COBEC partners here and we are particularly pleased to have two technical community colleges from Wisconsin that is part of COBEC project, as well as our ITVETS because we have to keep pushing the idea that technical and vocational education play an important part of our national development strategy so we want both options on the table for everyone. But other than that we have our traditional partners that offer the kinds of program that other people look for. We have the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they have an interesting backdrop to their booth and they are actually showing all the different countries where opportunities are available and we encourage people to explore and not to be afraid  of difference and to take the opportunities where you find them.   They do offer part scholarships; there are some full scholarships available and yes we have been pushing and we think that we are getting better response now and we are losing as many response as we used to. And like you said, it is not just coming here to the fair, we maintain an active Facebook page of all the opportunities that we see; our actual Ministry website have a scholarship link that people are able to visit.”

 

Trudy Joseph Swazo

The University of Belize is one of the local tertiary institutions promoting higher-level education. The booth has been busy all morning as the University accepts applications for the upcoming new school year.

 

Trudy Joseph Swazo, Marketing & Communications Officer, UB

“What we are offering today is an application receipt just stating that they have actually submitted what is required and even hand in that application receipt over to them, we see the smiles on the their face; they are very excited. We have persons who are coming together as friends and colleagues and so, to me, it means that when they do enter into the University of Belize, they have someone that they will be able to share university experience with. So, we are happy that we have some parents that are actually out here also with their children, some of them are actually bringing in the applications.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“They are dropping off applications, what are some of the questions you are hearing about education at UB?”

 

Trudy Joseph Swazo

“Well, a lot of people are talking about scholarships. The scholarships that we offer are sports scholarship and we have a lot of those that we offer every single semester. We also work with other institutions that offer scholarships to the University of Belize. We also have some students who want to know the scholarships that might be offered in Belmopan or Belize City. They have their preference.  Apart from the new programs we have, we also have some additional online programs too numerous to mention and so anyone who wants additional information on the UB can visit our website: www.ub.edu.bz and if it is that they have a specific program that they want enter into they can, or if they are not sure , for instance, they may want to be a lawyer and we may not have paralegal course, there are other courses that they may be able to take to get them to where they want to go.”

 

But getting accepted into a school is one thing – to finance that education is another. And if students don’t get scholarships, banks and other financial institutions can fund and support education. Today, Scotia Bank is talking credit cards, education loans and even career opportunities in the banking sector.

 

Elio Cabanas

Elio Cabanas, Marketing Manager, Scotia Bank

“We do have a wide range of products that we offer and some students might need some sort of assistance through student loans that is available. Some students that are travelling abroad and studying abroad, a product that is very convenient for them is credit card. We have a wide range of credit cards that are available and they have great reward incentives attach to them. They are very useful with great rates and so forth.  As well as the career opportunities that are available at Scotia Bank and benefits that are associated with that kind of employment, what they can expect; the different roles and opportunities for them to take up employment within and even regionally, outside of it because we are a very large bank with eighty-eight thousand employees outside and a hundred and forty locally, so there is plenty of opportunities. So, telling them of the different areas such as telling, customer service, branch managers. The different roles – there is risk; there’s marketing, as I am involved in and wide range of other opportunities that other institutions might not be able to offer but we can. And to let them know that that is available and create that kind of awareness.”

 

COBEC partners Valdosta State University and the University of North Florida, among others, showcased at today’s tertiary education expo. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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