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Mar 1, 2018

Education still on top, but being prudent

Patrick Faber

Last year’s budget for the Ministry of Education was around two hundred and seventy-seven million dollars, about twenty-eight percent of government’s total fiscal expenditure.  This year’s, according to Minister Patrick Faber, it is about the same. But while he is not expecting any significant cuts, the Deputy Prime Minister says the ministry is trying to be prudent and efficient with what it spends while paying attention to major priorities, such as enacting literacy programs countrywide.

 

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“Every year the Ministry of Education receives an increase in its budget and it will e no different this year. That is simply because we have to cover the increment for teachers so you will see that increase and of course we continue to do innovative program. Some things that we have decided we are going to make small changes in terms of our spending. We have indicated for instance that literacy is going to be a national priority so we are going to try to put monies into that kind of initiative as much as we can…our feeding program, our apprenticeship program, all of these programs that are under the Ministry of Education. The t4ext book, school transportation, we will in fact introduce a change to the subsidy program. I don’t want to preempt it because I have not taken it to cabinet yet. But I am confident that cabinet on Friday tomorrow will approve the changes to the subsidy program that I believe all will be happy about. This is the 300 dollar subsidy program so you can expect some changes but changes in the positive direction but not anything that will be drastic to the extent that it will harm our education system…we will never support that. The Ministry of Education gets in excess of 25% a quarter of every dollar or more, more like 28% is spent on education. What we need in the ministry of education and with the budget of education is not an increase what we need is greater efficiency and a greater bang for our buck. In the region, hands down Belize spends the most on education than any other country. So I don’t necessarily think that an increase in our budget is what we need. We need to be using the monies that are allocated to us in a more efficient way and that might mean rocking the boat a bit but that that has to be gentle rocking because you know how fragile and how volatile our system is.”

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