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Jun 1, 2018

Education Curriculum under Review

John Newport

The Ministry of Education regularly revamps curricula at primary level, but is only just now introducing a full secondary-level programme after mostly leaving it to schools. It recognizes its role in promoting social cohesion and unity and this will be achieved through both the new Belizean Studies programme and a new life skills programme to be introduced at secondary level. John Newport of the Ministry of Education tells us more.

 

John Newport, Director of Quality Assurance and Development Services, Ministry of Education

“A lot of the curriculums that we now have were developed in the 1990’s or sometimes even before, and society has changed; we all know that one of the things that has changed in society is social violence. And so the curriculum has to adapt to that, and Belizean Studies is one way of adapting to that; we’ll also develop a four-year life skills curriculum for students. But I think at a deeper level, you continually need to re-think your curriculum to say, it is still relevant? Relevant to two things: is it still meaningful to all students? Are their needs and aspirations being met? Does your secondary school student sit in school and think, ‘This is really important?’ Or does the secondary school student sit in school and say, ‘I don’t see how this relates to me?’ And we have to make sure that the curriculum we have, they are running to the lessons because it relates to them. And then at a different level, as a government, we have to say, how can we make sure that the curriculum means that we are producing citizens who will meet the needs of sustainable development? They will be the people who carry forward the development of the country, make sure that we are thriving in the mid-twenty-first century and beyond. So there are big questions there and if you don’t continually re-examine your curriculum, you end up with children learning in schools, which is interesting but not as dynamic, as purposeful and as useful as it could be.”

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