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Aug 24, 2011

UNICEF Report says school success hindered by lack of school supplies

UNICEF released a study on the status of women and children’s development today. Women and children are lagging behind in education and according to the report school success is hindered by low public awareness due to the lack of supplies. There are also limited opportunities and job skills training. The weak economy and extremely high poverty levels are also contributing factors to their inequity. There was some improvement, however, in respect of health indicators. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The Situation Analysis of Children and Women in Belize 2011; it’s a comprehensive report on the successes and failures in addressing numerous social ills. Belize’s UNICEF Representative, Christine Norton, says that now that the information has been compiled, it is going to take more than the government to address the needs that are highlighted in the situation analysis.

Christine Norton

Christine Norton, Belize Representative, UNICEF

“Understanding the situation of children; it’s complex and the web of factors can’t be addressed by government alone, it can’t be addressed in terms of the work that UNICEF does alone. It will take a much wider partnership and I think that’s one of the key messages that comes out. It will take a much wider partnership. I think everyone needs to be aware of where your role sits. So village leaders, mayors, teachers, parents all have a role.”

As it relates to the education system, the recent ban on corporal punishment was praised, but the barriers highlighted in the analysis include cost of fees and transportation as well as a lack of cultural flexibility and stimulating opportunities. Mark Edberg presented the findings today and the economic climate was key concern.

Mark Edberg

Mark Edberg, Associate Prof., School of Public Health & Health Services, George Washington University

“Poverty and wealth inequity are still significant. So the overall poverty rate is forty-one point three percent and the child poverty rate is fifty percent. And you can see from looking at it, how that plays out by district. So one of the themes that will come up of course is that in this sort of broad framework there are sub-ecologies by district. The data we have show that that recent economic slowdown affected textiles, which dropped by seventy-four percent, oil mining and coring dropped by forty-eight percent, citrus dropped by forty-four percent, fishing by thirty-four percent and tourism by thirty-six percent. And there were other industries that either remained the same or even made some small gains. Youth unemployment was also impacted very seriously and all of this, of course, has impacted families and family sustenance and the ability of families to find and use resources.”

There was a mix of good and bad news on the health of Belize’s women and children as Edberg explained, starting with the positive initiatives.

Mark Edberg

“Vaccine coverage, better access to anti retroviral therapy for aids patients, prevention of peri-natal HIV transmission, which is a model program, national health insurance, a health information system and completion of the sexual behavior survey in 2009. Some of the issues that we found in the data were low capacity in terms of train personnel and data systems; a number o issues related to HIV/AIDS where prevention efforts were not always reaching those at highest risk, including adolescents and girls out of school; people who were in prison; individuals in rural and tourist areas; fairly high levels of HIV stigma and fairly low level of knowledge in terms of HIV/AIDS transmission rates.  In terms of mental health, generally a lack of attention to mental health issues and services, including those relating to substance abuse. And overall, there is an emerging disease profile that is moving from infectious and communicable diseases to lifestyle related conditions. Infant mortality, you can see there has been a recent drop but within that category, neonatal deaths are still high. So Belize is one of the Latin America/Caribbean countries with rates of over twenty per thousand and in that between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of neonatal mortality has decreased. It’s still high, but it has decreased during that period from fifty-nine percent of those deaths to forty-one percent.”

One problem that needs to be urgently addressed is the treatment of disabled children.

Mark Edberg

“In terms of care of disabled children, some of the barriers are that families are expected to provide the primary care yet at the same time they have inadequate access to resources, not enough training and support, there’s generally a lack of public awareness of rights of the disabled. So the result is in many cases neglect and stigma.”

Kim Simpliss Barrow

Kim Simpliss Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children

“We talk about children’s rights and we talk about all children have rights… all, children with disabilities too and they are often left out and they are the most abused in this world. So we need to take a stand and we need to really get the message out there that we won’t stand for this.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

It was also revealed that while there are laws and policies in place to protect against exploitation, trafficking, victimization and discrimination, the institutional capacity is not up to par. This has translated into limited access to the appropriate courts and social and legal services. It is also resulting in commercial sexual exploitation of children, trafficking, child abuse and labor exploitation.

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5 Responses for “UNICEF Report says school success hindered by lack of school supplies”

  1. Please Man says:

    This crowd like talk, talk, talk..According to Hubert, that set in Belmopan does not have the mental capacity to lead us.

  2. Earl Grey says:

    And ALL THEY STILL DO IS TALK – TALK – TALK………..

    IT TIME TO DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    LET THE FIRST LADY LEAD THE WAY…………………….and LEAD BY EXAMPLE!!!!!!
    WHAT IS THE ACTION PLAN?????
    She could be more than just a trophy wife.

  3. c says:

    spend less in litigation and more in education…first lady remind your husband that he was elected to make Belize betta and not to spend all the money in litigation. We have money to go to international courts, yet our children dont have education supplies…what kind of PM is your husband??

  4. rod says:

    no surprize here everything is in the toilet since this gov. and pm took over the country belize once one of the best countries in the world for education now under this admistration every aspect of life in be lize is in the drain now all we have are uneducated fools running around belize because of this inept gov. and pm worse in the history of belize wow we cant get any lower

  5. fight for justice says:

    LOIS YOUNG BARROW NEEDS TO INVEST\GIVE BAK SOME OF THE MILLIONS OF $$$$$$$ SHE HAS BEEN COLLECTING OUT OF THE POOR BELIZEANS,SHE NEEDS TO GIVE IT BAK TO THE POOR CHILDREN WHO CANNOT AFFORD TO GO TO SCHOOL,OK MS.LOIS YOUNG BARROW.ALSO MR PM U DA LONE R@$$,U DA LONE TALKKKKK,WE NO SEE NO BENEFITS ONLY UR CRONIES AND UR FAMILY ARE GETTING RICHER EVERY DAY.

  6. someone says:

    Earl, they “talk talk all day, talk talk all night, they wanna run their mouth but their bark don’t bite” as Shadowyze, the Belizean American rapper says in his song. Check it out on youtube.

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