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Aug 10, 2007

Free textbooks distributed to schools

Story PictureThe first stage of government’s free textbook programme is in full swing as the first shipment of school supplies arrived in Belize earlier this week. News Five’s Jacqueline Godwin stopped by the Belize District’s Education Centre this morning to find out how the distribution is going.

Judy Diego, Manager, District Education Centre
“It has been a lot, a lot, a lot of planning. I plan when I sleep, I plan when I wake up, just for the process to be smooth. And I must say that I have a wonderful staff working here, I have wonderful facilitators over at the training, and we are going smoothly. I must say thanks to all of them.”

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
For the past two days, the staff at the Belize District Education Centre have been busy receiving and processing its supply of the text books that will be distributed free of cost to primary school children in September.

Judy Diego, Manager, District Education Centre
“The books came in last week and the containers were emptied at the Belize Elementary’s auditorium, that is really the hub, and the books were distributed from there to the districts.”

On Thursday the Belize district received its supply of seventeen thousand eight hundred and twenty textbooks in five subject areas: Language Arts, Mathematics, Spanish, Social Studies, and Science. Six processing clerks have been hired to prepare the books for distribution to primary schools. For accountability, each book will be stamped with a number, the name of the school and student.

Judy Diego
“The processing clerks will be processing the books, sorting them by subjects and by levels, then by school. We have our districts divided into zones, so we are going to load the books after they have been sorted by school on the truck, but all the books for the zones will be going off at the same time and then they will be dropping them off at the schools.”

“In September when school reopens, the principal will work with staff and then distribute the books by class, then each child will be given five texts; one book for each subject. Some of t he subject areas come with workbooks; the children will also be given their workbooks. The workbooks are not expected to be returned, but the textbooks we do have a system in place where the teachers will collect them and periodically make checks in order to keep the inventory going and to look at the condition of the books.”

According to Judy Diego, Manager of the Belize District Education Centre, booklets will be issued to school managers, principals, and teachers to guide them on how to manage the textbooks. Because children will be allowed to take the books home, parents will also be required to sign a contract, promising to keep them in good condition.

Judy Diego
“We do have seven hundred and thirty-four teachers in the Belize District and they will be receiving their manuals. And so at the moment they are conducting the training so that they will be able to align the books with the curriculum”

Education officials in the other five districts are conducting similar processing and training programmes in preparation for the school year. Jacqueline Godwin for News Five.

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