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Nov 7, 2012

Bringing policy together to help youths who fall through the cracks

Judith Alpuche

Representatives from the World Bank are in the country working with the Ministry of Human Development and other related institutions such as the Ministry of Education to improve and enhance policies that improve social conditions across the population. Vulnerable age groups were a consistent topic of the discussion the group held with the media on Tuesday.  The Ministry of Education C.E.O. David Leacock addressed the issue of attendance. He pointed out that there was ninety five percent net enrolment of five to twelve year olds in the population based on the latest census data. However, his presentation to the World Bank reps. and the Ministry of Human Development focused on the need for all stakeholders to address thirteen to sixteen year olds because net enrollment for that age range is fifty percent.

 

Judith Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation & Poverty Alleviation

“This is about the next generation because if you look especially the programs that we are putting on the grounds, we are talking about investment in human capital. These are long-haul programs that we are talking about; in terms of the CCT, etcetera. And when Mr. Flowers talks about it, if you look at the core of what the CCT are trying to accomplished or the core of what we are trying to accomplish in terms of secondary schools financing reform—the equity and access issues for poor and vulnerable children. this is about investment in human capital and that takes longer than five years.”

 

David Leacock

David Leacock, C.E.O., Ministry of Education

“We are not doing nearly as well and also at tertiary. Preprimary, we have less than fifty percent access—I think it is in the high thirties. At secondary, I think we have about net enrolment of fifty percent based on latest census data. And a gross enrolment of about sixty-three percent—net enrolment is what percent of the thirteen to sixteen year olds in the population are actually enrolled in a high school. We are to fifty percent. And gross enrolment is a total population in high school as percentage a percentage of the thirteen to sixteen year olds in the population. And so, gross enrolments are normally higher than net enrolment because of overage children and underage children in that particular level of education. Is there a relation between crime and gross enrolment in high school? If you look at the two lines on that graph there—at the top you see gross enrollment in high school rate; it hovers around low to mid fifties and at the bottom you see those who are convicted of crimes under sixteen. If you look at the shape of the two lines you will see that they are almost mirror images meaning that when enrolment is up crime is down. And when enrolment is down, crime is up. So there seems to be some relationship there and that kinda points to the need to address the issue of enrolment; particularly at secondary, but also we also need to have the preventative and address issues at earlier stages as well.”

 

John Flowers

John Flowers, Social Planner, Ministry of Human Development

“Those issues and living conditions and the exclusion of those communities are certainly at the heart of what we are trying to break because obviously we have not gotten there overnight. And sometimes I think the expectation is that we will reverse and solve these matters overnight. So when we look at the next segment of presentations you will see exactly how the instruments that we are employing seeks to leverage the wider government systems; it has multiple objectives and it seeks to invest as he was saying in the human capital. At the same time it has short-term objectives of some basic income transfers that is small, but steady because then people can plan around that. You can get your children in school, you can get your children immunized; you are pregnant in the first trimester, you visit the clinic—don’t wait till the complications set in and yo di born di baby and then we have the problems. So it is about early preventive care and investment in early childhood stimulation.”

 

Following that discussion, a series of meetings were held this week with the World Banks Social Protection Specialists, the Social Investment Fund and the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation to continue to enhance Belize’s social policies.

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1 Response for “Bringing policy together to help youths who fall through the cracks”

  1. Storm says:

    A lot of things are connected. I don’t believe there will be high levels of success in keeping teens in school without dealing with the parents and motivating them to motivate their children.

    Jailing parents for chronic truancy of their children should not be out of the question. When parents have to pay a price for something within their responsibility, maybe they will do what they should.

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