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May 7, 2013

Shift of funding from tertiary to primary level?

Patrick Faber

Following today’s launch of the Southside Feeding Program at the Skills Training Center on Magazine Road in Belize City, the media had a chance to discuss the future of the Ministry of Education’s plans during Education Showcase 2013. Minister Patrick Faber has often referred to a focus on primary school rather than tertiary level to build a proper foundation. Faber spoke about P.S.E. passing marks and says though some funds will be focused on Primary level education, there is still plenty being spent on tertiary level education.

 

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“The P.S.E. does not preclude anybody from going to high school. In fact, not making the over sixty mark on the P.S.E. is now something that the schools use in order to attract funding under the new way of school financing. So it is an indicator to us that we need to work harder. It is an indicator to the schools that they now need to do what they need to do; putting in measures that are trying to correct these problems from the very early stages. We are doing diagnostics testings from early childhood. When I say that I mean infant two, infant one, standard one so that these problems can be caught. These things are not going to be fixed overnight and you are right in pointing out that it is something that happens every year, but it did not drop out of the sky either. It is a problem that we need to dedicate time to and you can be assured that our ministry sees this as something that is perennial and that we need to fix. And we have been working at it but you won’t see those results over night. We are hoping that you see those over the course of time.”

 

Jules Vasquez, Channel 7

“Sir we see more expenditure in this area, but we have heard reports that the Ministry of Education will no longer be providing scholarships and assistance to tertiary education. I know you’ve said that before that primary and preschool is your emphasis, but there are so many of your own representatives for the U.D.P. who require those things to support their constituents. Are you all no longer providing that assistance?”

 

Patrick Faber

That’s not true at all. I’m not doing it in the manner that lot have become accustomed to; that is giving out grants. But every student who makes the six CXC passes receives a tuition scholarships from this administration if they are full time students. That is an injection into tertiary. We pump a tremendous amount of money in paying the teachers at sixth forms across this country. We give U.B. ten million dollars a year in terms of its subvention; that is an injection into tertiary. We pay tuition for every single second year student who has a certain amount of credit hours and makes at least a two point seven five or something like that; we pay for all of them. So it is just that we are not giving out grants because we simply can’t afford it. We’re trying to reduce what we owe to UB. You know I’ve long said we owe them a huge amount of money. I am trying to reduce that and get our balance to zero. And then we can invest the monies in ways that will be more equitable for our students who want tertiary education. But absolutely not; we are spending close to thirty million dollars out of that money on tertiary education. So nobody can accuse this ministry of cutting funds to the tertiary level. That some was set at an annual rate of I think three million dollars, we subsequently changed it. In fact it rose as high as eight point six million. In this current financial year, what was approved was seven point five million. So there was a cut in terms of what we’re spending on grants in tertiary. But this money remember is what we use to help those students who are out in Cuba with a stipend; those students who are in Guatemala at San Carlos studying medicine and in Mexico and in Costa Rica. And this is also the money that we use to pay for professional and technical scholarships. And we give to UB students as well for travelling, bursaries and stuff like that. So there is a lot that goes on with this money that is certainly not being brought to a halt.”

 

The showcase is being held under the theme, “Working Together: Stakeholders Partnering to Enhance Education.”

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5 Responses for “Shift of funding from tertiary to primary level?”

  1. Rod says:

    Worse the worse education minister Belize has ever had how can we have a thief as minister of education and the students in Belize di get more dunce than even the American students all under this useless corrupt thieving pm and gov.

  2. Jay says:

    The poor results on our education
    1) Parents not involved
    2) Classroom over crowd; Check the school around you will see classes 30-40 kids in a class i beth half of them will learn.
    3) Early education, pre school, are we training our teachers
    4) Economy- mom and dad can no longer finance education for kids. No new jobs
    5) cost of living high.
    6) Political interference: I am Qualified but because John Doe connected with the ruling party or affiliate to a church he gets the job

    But it seems politicians like it this way, so people depend on them on every day life, I wonder by southside people have the same politician over and over, they doing a an excellent job,????

  3. Ruler says:

    The foundation of education starts at home. Also, Primary Education is the initial stage of education and has as its basic aim to create, establish and offer the country productive citizens. The minister is precisely doing the right thing. History of other countries have proven that once the primary school children get the education foundation at this stage their country flourishes in the future.

    What the minister should do is establish an agreement (establish and implement) with tertiary students to do community service at different institutions of the careers they pursue.

  4. Eye in the Sky says:

    What Faber has finally had the guts to show his ugly head again in public. Better watch out the big bad Gappi might get you again.

  5. spotfire says:

    @Ruler – primary education is NOT the initial stage of education. Early childhood development 36-59 months of age is a critical time in a child’s life, and is when it is important to start interacting with them – reading, drawing, playing, and teaching them literacy and numeracy. Look at the MICS4 results – they have an entire section on an ECD index – and the area of most concern in Belize – numeracy and literacy. Less than half are on track in this subject!! Less than half!!! Now look again at the average scores at PSE in math and english – around 50%. Tell me there’s not a link here!

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