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Aug 31, 2023

Ministry of Education Says There’s No Rush to Implement New Curriculum

Louis ZabanehOn Tuesday, the President of the Belize National Teachers’ Union, Ruth Shoman questioned what she referred to as a rush to implement the competency-based curriculum by the Ministry of Education. Shoman reasoned that some teachers have not yet been consulted on the new curriculum and pointed to the lack of basic resources at some schools, such as adequate transportation and potable water. Well the ministry fired off a press release on Wednesday and clarified two statements that Shoman made on the implementation of the Competency-based Education Curriculum and the matter of Continuing Professional Development credits to teachers. The release states in part “The entire effort to transition to C.B.E has been done in close partnership with the B.N.T.U, managements, and local and international partners. As has been very well covered in the media, our National Curriculum Framework was developed by a committee comprised of a cross-section of stakeholders and education experts, including the B.N.T.U, and we have been engaged in extensive country-wide consultations with teachers, principals, and other stakeholders that have led to a spirit of partnership and joint ownership of the process”. We caught up with Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Doctor Louis Zabaneh at the Investment Summit in San Pedro and he said there’s no rush to introduce the new curriculum.


Dr. Louis Zabaneh, Minister of State, Education

“There’s absolutely no rush. From day one, we made it clear to our teachers and principals that we are operating on a basis of flexibility – very important because we understand that, you know, to make such a transition will require many, many changes – first, a whole mindset change needs to occur. So that’s why the last year was called a transition year. It’s a transition in terms of our thinking and understanding of what education really means because we’re talking about improving quality. But at the same time we’re talking about ensuring that we have equity in our education system, that we have – that we’re providing relevant education for what we see, not tomorrow, but in the next 10, 20, 30 years. So we need to be flexible, uh, it’s, it would be impractical for us to think that such a dramatic change could occur in just one year. So what we’ve done with high schools, for example, we’ve asked them to give us a three year plan. So the plan would be now from this new school year starting, uh, three academic years into the future. What it is that you believe you need to do first, second, third, prioritizing it? Where are the areas you need more support? So for example, is it the issue with how do you assess for, uh, competencies? Or is it the issue of learning the methodologies like project based or problem based learning? Whatever the issue is, um, you prioritize it over a three, three years, which is certainly not rushing anything, and then we work together. Um, in case of primary schools, we work based on demand so that our district education centers, um, team up with support teams of best practice teachers that we now have in place for both primary and secondary. And so a school, Holy Angels, let’s say, in the Stan Creek Valley, where I went to school would say ministry in the D.C. in Dangriga. You know we need some assistance with X, Y, or Z. They come in the D. C. along with the relevant, uh, persons from the support team and we find out what is going on at Holy Angels per se. Uh, we assess that properly and then we work with them. So it’s flexibility is key.”

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