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2018 Youth Innovation Challenge Print E-mail
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Thursday, 10 May 2018 00:00

The opening ceremony of the fifth annual Youth Innovation Challenge was held on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex. This year’s challenge, held under the theme “Literacy for Financial Security”, saw the participation of ten secondary schools from the Belize District. Those schools included San Pedro High School, Caye Caulker Ocean Academy, Ladyville Technical High School, Edward P. Yorke, Saint Catherine Academy, Saint John’s College, Sadie Vernon Technical, Anglican Cathedral College, Gwen Lizarraga High School, and Belize High School.

Peacework, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports took the collaborative effort to see the success of this year’s program. During the keynote speeches and opening remarks, delivered by Michael Shaw and Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister, the importance of literacy was highlighted. While literacy has already been launched with national priority, Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Education, says that the ministry sees a focus on financial literacy as an integral part of the development of young people. “Too many times, we see people saying that they can’t provide some of their basic needs and many times it is because they cannot manage their money, they don’t save regularly, they don’t budget”.

Exposing students to financial literacy skills exists as a part of the ministry’s Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) program and is the primary focus of the challenge. While financial literacy is not a concept that can be taught in the two-day challenge, it does provoke the right thinking in the students as well as the teachers.

During Minster Faber’s opening remarks, he constantly underscored the importance of the program as well as this year’s topic. The students were well exposed to the importance of financial literacy in their everyday lives. “Literacy and numeracy are of course very important to Belize’s development. At the Ministry of Education we are promoting literacy as our primary focus”. Like Faber, Shaw, who represented Scotia Bank, one of the sponsors of the challenge, also conveyed his idea of education and its importance when considering people’s value of life.

Understanding that importance, the participants took to the challenge. Two students, Layla Evans from SCA and Ashanti Rubio of Anglican Cathedral College, spoke about the challenge. Evans feels that since the SCA team was the winner of the 2017 challenge, they already established a standard and had to work even harder this year. Both Evans and Rubio enforced the concepts of time management and teamwork when attempting to accomplish a goal of this or any magnitude. They were both proud to be a part of the challenge.

For their hard work, the students would not go home empty-handed. The first place winners received $750 and a tablet per person as well as a printer for their school. Each member of the second place team received $500 for each member as well as the other prizes. The third place winners received $250 per person and other prizes. The schools that did not place would each win a scholarship to give to a deserving student.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 May 2018 13:06