MOE launches Quality Child-Friendly Schools Program Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 17 May 2012 00:00

Hon. Patrick Faber with students of schools in the pilot programOn Monday, May 14, the Ministry of Education launched the National Quality Child-Friendly Schools Program at the House of Culture in Belize City. UNICEF developed a framework for child friendly educational systems and schools and has introduced it to countries that signed on to the Convention on the Rights of a Child.

According to UNICEF, a child-friendly school or any social system and agency that affect children should be based on the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore, a child-friendly school should ensure every child an environment that is physically safe, free from violence and abuse, emotionally secure and psychologically enabling. Child-friendly schools are not only focused on learning but also focused on the learner. Such schools aim to develop a learning environment in which children are motivated and able to learn. Staff members are friendly and welcoming to children and attend to all their health and safety needs. Parental and family involvement is very important in child-friendly schools because a child’s home environment impacts their capacity to learn.

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, was extremely pleased that the project was finally ready for launch. The Ministry has been working on the project for more than two years. It was piloted in 9 schools and the success seen in those cases has prompted the Ministry to expand the program to 30 schools across the country.  Through the program, schools will be guided at self-improvement with a specific focus on improving the curriculum. The program is especially important to Minister Faber because it emphasizes the importance of universal participation on the improvement of education in Belize. Areas of self-improvement include having teachers that care for their profession, encouraging community participation and having some level of quality assurance through effective inspectorate of the school.

The curriculum will not only focus on academics but students will be taught what they need to face the challenges of the new century.

The launch of the National Quality Child-Friendly Schools Program coincides with the celebration of education. Each municipality will hold its launch of the program locally on Thursday, May 17.