Hundred Percent of Stann Creek Teachers trained Print E-mail
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Written by The Guardian   
Thursday, 27 September 2012 00:00

Hon. Patrick Faber and participants in “Education Day”On Sunday, September 23rd, the Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, attended a special showcase at the Georgetown Technical High School (GTHS). In November of 2010, the Ministry of Education collaborated with the University of Belize to launch the Banana Belt Teacher Training Program.

The program is financed by the European Union at $1.2 million and is aimed at upgrading the quality of education for primary school students in the Banana Belt communities of Southern Belize. The project includes professional development training for teachers in key areas such as early childhood education, reading, mathematics and science. It also provides professional training for school administrators and parenting support.  

On Sunday, some 150 student-teachers showcased their new skills and techniques at an event they called “Education Day”. It was an appreciation gesture to those who have supported the program. Special Guests at the event were Hon. Patrick Faber, Ambassador Paola Amadei, the Head of Delegation, European Union Delegation to Jamaica, Belize, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and Cayman Islands and Dr. Cary Fraser, President of the University of Belize. Other guests included the Chief Executive Officers in the Ministries of Education, Youth & Sports, Economic Development and Agriculture.

Minister Faber reiterated the importance of teacher training in establishing the quality of education we deserve. At the time the Banana Belt program started in 2010, only about 15% of the teachers were trained in early childhood education. There were approximately 45% trained primary school teachers and 30% trained secondary school teachers. Those numbers have certainly improved due to initiatives such as the certificate program in Primary Education which trained more than 860 teachers with pedagogy skills. 23 teacher trainers graduated from a UWI program in December of 2010 and Minister Faber continues to seek training opportunities for Belizean teachers. He had approached the US Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC) and some of the colleges and universities from the program have already pledged support to help with training of teachers. The Inter-American Development Bank has also displayed a willingness to assist in the area of teacher training.

A graduation for the student-teachers at Georgetown Technical will be held at the end of October. Minister Faber is proud of the fact that the graduation will mean that one hundred percent of secondary school teachers in the Stann Creek District have been trained. A graduation scheduled for next summer will mean that one hundred percent of primary school teachers in the Toledo District have been trained. The Banana Belt also includes villages in the north of the Toledo District. Teachers from those villages have also benefited from the European Union-sponsored program.