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A Central American Education Policy Proposal reviewed in Belmopan Print E-mail
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Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00

A Central American Education Policy PEC Proposal for the year 2013 to 2021 was reviewed at the University of Belize (UB) Gymnasium on Tuesday of this week in Belmopan. The morning session saw the participation of the main stakeholders from the Belize Ministry of Education as well as the proponents of a Central American effort to unite the region towards higher educational standards.

The thrust for PEC is being headed by Maria Eugenia Paniagua, Secretary General of the Central American Education and Culture Coordination area within the Central America Integration System (SICA), who told the Guardian that funding for the Project was largely coming from the European Union. Maria Paniagua believes that Belize’s Education Authorities have a firm grip on what is to be done within the education sector.

The proposal for PEC follows a recommendation from the Council of Ministers of Education of Countries belonging to SICA, in keeping with Resolution Number One of the 16th Meeting of Ministers of Education held in San Salvador, El Salvador on December  1st and 2nd of 2011. PEC itself is a set of guidelines chartering a common course in education matters as identified by regional priorities.

“The issues that we struggle with are all the same, and it is as a result of an initiative like this one to bring together one policy to deal with education.  Education is so very important; I think that Belize has a very special role to play in that it can create a linkage between the CARICOM Region, which it is a part of, and also this body here [PEC/SICA] that promotes the kind of integration that we know is essential if we are to survive in this very Globalized World today,” said the Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports.

In his presentation on Tuesday, David Leacock, Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, compared the priorities as set within PEC with Belize’s Education Sector Strategy. Leacock said that while the cost of delivering education has been rising, Belize’s efforts in the educational sector shared many synergies with the current PEC Proposal.

As it stands the Central American Education Policy Proposal aims to have every Central American Child complete a full cycle of free schooling of nine years with a post-basic of two years for adolescents. Under PEC, the Central American Governments will favor improvements in the recruitment, training, update and accreditation of educators at all levels within the educational system. Among the strategic actions, PEC will create the conditions of social recognition and economic incentives for the professional teaching career, which will encourage the retention of trained teachers.

Several participants at Tuesday’s educational session at the University of Belize encouraged the continued investment in human capital and the opening of new opportunities to match those investments, in an effort to discourage the flight of such capital to other regions of the Globe.

The PEC team left Belize on Tuesday evening in preparation for a similar summit with Education Leaders in Guatemala.