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Better Secondary Education taking Shape - Three High Schools Collaborate to Improve Quality of Education Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 05 June 2014 00:00

front pic.jpg - 58.30 Kb“We can succeed only by concert. It is not can any of us imagine better? but, can we all do better? The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise - with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”- President Abraham Lincoln

Hon. Patrick Faber referred to this quote from President Lincoln when the Ministry of Education launched the Belize Education Sector Reform on January 16th, 2013. He has said numerous times, “We all know the problems that exist in the education sector; the question is do we have the guts to fix them.” Minister Faber has taken hits from critics for every reform he has championed; including, introduction of the Teaching Services Commission, ban on corporal punishment and the reform of secondary school financing. Now the Minister’s critics are accusing him of attempting to amalgamate three high schools on the Southside of Belize City.

The Ministry of Education held a press conference on Wednesday, June 4, to clarify the misinformation that has been let loose. Brenda J. Armstrong and Sister Caritas Lawrence of the Secondary Unit in the Ministry of Education were joined by senior representatives of Maud Williams High School, Sadie Vernon High School and Excelsior High School to explain that there will be no amalgamation of schools but instead a merging of curricula in order to improve the quality of education offered to students of all three schools.

The Belize Education Sector Reform has three main objectives: improving governance in the education sector with emphasis on improved student achievement; increasing access and equity at all levels of education and enhancing quality and relevance throughout the education system. The core objectives of the reform, through the Quality Child Friendly School Initiative, challenged participating schools to conduct self-improvement assessments with a specific focus on improving the curriculum. They also looked at ways to maximize resources provided by Government as well as initiatives to enhance quality and relevance throughout the education system by rationalizing and diversifying the secondary curriculum. Based on the self assessments, the schools work with the Ministry on a ‘School Improvement Plan’.

Maud Williams, Sadie Vernon and Excelsior High School identified similar challenges in their assessments. It was suggested that the institutions work with each other to address the challenges faced. With the assistance of the Ministry of Education’s Secondary Unit, the schools developed a plan to merge resources, expand curriculum and improve the students’ quality of education. The three schools will remain independent but feature a similar curriculum. The students will have a greater number of options for subjects they wish to major in. For example, Excelsior High previously only had technical and vocational majors but now students of Excelsior High School will be able to study science, business and the arts at Sadie Vernon or Maud Williams High and receive the credit. Students of the three schools will be able to take technical and vocational courses at the Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training as part of their school’s curriculum. Each school is benefitting from an expanded curriculum. Marshall Nunez, Chairman of the Board at Excelsior High School, says he believes the sharing of resources will result in an “incremental improvement in the quality of education for our students at Excelsior High School”. Hon. Patrick Faber says, “This is simply for the benefit of our students.” He endorses the initiative of the schools and the Secondary Unit of the Ministry.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 June 2014 17:44
 

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