The UDP have been nothing if not consistent. They have consistently not provided value for money. So it has been with the multitude of ill-conceived and constructed infra-structure projects and similarly with the education service our children and young people receive. Plan Belize puts the emphasis squarely back on her people, their wellbeing, prosperity, safety, health and growth. Over the last twelve years we have lost countless in a generation of young people, even while the budget for education in our country has increased to almost twenty five percent of the total fiscal budget. Yet, each year test scores plummet and many more children drop out of school. The Education policy of the PUP seeks to address those issues that most affect our young people’s ability to take full advantage of education and seeks to increase the educational opportunities presently available.
The Education policy unveiled at the Princess this week is a comprehensive and well thought out plan of action that begins with the National Healthy Start Feeding Program that will provide especially at risk children with food security and encourage parents to send them to school. The Universal Pre-School Education and the guarantee of Free Education from Preschool to Junior College seeks to establish a more even playing field for students to flourish. The Equal Opportunity Rural Education Grant Fund and the Fair Access Higher Education Loan Fund are two programs that seek to increase the access and equal opportunity for a quality education to students who must face more challenges than others.
This revolutionary plan seeks to use technology to aid the access of quality education even in remote areas of the country through the use of laptops from Standard four to fourth Form. In addition the use of electronic copies of text books will mean that monies currently spent on replacing hard copies can now be allocated more wisely. Education requires investment in students, but it also necessitates the edification of our teachers with continuous timely and relevant instruction. Aware of this the PUP reaffirms its commitment to teachers by focusing on Leadership, Administration and Teacher Training and the establishment of a Teacher and Learning Institute. The streamlining and reform of the Ministry of Education along with the elimination of wastage and leakages of funds will provide ample funds to once again invest in Special Education needs.
There are currently 102,000 important reasons why we must succeed in the reinvigorating of the educational system in Belize. Each of them equipped with the necessary tools that can help to break the cycles of poverty, violence and crime in their own families. Instead of labelling them as peasants, little monsters and discarding them we need to embrace the arduous task to ensure these students become productive, healthy and happy members of Belizean society. We cannot afford to lose anymore children to the streets, to poverty, to crime or to hunger, while we continue to allow red tape and bureaucracy to eat away at the resources, we must pour into the education of young Belizeans. Education is the tool young Belizeans will use to change the current social narrative, transform our society and revitalize the economy. #planbelize #everybodyfiwin