REPORT #84 July 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust
While the centralized Education Department continues to work on curriculums, various testing devices and that sort of thing. The actual performance of education in Belize in preparing students for entrepreneurial activities in a third world pioneer country like Belize, continues to fail.

Corozal Community College is probably the most successful school in Belize right now. St. John's College in the largest town down the middle of the coast probably has the largest student body. SJC as it is called is infamous, rather than famous, for training top notch academics that go abroad to the USA and excel at studies and disciplines in various famous Universities. The only problem with this scenario is that, the students rarely ever come back to improve their country of origin. SJC could rightly be bragged about both as the premier institution of academic education and the greatest exporter of bright young people, as the brain drain abroad.

When one tours the district high schools and colleges, it is obvious to the most simple minded, that there is no initiative, or originality existing among government paid salaried education faculty. I suppose there is some sort of initiative, but it is directed in a very limited narrow focus. Serving what is outlined coming from Belmopan, a very narrow academic style curriculum based on foreign needs of industrialized countries and Caribbean and Belizean government tests. Educational administrators and teachers worry only in serving the dictates of the central Education Department in Belmopan.

A recent search of the area in South Florida found an example of the difference in the approach to education that might solve some of the educational training limitations of a formalized central dictated style of academic achievements. Directly below, you will find the listings of courses and subjects being taught by a HIGH SCHOOL in Broward County, Florida. The idea of these courses is not to follow an academic for degree certification curriculum, but to satisfy the immediate needs of the business and worker community in the county. What this education does, is train people in the county for work. Immediate work and well paid work, to satisfy local shortages. Below is a list of courses available at this HIGH SCHOOL.

Access To The Internet
Access to the Internet in Spanish
Adobe PageMaker PC
Aerobics Advanced High Impact
Air Conditioning, Heating, Ventilation, and Refrigeration
Art All Mediums
Arts and Crafts for Kids (6 - 11)
Astrology Beginners
Astrology Intermediate
Auto Mechanics
Auto Tech Preparation
Autocad 14
Autocad Advanced
Ballroom Dancing
Ballroom Dance/Intm.
Bass Fishing for the Young
Bass Fishing
BCC Elementary Algebra
BCC Pre-Algebra (Mat 0012)
Belly Dancing
Bookkeeping I
Bookkeeping II
Bridge Intermediate Advanced
Bridge: Beginning
Bridge: Intermediate
C plus plus Programming Advanced
C plus plus Programming
Calculations for the Broward County
Electricians Exam
Chess Beginning
Chess Intermediate
Child Care Training 10hr
Child Care Training 20hr
Communicating with Yourself for Success in English
Communicating with Yourself for Success in Spanish
Computadora para principiantes keyboarding
Computer Hardware & Maintenance
Computer Hardware and Maintenance Advanced
Conversation Spanish Advanced
Conversational Spanish Beginning
Conversational Spanish Intermediate
Creative Art and Design for Teens
Employability Skills for the 21st Century
Financial Strategies for Successful Retirement
Fresh Flower Arranging
HTML - Web Page Development Personal Use
HTML WEB Page Development
Commercial Use Interior Design Beginning/Advanced
Intro to Computer PC II
Introducion a Computadoras en Espanol
Introduction to Computers PC I
Introduction to Computers PC
Introduction to Legal Secretarial Skills
Investing for Profit
Keyboarding II
Keyboarding I
Keys to Financial Success
Low Impact Aerobics
Mastering DOS
Mastering Unix
Medical Insurance Coding II
Medical Office Insurance Coding I & II
Medical Terminology l & II
MFC Internals for Beginners (Microsoft Foundation Class)
Microsoft Access Database Development
Microsoft Access Database Programmimg
Microsoft Excel for Windows II
Microsoft Excel for Windows I
Microsoft Excel for Windows
Microsoft Excel Intermediate/ Advanced
Microsoft Power Point
Microsoft Word Advanced
Microsoft Word Beg Part I
Microsoft Word Beginning II
Microsoft Word Beginning
Microsoft Word en Espanol
Novell 4.x Advanced Administrator, Design and Implementation
Novell Integrating Windows NT and Intranets
Novell Networking Technologies, Service and Support
Novell System Administration, Installation and Configuration
Painting Beginning to Advanced
Parents and Teens: A Hot Issue
Photoshop (Adobe) I
Photoshop (Adobe)
Power of Positive Attitude
Q-Basic Programming
Quick Books
Quicken and Quick Books
Quilting and Patchwork
Sign Language - Beginning
Sign Language Intermediate
Stock Market and You
Success: High Volume Sales
Tap Dance Advanced
Tap Dance Beginning
Tap Dance Intermediate
Tennis- Beginner
Tennis: Intermediate
Visual Basic I Programming
Visual Basic II Advanced
Visual C Programming
Wastewater Management
Water Management
Weight Reduction
Weight Training w/ Coach Consultations
Windows 95/98
Women in Business
Wood Working
Some of these courses are simply for self education and entertainment. Some are expected to enhance job skills in a changing technological world, some satisfy test requirements for County Department civil service jobs, that do not have any formal degree style education. Waste water management for instance. I well remember the courses I took as a County or State Pool Operator. Three months of 3 nights a week of concentrated education, the end of which I had to pass either a state, or county exam which certificated me, to be employed by the county to handle a municipal public swimming pool. Covered were chemicals, various filtration systems and a host of other things. Without the certificate you could not be employed, but they paid middle manager level salaries for it. Without the certificate you could not work. There are hundreds of such training certification jobs from librarian assistants to stock brokers.

Because government sponsored paid education in Belize has to be paid for by the government, there is of course, a number of checks on the content and methods of testing and evaluation of what is being taught. This sort of thing is graduated and solved by various tests, promotions and certifications. If you follow the curriculum as set out by the government education department you will eventually received a degree, or certificate that either qualifies you locally, or abroad in some other foreign institution. These things, do not necessarily fill the gap that is missing for entrepreneurial education. Which can vary from district to district in Belize.

I would suggest and in fact, fully intend to do so, to the Exploratory Committee of the fledgling Belize Reform Party that GRANTS be issued by the Education Department under this sort of rough guideline. Any High School in any district, that will offer any course satisfying shortages and needs of the community; whether it be cohune leaf house roofing, or coconut grating oil production, or anything else that will improve the earning capacity of the citizens of that district area the High School serves, will receive matching community education GRANTS.

How would it work. I have no clear idea as of yet, but think something along the following lines would be appropriate. If a High School offers a class, from an experienced person teacher, with 9 years of practical professional real life experience in a trade, or business, or such, and that class has more than 10 students for which said students are paying $30 Bz per course. Courses to be for a minimum of three months, two nights per week/3 hours a class each and the occasional Saturday half day. Then, the teacher will be paid half the class cost and the High School will collect half the tuition plus a matching GRANT equal to the total tuition cost to do with as it pleases. The central government Education Department will not dictate what subjects will be taught. Only insist that a curriculum be submitted and some sort of final grading and certification. It doesnt matter if it is making pottery, learning to build a dory from a tree, or a computer software program. The idea is to find and serve the needs of the people in the community with education in fields that both entertain and qualify them to make a better economic living for themselves.

Filling the needs of an entrepreneurial education system in Belize, that is what it is all about, for Belizean Development human resources needs.

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