Official ground breaking

On Wednesday, February 29, Hon. Pablo Marin launched a project for the construction of a two-storey; six-classroom school building at the Corozal Methodist School.The Corozal Methodist School is located in the heart of Corozal Town. The school opened its doors in 1859 and since then has witnessed the graduation of hundreds of students; some of whom are now prominent community members.

Minister Marin said the need for the building is great because over the past six years, the school has seen a steady increase in its enrollment; this is due to the high demand for the school's sound education based on the principles of discipline and religion. In 2009, the school's enrollment was 492 students with 243 boys and 249 girls. In 2010, the school's enrollment was 525 students with 249 boys and 276 girls. This reflects an increase of 33 students from 2009 to 2010. The staff consists of 4 male and 15 female teachers. The school presently has 16 classrooms with an average of almost 33 students per classroom. Due to lack of classroom space and overcrowded classrooms, two standard five classrooms are currently housed in an adjacent building belonging to the Methodist Mission. However, the condition of that building is not conducive to a healthy teaching and learning environment as the building was utilized as a teacher's quarters, and later as a guest house. The school's management has forecast an increase in enrollment for the coming years due to the continuing high demand for education at the Corozal Methodist School.

The project will be implemented by the Social Investment Fund and financed by the Government of Belize through a $671,000 loan from the Caribbean Development Bank. The Corozal Methodist School will contribute over $19,000 in labour for the excavation of the septic tank and soak away and the provision of furniture for the classrooms.The project will see the construction of a two-story reinforced concrete building.The ground floor building will house 3 classrooms (23' 8" wide by 25' 8" long) and a female sanitary block (13' wide by 23' 8" long). The second floor will house 3 classrooms and a male sanitary block similar in size to those on the ground floor. The project will also include the construction of two stairways and one access ramp along with a verandah. It will include timber exterior doors and aluminum louvered windows.

The Corozal District is the second poorest in the country. Government will focus a tremendous amount of resources to increase access to education in the district. In the coming school year, first and second form students of the Corozal District will automatically receive a $350 subsidy from the Government of Belize. Just as it is in Stann Creek and Toledo, students of the Corozal districts will not need to apply for the subsidy.

The Guardian