I am Kenny Jacobs, Executive Director of Teens Belize Organization and television host of Developing Toledo TV Show aired on PGTV.
First of all, our education system needs to change its ways of teaching. Students are enrolled in an institution and are fed with materials daily, all of which, I agree, is important to their learning. The question remains, are they being taught to graduate and look for a job? Or are they being taught to construct their own business after graduation?
Every year there are thousands of graduates from high schools and tertiary institutions countrywide who are unable to move on, due to financial and/or other constraints. These students have been taught by our education system to seek employment at a company/business after graduation. We cannot allow our system to continue doing this. Our students deserve an utmost challenge from primary school or high school to be bred with the relevant knowledge and skills to start their own business, once they graduate.
Entrepreneurship is one of the finest ways our young people can traverse to a better way of life, in our ever-struggling economy. Belize is filled with natural resources and we, as Belizeans, need to take proper advantage of this. People always complain that they are poor but it is the complete opposite. We are rich, my people. We just lack the full mentality to get out there and do something about it.
Belizeans need to change their mentality, from being a “half- seeker” to being a “full-fledged seeker.” This change is going to come about through proper education. Our system is still colonial, in the sense that there are certain wealthy families who “run” the operations in Belize. The poor people of Belize will never reach the next level if the system doesn’t change its ways of teaching. And for this to happen, we need to fight for it. And the battle will be tough, because it will be the poor and meek, against the wealthy people.
Look at the PSE results, very poor. They blame the students, and yes, to a certain extent the students need to step up and move away from “mediocre” performance. But if the Ministry instills a curriculum that would be vital to help the kids “improve this performance,” then and only then, change can happen. It begins with education, always.
I would also like to lament on the issue of Belizeans supporting their Belizeans. If our economy is to grow, PROPERLY, then we must make an effort, every effort, to support our Belizean businesses, our Belizean artists, our Belizean culture, and everything BELIZEAN. Look at the other countries around us: they promote their culture and country to the highest levels. In Belize, we barely support our brothers and sisters. And it has to start with us, so our economy can “fly.”
Our Belizean businesses are struggling due to minimal support of its people. Our Belizean artists are struggling due to lack of support. Our Belizean culture is losing its prestige due to pop culture and Westernization. It is an awful situation. And this all boils down to our education system, that is educating us at one point, and at the same time mis-educating at the next.
Talking about mis-education, the critics of it can go on and on. I want to stress this point though. How can our education system improve? How can it teach our students to be properly self-sustainable? What can the Ministry of Education do? What can the Prime Minister do? The system needs to change now, or our country will lose a big battle – our children will forever be colonialized; our businesses will be lingering out there; our culture, once prestigious, will lose its prominence, and the list goes on.
The people of Belize can change this. The Government of Belize can help. Our Belizeans deserve equal treatment. There is no need for crime and violence and for our young people to be taken off the right path. The government of the day has all the powers in its hands to make it happen.
For me, for now, I am disturbed. I am disappointed.Patrick Jones