No island Government School for the new school year starting in September 2016
It’s been two years since Area Representative for Belize Rural South (BRS) Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., promised the opening of a government school. There have been no signs of construction, and it seems likely that San Pedro will not have a government school this fall, despite the on-going requests by many island residents. There are a total of three grant-aided, three private schools, and no established government school on Ambergris Caye.
In November 2014, the Government of Belize approved funding for the construction of a government primary school on the island and a total of $1.2 million has been approved for the facility, which does not include the acquisition of land. Now that funds are allocated, some question why it’s taking long to build a government school.
In Volume #25, Issue 6, The San Pedro Sun quotes BRS Area Representative Heredia, who indicated he was still working towards the establishment of a government school. He also indicated that a parcel of land had been identified in the Sea Grape Drive Area, directly across the Bowen and Bowen Distribution Center located on Blake Street. He proposed that the government school would be open for the 2016-2017 school year. Upon inspection, the land in question shows no signs of construction, and no visible developments have been made.
The San Pedro Sun reached out to relevant authorities to confirm if San Pedro will be getting a new school building for the 2016-2017 school year, and our calls to Heredia went unanswered. On March 14, 2016 San Pedro Education Officer Nelma Jones confirmed that there were plans for the construction of two government schools on the northern part of the island. However, in a recent phone interview with Jones, she stated that she has not received further information for the implementation of the proposed school. “There is an intent for a government school, but I don’t see that materializing for this upcoming school year. However, those matters are discussed at ministerial level, and has not reached to the technical level. Once those plans are finalized, the head of the Ministry of Education will be the first one to be notified, and then I will be informed of it,” said Jones.
Since the 18.3 million dollar education reform project was granted by Caribbean Development Bank, many people across the country have benefited from the funds, and new schools have been built. They are: Belmopan-Kuxlin-Ha Preschool and Primary School, Toldeo- Santa Cruz New Government Primary School, Stann Creek-Trio Preschool and Primary School. On June 8th, the Ministry of Education sent out a press release which indicated that over 930 students Belize City/Belize District will soon benefit from the renovation and extension project at Gwen Lizarraga High School in Belize City.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun