Minister of Education visits San Pedro schools

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 20            May 21, 2009

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Minister Faber talks to the staff and students of Holy Cross Anglican School.

Part of his agenda also included a meeting with the teachers of the island.

High school students had the opportunity to speak to the minister.

The Minister of Education Honorable Patrick Faber was on a two day visit to schools in San Pedro Town on Thursday, May 14th and Friday, May 15th. During his stay on the island, he visited most of the learning institutions and had the opportunity to join most of the island’s educators at the Lion’s Den where he listened and addressed many issues affecting the education system on the island.

    His first stop took place on Thursday afternoon at Holy Cross Anglican School where he first met with the school’s management and staff members. Minister Faber expressed his commitment to the education system in Belize, “Our government is committed to improving the education system in Belize, but like in everything, we need you [students] to remain focused and stay in school. If we are going to invest in the education system, then we want each and every one of our students to take advantage of the opportunity of equal education for all.” Honorable Faber shared much advice with the primary school students and urged them to study hard, excel in school, to remain trouble free and make Belize proud.

    Minister Faber also visited the San Pedro High School where he addressed the over 400 students during a special assembly. In his address to the students, Minister Faber stated that the Ministry will continue to help all high school students who need assistance in covering part of their tuition expenses. Minister Faber also stated that the Government of Belize is working out a proposal where the Ministry will be assisting fourth form students to pay at least five Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams for each high school student in the country.

    During his stay in San Pedro, Minister Faber also met with teachers during a special meeting held at the Lion’s Den on Thursday night. Many were the concerns expressed including the lack of classroom space and proper teacher training. In an interview with the press during his tour, Minister Faber stated that, “there seems to be a problem with public primary schools. Five schools on the island are private schools and only two are public schools and I understand that both of the public schools are filled to capacity. We are going to be looking into the situation very quickly so more people will have the opportunity to receive an education and become students so that they could get further in life.”

    In relation to the accessibility to teacher training, Minister Faber stated that his Ministry will be studying the feasibility of offering teacher’s training on the island. “There is also the lack of a training institution here in San Pedro. Most of the other districts in our country have a teacher such facilities so that people who are desirous of that training can go to those institutions. People in San Pedro who want to pursue this career have to go the Corozal or to Belize City. We are embarking on a program to ensure that more of our teachers get trained in the summertime. I have agreed to explore the possibilities of having a program on the island especially since it is evident that there are many teachers here who are desirous of receiving further training,” stated Minister Faber. The Minister underlined that if the Ministry improves the education system, the teachers must also be willing to make an effort to improve their qualifications.

    During most of his visits the Minister was accompanied by Deputy Mayor Romel Gomez, Deputy Chief Education Officer, Carol Babb, Belize District Education Manager, Jahmor Lopez, Belize District Education Officer, Nelma Mortis, and Public Relation Officer in the Ministry of Education, Arlette Gomez. Last week’s visit by the Minister is a part of his countrywide tour to all schools in the country. It is the first time that Minister Faber visited the island in his capacity as Minister of Education.
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