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 InternetSome 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.