"Government Prioritizes Education with Increased Budget and Free Education Program Expansion"

"Government Prioritizes Education with Increased Budget and Free Education Program Expansion"

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 20:03
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By: Omar Silva, NP Staff Writer

Belize City, Monday, 20th March 2023

The Ministry of Education's budget is set to increase in the upcoming fiscal year to a whopping two hundred and sixty-one million dollars, with a focus on priority areas such as special education, early childhood education, technical and vocational education and training. Minister Francis Fonseca stated that this reflects the importance of educating the younger generation in preventing crime and poverty, and the ministry has several projects in the pipeline.

One of these projects is the government's free education program, which has already benefited students in Maud Williams, Excelsior, Sadie Vernon, and Gwen Lizarraga schools by lifting the financial burden of tuition, uniforms, and other school supplies from parents. The success of this pilot project has led to its expansion on the Southside of Belize City, with plans to roll it out into the Toledo District in the coming school year.

Minister Fonseca emphasized that the program is not just about free tuition, but a comprehensive approach that includes a feeding program, school supplies, digital devices, uniforms, and shoes. He expressed excitement about the initiative and the results it has already achieved, including enrolling an additional 200 students who were not previously in school.

The Minister of Rural Transformation, Labor, Oscar Requena, also spoke about the government's commitment to free education from pre-school to sixth form under Plan Belize, and the importance of providing greater access and opportunity for children to receive a good education. Investing in education is critical for national security, human development, fighting poverty, and economic growth and development, according to Minister Fonseca. The ministry's budget, which is the second largest after the Ministry of Finance, reflects the administration's priority on education.