Thursday, May 30, 2024

IDB helps Belizean schools affected by COVID-19 closures


The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a modification to the Education Quality Improvement Program II loan to assist school communities to address  the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The modification broadens the existing scope of the operation, and will support primary and secondary schools in the shift to a hybrid education model with a mix of remote and face-to-face learning, and with the grant source of financing the integration of migrant students through multicultural education.

School-closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have created an unprecedented disruption to the education system. Across the world it is expected to increase dropout rates with important economic impacts. In the case of Belize, it is estimated that in the absence of quality remote and hybrid education, a 4-month school closure would translate into a learning loss of about 5% and a net loss of $243 million over the working life of affected children.

Additionally, large, and sudden migration inflows from Central American countries represent an important development challenge to Belize as it is impacting quality of public services and social inclusion. In the quest to ensure education for all, the Ministry of Education Youth Sports and Culture of Belize allows migrant children’s enrollment in education regardless of nationality or migratory status. However, as schools are becoming more diverse and multicultural, language barriers and differences in academic performance between migrant and Belizean students challenge integration.

To address these challenges, the project will finance three areas. First, Inquiry- and Problem-based learning in primary schools through remote and hybrid modalities, including the provision of e-learning devices.  Second, a Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) School, and training of secondary education teachers in student-centered and gender-sensitive STEAM learning. Third, multicultural education and intensive English language instruction for students whose first language is not English psychosocial support.  This program is expected to benefit 129 schools, 1,500 teachers and 27,600 students at the primary school level; and 100 STEAM teachers, and 12,040 students at the secondary level. Also, at least 9,700 students and 100 teachers will be provided with technological education devices for hybrid education.

The $10 million loan and $2.5 million grant will be executed over a period of five years.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social, and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance, and training to public- and private-sector clients throughout the region.

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