Tuesday, July 23, 2024

SPHS Board undecided on participating in the Belize Education Upliftment Project tuition waiver program for 2024/2025 students


The San Pedro High School (SPHS) is preparing to end the school year and is in the process of welcoming new students from the different primary schools. With that comes implementing the Belize Education Upliftment Project (EUP), an educational reform benefiting government-owned or aided secondary schools.
On March 8, 2024, Prime Minister Honorable John Briceño announced the EUP expansion to add 12 new secondary schools starting in the 2024/25 academic year, including San Pedro High School. The EUP program eliminates tuition and fees, provides daily healthy meals, uniforms, transportation, and even learning devices. The initiative also improves school infrastructure and resources. While this is good news for San Pedro high school students, the SPHS management has not confirmed their participation in the program yet and noted that after receiving additional information from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology (MECST), they are still discussing the way forward with this proposal.
SPHS Principal Emil Vasquez indicated that following a presentation by members of the MECST on this program, the school’s board requested a meeting to discuss the way forward. As such, no decision has been made to participate in the EUP project, and if one isn’t reached by the start of the new school year, students may be required to pay their tuition and fees upon registration. Registration for the new school year has not yet opened. The school management said information would be shared with parents and the island community as soon as a final decision was made. As for the suggestions that new students or first formers would still be subjected to pay the tuition, SPHS disregarded such allegations and stressed that when the board decides, all details will be shared.
The EUP started with four government-owned high schools in the Belize District. These were considered vulnerable schools due to their decline in students and lack of resources and tools for learning. The program has now been expanded across the country.
It is uncertain why the SPHS Board would decline Belize Education Upliftment Project assistance that would financially benefit all students.

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