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BNTU to meet Ministry of Education on new competency-based curriculum

By Michelle Sutherland

The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) is set to meet with the Ministry of Education Culture, Science and Technology (MoECST) next Monday to discuss several concerns that teachers have with the National Curriculum Framework that is scheduled to be implemented for the 2023-2024 school year.

Over the past few weeks, The Reporter has been receiving several reports from teachers that the new curriculum is not only hard to follow but that teachers are finding it hard to implement in their respective classrooms.

Teachers have even gone as far as to express their concerns about how they will now be able to grade students since traditional tests and quizzes will no longer be allowed. Teachers have explained that they are at a loss of how they will be able to effectively gauge whether students have been able to grasp the concept and how to differentiate between which group needs more assistance than the others.

This week, we followed up with the BNTU’s President Elena Smith and she did confirm that the BNTU has been receiving feedback from teachers on the new curriculum. She explained, “Some concerns have been setting up the timetable since the time allotted for subjects has changed. The half-hour increase, the school-based project, and cross-curricular learning areas are confusing for teachers, including the insistence by some management to include the extra half hour now despite the Ministry saying it will be effective next school year, lack of supplies to properly do what is expected, lack of expertise in teaching the arts.”

Smith stressed that while these are only some of the many concerns among teachers, they have expressed their frustration at the timeline within which the transition is scheduled to take place since students have been unable to cope with what teachers are expected to deliver due to the impacts that COVID has had on teaching and learning. While Smith said that she has already met with a team from the MOECS to discuss those concerns, she will also be meeting with BNTU’s Council and officials from the ministry on Monday regarding the said curriculum.

The framework for the National Curriculum was officially launched on July 28th, 2022. According to the ministry’s website, it will seek to guide a transition into competency-based education in Belize at the pre-and primary-school levels.

The new curriculum focuses on “the development of competency-based unit plans and assessments, utilizing authentic student-centered pedagogies such as inquiry, discovery, cooperative, experiential, problem- and project-based learning.”

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