Monday, June 24, 2024

Islanders and organizations commend GOB for increasing the age of compulsory education

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A decision by the Government of Belize (GOB) to increase the mandatory age for school enrollment from ages 14 to 16 has been well received among Belizeans and organizations countrywide. The government said that it is a step in the right direction in preparing young Belizeans for life.

One of those organizations applauding GOB for this policy change is the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The organization said they firmly believe that education is a critical factor in developing a country’s economy and encourages the continuous improvement of its education system.

GOB’s policy to raise the age is supported by academic literature, and the IZA World of Labor noted in its assessment of the policy that raising the age is a strategy used by many countries, and its general effect has been positive on the level of education amongst the group most likely to leave the education system early.

Speaking to a handful of parents in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, they shared that such a policy will be beneficial in encouraging students to further their education. According to one island male resident, some students drop out of school early because there is nothing to encourage them or, in some way, force them to stay in school until the age of 16. “It is during the age bridge from 14 to 16 that a difference can be achieved as the student will be able to see the importance of education. By the time they turn 16, their mentality will be further matured,” he said. Other islanders believe that there will be less crime with more educated people. According to them, the more skilled and qualified persons in a community, the stronger and safer it becomes.

GOB added that while this initiative benefits young students, the program’s expansion will see about 10,000 more students staying in school for two additional years. The government is working on accommodating this new change for the upcoming school years.

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