Beginning in September 2015, the unique and highly-successful Belize Friends School experience will be available to adult learners, as well as to teens. The school has long offered a “second chance” to teens who have dropped out or been kicked out of traditional schools. Many of these teens are at risk of joining criminal gangs, and the Friends School offers them a different path to take. They spend a year or two at Belize Friends, preparing to take the Primary School Examination (PSE). If they pass, they can go on to either academic secondary school or vocational training school.
Illiteracy and unemployment are rampant in the Friends School’s neighborhood. Principal Candi Young has long identified adult illiteracy as an obstacle to student success. Parents in the school have asked to be allowed to learn alongside their kids, but a multigenerational classroom is difficult to manage. In March, the Belizean Ministry of Education approached Candi with the remarkable statement that the Friends School is the most successful program of its type in Belize City, and they would like to see it expanded to include adult education.
After careful consideration, the School Board has approved a pilot program to begin in September, with just 15 adult students meeting four nights a week. They will study for the PSE, — just like the teens. If they pass, they will be admitted to one of several government vocational programs, depending on their skills and interests. If the first year’s pilot program succeeds, the Ministry of Education has indicated its willingness to help scale up.
The Spirit of God is moving mightily in Belize.
Read about this in the FUM in Belize blog.