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Earlier this week we told you about a group of students converging at the Louisiana Government School compound to hold a day of fun filled events. These are students enrolled in the University of Belize’s Northern Outreach Program. Three groups of students enrolled in the program this year and are spread in the Certification in Primary Education cert-ed, the bachelors in Primary Education and secondary school teachers’ diploma in education programs. Today marked the last day the students were taking the summer course and our news team stopped by to find out more about the program.

Dalila Ical – Reporting

Doctor Nestor Chan is the Coordinator of the UB Northern Outreach Program and says that the idea of bringing the University to the student came about after the central campus was shifted to Belmopan. What followed was a limited number of students from Northern Belize enrolling at the institution but after the government rolled out training in primary education in 2009, UB followed a similar model and began the outreach program.

Screen_Shot_2014-08-08_at_7.37.33_PMDr. Nestor Chan – Coordinator, UB Northern Outreach Program

“It helps because it is like a  win win situation, we keep our students, we have our students enrolled at the University and at the same time the students are learning from us and implementing in the primary school almost immediately so when they learn something during the weekend then next week they just go into the class and they implement it so I think it is a very good arrangement at this point, it is like you have the theoretical and the practical at the same time and that is the best way to train teachers, when you do the research and you do the literature, the empirical knowledge out there it is telling us that if we match the practice and the theory at the same we tend to get better results.”

There is no comparative research though that will measure the performance of teachers who take the fulltime course on campus versus those who take it part time. Nonetheless the success is clearly visible says Dr. Chan.

Dr. Nestor Chan – Coordinator, UB Northern Outreach Program

“We don’t have the evidence as such and I cannot say well this is the evidence but I can say from personal observations from what you can say our students doing right now, from the initiative that they have, just seeing last Wednesday they had this fun day and they themselves organize it and got this going give you the indication that they are becoming more proactive and it is a good thing in education.”

This year 120 students enrolled in the programs and the University expects this number to keep growing.

This is the only program of its kind in the north. Similar teaching programs are being held in Belize City, Punta Gorda and Belmopan. The University of Belize also presently conducts other outreach programs in other parts of the country.

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