Screen_Shot_2015-02-05_at_7.51.30_PMOver 2 dozen representatives from various universities in the United States of America gathered today at the Corozal Junior College for the annual Consortium for Belize Educational Cooperation (COBEC) Winter Conference 2015.

Every year a secondary and tertiary educational institution is responsible of hosting the conference and this year it is the turn of the Corozal Junior College to do so.  But what is COBEC and what role does the organization play here in Belize? Jane Bennett, Co-Chair for Belize COBEC explains.


Jane Bennett - Co-chair for Belize COBEC


“The Belize co-chair of COBEC which is the Consortium of Belize Education and Cooperation, is an organization that was formed back in the 80’s to support the educational system in Belize, it was a bunch of Universities and some officials in Belize that created this collaboration between the Junior Colleges and our Universities with the US Universities and it has survived the test of time still going on.”


Victor Castillo – Reporter


“Going on for approximately 34 years, it is a very long time now what is the main objective of COBEC and it mission here in Belize?”


Jane Bennett - Co-chair for Belize COBEC


“The objective is to provide support to the education system and it is done in various ways over the years; we’ve had Belizeans going over to these Universities in the US at very reduced rates of tuitions and so on but there is also an exchange programs like study abroad programs where US students come to Belize to have a broad experience and the support the institution that they visit whether it is teacher training or programs with the students, the hosting of these conference they rotate it between institutions so it is rotated every year.”


Victor Castillo – Reporter


“And the theme for this year I noticed is energizing partnership, what is the significance behind?”


Jane Bennett - Co-chair for Belize COBEC


“The significance behind is that that are partnerships that has been happening but sometimes it is bilateral between two institutions as the minister says they want to make it more collaborative effort and make it more unilateral so is to look at what partnerships exist and to see what we can build on to widen its partnerships.”


COBEC has under its umbrella all the significant tertiary-level institutions in Belize and most U.S. higher education institutions engaged in projects or activities in Belize.  The organization is a minimally structured organization that has survived and thrived, without external funding, through changes in political and educational leadership in Belize and through budgetary retrenchment and crises in both Belize and the U.S.


Despite its low profile and general goals, COBEC has had a significant and continuing impact on the structure and quality of higher education in Belize and on the internationalization of U.S. member institutions.


Neal Mccrillis- US Co-Chair for COBEC


“There are lots different partnerships and sometimes they are bilateral between two institutions but multiple times both Belizeans are in US institutions collaborating together

Out – more about

Here in Belize, thousands of Belizeans have benefited from the COBEC program, according to Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Patrick Faber.


Hon. Patrick Faber – Minister of Education, Youth & Sport


“COBEC provides many opportunities at the tertiary level for them to study in these various different Universities and over the years we have seen where it has grown close to 40 partners now most of which are from the United States but a few from Canada, it is a very important consortium because it not only gives us opportunities in terms of studying abroad but it also helps to strengthened the capacity of our education system here in Belize, there are many exchanges that go on between schools; the Junior Colleges the and the COBEC partners in the United States, we see faculty exchanges we see workshops being done by professor with our educators here and so a conference like this give an opportunity for partners from abroad to come to Belize to witness what is going on for themselves on the institutions and then of course the reverse happens in the summer but it also gives these tertiary level institutions an opportunity for bonding an opportunity to explore greater collaboration among themselves and for us that is a win situation.”


Victor Castillo – Reporter


“What role does the ministry of education plays in these conferences?”


Hon. Patrick Faber – Minister of Education, Youth & Sport


“For a long while the ministry was absent to be honest and when I become minister I made sure that the ministry became an integral partner that is for obvious reasons I think there is a lot that we could receive and we have been receiving since we have been actively involved with COBEC in terms of us strengthening our capacity as  a ministry, got help in training in especial education and putting together programs that will see teacher train and also got assistance in nearly childhood education in particular.”


After the ceremony, the various partners were enticed with historical Mayan history and received the latest information on the developments of the Belize Sugar Industry and sustainable fishing for the future. The conference is scheduled to calumniate on Friday, February 6th at 3:00pm. 

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