The Government of Belize has received a US$6 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), for its Student Loan Scheme, which will assist close to 800 learners.
The beneficiaries of the loan scheme comprise mostly those who are financially disadvantaged, pursuing post-secondary and tertiary level programmes. Through the Belize Student Loan Project, funds will be made available to the Development Finance Corporation to assist students seeking training in areas identified under Belize’s human resource development strategy, as critical for improving the country’s economic competitiveness.
The loan to Belize was approved at a recent meeting of the CDB Board of Directors. Isaac Solomon, vice-president of operations at the CDB, made the point that, “investment in human resource development is vital to the future of a country and consequently it is critical that Belizean students have access to education and training to meet the future needs of the labour force.”
He explains that “to improve economic competitiveness and social cohesion access to learning, training and capacity building opportunities must be available as wide as possible, especially for persons with financial challenges.”
With approximately 70 per cent of the population of Belize under 35, the demand for tertiary education is steadily increasing. Expanded access to secondary education and evolving human resources requirements for the country’s services-driven economy are also necessitating more tertiary-level training schemes.
Anticipated benefits of the CDB project include escalations in enrolment and graduation rates for tertiary level programmes, an increased number of highly skilled professionals and practitioners entering the Belizean workforce and improvements in the employability and productivity of the local human resource pool.