FINANCING FOR EQUITY
1. Overall Education Financing Mechanisms
2. Policies and Programmes to Provide Resources to Schools
3. Education Policies and Programmes to Provide Resources to Sudents and Families
4. Social Policies and Programmes to Provide Resources to Students and their Families
Education is compulsory for the levels Infant I to Form 2 from the ages of 5 to 14. Although education is supposed to be free at the primary and secondary level, children are required to pay supplementary fees. In 2017, the education expenditure in Belize represented 7.1% of its GDP and 21.7% of their national expenditure. The school-aged population is 146,449 people and the expenditure per student was 4.6% for pre-primary, 31.8% for primary, 41% for secondary, and 10.9% for tertiary in 2017.
The Ministry of Education is responsible for the supervision of sevice delivery for all levels from pre-school to tertiary education. All public resources to fund education are channelled through this ministry. Education budget projections are based on total enrollment projections at the district level. Under current legislation, the government gives private education providers in primary education enough funds to pay for their teacher salaries, plus an additional 30% for operational costs. Approximately 50% of education costs are borne by the government and the other half by families. The costs paid by families include uniforms, school materials, food, and transportation in government primary schools, and the same expenses plus tuition fees in all secondary schools.
For primary schools, the government provides grants (Primary Education Grant-Aided Schools) to 215 schools. It also pays a supplementary grant of US$2.00 per student paid to the school and an office grant of US$2.00 per student paid to the school.
For secondary schools, the government funds directly the costs of public and private secondary school. The grants are calculated based on an equity-based funding formula that has three components: per-student funding for the core curriculum (cost of teachers, school administration, and school operations); compensation for serving students in poverty or with special needs (additional funds in proportion to the poverty rate in the district) and performance bonus (additional funds related to past performance).
Belize does not rely heavily on external financing to fund education. The projected budget from 2011-2017 estimated that each year, external sources would finance US$ 6million (BZ$ 12million) or 1.28% of their total budget.
NaRCIE: National Resource Center for Inclusive Education
As part of the Ministry of Education, this center identifies children with special needs in and out of schools, facilitates their placement, and ensures that schools provide an accessible and welcoming environment adapted to the children’s needs by providing teacher training. For the school year 2010-2011, this center served 777 children or less than 30% of the population of children with special needs.
Secondary School Subsidy Programme
This program grants a subsidy of US$ 150 (BZD 300) to all students who are graduating from primary school and for those who complete their first year of the secondary school in Toledo, Stann Creek and Corozal districts and from all rural primary schools. The government prioritizes these regions due to their poverty levels. The goal of this subsidy is to help students cover their first and second year of secondary school. Students apply to receive these grants, and the Ministry of Education concede them based on the Proxy Means Test administered in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation.
During the school year 2009-2010, an estimated 47% of students who completed the Primary School Examination were expected to receive the subsidy. Likewise, the amount granted for this subsidy was about US$ 500,000 (BZD 1million) or 2.33% of the public expenditure on education in 2009.
Building Opportunities for Our Social Transformation (BOOST)
The BOOST program is a conditional cash transfer targeted to households living in poverty. The program is of national scale and targets households with children under 18 and pregnant women. The monthly transfer is between US$ 22 - US$ 247 (BZD 44-BZD 492), and it is limited to six beneficiaries per household. The conditionality in education is of 85% school attendance. In 2012, the government allocated US$ 141,386 (BZD 229 000) or 0.01% of their GDP to this project and benefited 88,162 households, 476,187 people, or 16.93% of the population.