Educational Structure & Institutions
The Belizean school system is based on the British educational system and is broken down into three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Belizean children begin their eight years of primary education with two years of “infant” classes (usually at the age of five), followed by six “standards” (the equivalent of US elementary school). Secondary education consists of four “forms”, after which tertiary education begins at “sixth form” or Junior College. Students can also continue on to pursue University studies to earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree.
Presently, there are 56 government funded, 211 government aided, and 30 private or specially assisted primary schools; 17 government funded, 25 government aided and 10 private or specially assisted high schools; 11 Junior Colleges and 3 Universities in Belize.
On August 1st, 2000 the University of Belize (UB) was inaugurated. UB is the National University in Belize with its Central Campus located in the capital City of Belmopan. Its campuses are located in three of the country’s six districts as well as a Marine Research Station at one of its Caye and have a growing student population of over 2500 enrolled in both full and part- time programmes.
Quality teaching, research and extension services are top priorities and the University offers instruction leading to associates and bachelor degrees through its four faculties of Education and Arts, Management and Social Science, Nursing, Allied Health and Social Work, and Science and Technology. The institution constitute of six centers and institutes which include Adult and Continuing Education Center, Early Childhood Foundation Center, Environmental Research Institute, Multi- Cultural Studies Center, Regional Language Center (RLC), and History and Anthropology Center. UB also contributes to and participates in the multinational University of the West Indies (UWI), a regional institution with campuses in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. UWI maintains an extra- mural unit in Belize City.
In May of 2003, Galen University was established in San Ignacio, Cayo. Galen is a private university and offers undergraduate, graduate and professional level in business, arts, science, and education degree programs. The University offers dual degree programs as it has partnership with the University of Indianapolis and with The Watson School of Education at the University of North Carolina (UNCW). Belize is also home for four (4) offshores medical schools. These are the Medical School of the Americas (Belize), St Luke’s University School of Medicine, Central America Health Sciences University (Belize Medical College), and the Inter- America School of Medical Science. The curricular in the schools generally parallel those of medical schools in the United States.