The Government of Belize is continuing its focus on expanding access to quality tertiary education by looking at ways to improve operations at the University of Belize.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a grant of US$400,000 to the government of Belize to facilitate a comprehensive institutional assessment of the University of Belize (UB) which will inform on how to enhance its operations, and become the place of choice for tertiary level education in that country.

The Belize government, which sees the University as playing a pivotal role in meeting the development needs of the country, will provide counterpart funding of US$88,000 for the institutional assessment.

The review will address the adequacy, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the corporate systems and operational procedures, and assist the institution to increase enrollment.

The approval of these grant funds follows a CDB loan of US$35M, which was approved in May 2015, to be used mainly for enhancing the outcomes at the basic education level thereby producing more students qualified to pursue tertiary level education.

CDB’s Operations Officer, Education, Idamay Denny, said the review of UB is important because opportunities have to be provided for the children who are achieving better outcomes to continue their education.

The UB, which is one of three tertiary institutions in the country, is home to 80 per cent of the more than five thousand registered university students in Belize.

The country’s Strategic Policy (2010) outlines a direction for UB which seeks to improve the quality and relevance of higher education, and strengthen the governance of the University with emphasis on increased student achievement.

However, while UB has registered a 57% increase in its enrolment between 2003 and 2013-14, tertiary enrolment rates in Belize still lag significantly behind other countries of the Region. Both the Government and the University have indicated that in the medium term, these issues must be addressed if UB is to achieve its objectives and realise the stated goals for expansion of tertiary education in Belize.

UB has therefore identified the need for reviewing the current approaches to address human resource management, risk management, procurement, financial operations, and cost-recovery and income diversification strategies.

The review effort accords with the strategic pillar of education for development as articulated in Horizon 2030, the Development Plan of the Government of Belize. (CDB Press Release)

. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is a regional financial institution which was established by an Agreement signed on October 18, 1969, in Kingston, Jamaica, and entered into force on January 26, 1970. The Bank came into existence for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of the member countries in the Caribbean and promoting economic cooperation and integration among them, having special and urgent regard to the needs of the less developed members of the region (Article 1 of the Agreement establishing CDB). In the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the CDB is recognised as and Associate Institution of CARICOM