IDB Enhancement of the Belize Teaching Force

In light of the issues with Education in Belize we thought this would be beneficial to share seeing that the Government is playing games with our Education sector in Belize.

BL-T1049 : Enhancement of the Belize Teaching Force

Project Description

The TC will generate evidence-based policy advice to improve the quality and performance of the Belize teaching force.

Project at a glance

Project NumberBL-T1049
Project StatusImplementation
IDB Financing*1

Basic Information

Project NumberBL-T1049
Operation NumberATN/JF-12717-BL
Project TypeTechnical Cooperation
Project SubtypeJapan Special Fund
Project StatusImplementation
Approval DateMay 5, 2011
Contract Signature DateMay 19, 2011

Financial Information

Total Cost – HistoricUSD 1,200,000
Country Counterpart Financing – HistoricUSD 200,000

IDB Financing

Financing TypeNon-Reimbursable Technical Cooperation
FundJapanese Special Fund
Reporting currencyUSD – United States Dollar
Reporting DateNovember 30, 2013
Estimated Cofinancing – HistoricUSD 1,000,000
Cancelled Amount – HistoricUSD 0
Undisbursed Amount – HistoricUSD 34,784
Disbursed to Date – RevaluedUSD 965,217

The Document

Knowledge and Capacity Building Products (KCP) Proposal
Policy and Capacity Development

I. General Information

KCP Title:
Enhancement of the Belize Teaching Force (BL-T1049)

OPUS Number: BL-T1049
Date of Proposal: 1/6/2010
Linked to project: N/A

Peer Reviewer 1: BIEHL, LORETO
Peer Reviewer 2: IBARRARAN, PABLO

Joint Proposal:

Proposed amount, without counterpart in USD equivalent (enter whole number only): USD 1,000,000
Must match total of budget table on section VI, and of OPUS

Proposed amount including counterpart (if applicable) in USD equivalent: USD 1,200,000


Unit of Technical Responsibility: SCL/EDU

Unit of Disbursement Responsibility: SCL


Letters of Request available (or equivalent)
January 25, 2011
Doc# (IDBdocs):
IDBDOCS – #35588986

Non – objection available: n/a
Doc# (IDBdocs): n/a

Execution period: 30 months
Disbursement period: 36 months
Required Start Date: 5/1/2011

Executing Agency:
IDB through SCL/EDU

Executing Agency description and capacity: N/A
Country of Origin of Executing Agency: N/A
Contact in the Executing Agency: Emma Näslund-Hadley
E-mail address:
Beneficiary Countries: BELIZE

Beneficiary entity: Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY)


II. KCP Type


Client – driven. The KCP is the result of a request from the client.


Forward looking. The products will help guide public policy on teacher training.

III. Alignment of the KCP proposal with IDB’s Institutional Priorities

Social Policy for Equity and Productivity. Education

3.1 Explain how the knowledge produced with this KCP will be used (policy advice, institutional strengthening, input for programming and strategy, pipeline development, input for other KCPs):

The KCP will generate evidence – based policy advice to improve the quality and performance of the Belize teaching force. It is closely aligned with strategic objective 3.1 of the Country Strategy which sets out to improve the quality of education. It will contribute to the following country strategy matrix indicator: By 2011 proportion of qualified teachers rises to 50% in primary education (45.8% in 2008) and 36% in secondary education (32.7% in 2009). The KCP will contribute to the ongoing dialogue between the Bank and the MOEY on the quality of the teaching force.


4.1 Describe the challenge that this KCP addresses (e.g. policy, institutional, technical)

The government of Belize has made considerable efforts to train and retain more teachers. The number of students enrolled in the faculty of education at the national university has more than tripled in recent years. Despite this effort, a large proportion of Belize’s teaching force of 4,900 remains untrained. In the 2009 – 10 academic year, the proportion of trained teachers in primary education was 45.2 percent. The same year, the proportion of trained teachers in secondary education was 33.4 percent. There are great differences between districts. For example, in Toledo, fewer than one of three primary school teachers are trained. Similarly, in Stann Creek fewer than one in five secondary school teachers are trained. There are particular shortages of trained secondary level teachers in specific subject areas, particularly in mathematics and the sciences. To reach the national goal, established close to two decades ago, of increasing the representation of trained teachers to 80 percent, the proportion at the primary level would have to almost double. If the same goal is applied to the secondary level, the proportion of trained teachers would have to almost triple.

The University of Belize and the University of the West Indies Open Campus are the only institutions in Belize offering teacher -training at both the Primary and Secondary levels. Associate Degree programs in Primary Education are also offered by five other institutions St. John’s College Junior College, Corozal Junior College, Belize Adventist Junior College, Sacred Heart Junior College , and Stann Creek Ecumenical Junior College. The Belize Board of teacher education (BBTE) is mandated to provide the link between the training institutions and the schools. However, in practice the training institutions get very limited direct feedback about what happens after they produce the graduates. Although no studies have been undertaken about the linkages between the training institutions and the school system, the attitude appears to be that what happens in the schools and how teachers actually perform is someone else’s problem.

The demand for trained teachers is so great that Belize, in addition to upgrading the existing conventional programs, needs to explore alternatives. In theory, teachers currently in the system can access the programs offered at the pre-service training institutions. In practice, it is cost-prohibitive to have them train at these institutions as the Ministry of Education not only has to pay the salary of these teachers while they study, but also the salary of their replacements who are also often untrained.

4.2 Describe lessons learned from previous similar KCP

a Teacher Training

No impact evaluations on teacher training approaches have been undertaken in Belize and research is very limited in the LAC region. However, rigorous studies from other regions underscore some basic principles for designing teacher professional development interventions. In a review of well designed experimental studies of teacher training approaches in a wide spectrum of countries (including e.g. Finland, Japan, Singapore and Sweden), Darling-Hammond et al (2009) find a link between quality teacher training and student achievement gains. To improve teaching practices, professional development should focus on teaching and learning specific subject matters (rather than abstract pedagogical principles). In each given subject area a teacher needs close to 50 hours of professional development. In a review of factors that make different OECD teacher training systems effective, Musset (2010) reports that the content of both pre-service and in-service training is more important than the form (extended over time, school-based, collaboratively planned, etc). Her research also accentuates the need to acknowledge local specific needs in teacher professional development initiatives. In an assessment of the effects of teachers’ pre-service preparation on student test scores in New York City schools, Donald Boyd et al (2008) find that teacher training is more effective when it allows future teachers to be directly involved in classroom practices. O’Donnel et al (2002) finds that school support, including teacher training, predicts resilience among children in urban school districts in the United States. Based on an experimental evaluation in Indonesia, Tol et al (2010) concluded that a school-based child protective factors model increased child resilience.

b. Teacher Training in Belize

Although no impact evaluations on teacher training are available in Belize, t he low quality of the teaching force was one of the main challenges identified through a comprehensive sector review that the Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY) and the Bank initiated in 2007. As a first step towards improving teaching services, through a PBL and non-reimbursable grant financing the Bank has supported the creation of a NTSC. The Bank has not previously directly addressed the area of teacher training through knowledge products or lending operations. No recent knowledge products in this area have been produced by other partners.

In upgrading the teaching force, two areas stand out as particularly urgent: teacher content knowledge and pedagogical practices in mathematics; and sensitization to child maltreatment. While student achievement is generally low, it is particularly limited in mathematics. Between 2007 and 2009, more than 60 percent of participating students earned less than satisfactory ratings in the national Mathematics in the Primary School Examination (compared to 40 percent in English). Based on a growing body of international evidence it is safe to assume that lack of quality teaching greatly contributes to this lack of learning (see, for example, Schmidt et al 2001; Schneider 1985; Slavin 1994).

In the case of child maltreatment, teachers often lack adequate knowledge of the signs and symptoms of the various types of child abuse and neglect. For instance, child neglect is frequently overlooked, as compared with more obvious forms of abuse. The situation is exacerbated in primary schools, as non-reported cases of child neglect and abuse are not afforded opportunities to receive intervention services. An obvious barrier to reporting child maltreatment is the failure to recognize this problem after it has occurred. This lack of awareness of teachers is serious in light of national referral data from Child Protective Services that indicate that some parts of the country are currently experiencing widespread child maltreatment. Around half the referrals are for neglect, 30% for sexual abuse and the remainder for physical or emotional abuse. Belize City emerges as having a particularly pronounced problem of maltreatment (Halcrow Group 2009 The maltreatment these children suffer in childhood are viewed as the most extreme form of dysfunctional family and interpersonal functioning on a continuous spectrum of adverse life circumstances and dysfunctional interpersonal and family relationships (Bellis 2001).

4.3 State the KCP objectives:

The general objective of the KCP is to lay the basis for an improvement of the overall quality and performance of teachers in Belize. The specific objectives are to: (i) develop a strategy to upgrade the initial education of teachers and the creation of a distance education system for continuous professional development. The strategy would also encompass a system for the training of principals and school administrators; and (ii) adjust, validate and pilot two teacher training modules in areas where competencies are particularly limited (the improvement of the teaching of primary education mathematics, and the promotion of protective factors associated with child maltreatment); and (iii) install a capacity within the Ministry of Education in the areas of mathematics education and child protective factors, as well as in teacher training more generally.

State the KCP expected results:
The KCP will result in a Government owned strategy for how to increase the proportion of teachers and school administrators who meet the academic qualifications mandated by the Education Act to the longstanding aspiration of 80 percent. The KCP is also expected to result in specific knowledge about what works in primary mathematics education in a Belizean context; as well as what works in the promotion of child protective factors.Both the strategy and the experimental evaluation will lay the basis for the policy dialogue in Belize among all involved stakeholders.

4.4 Provide a description of the main outputs and related activities expected to be carried out:

Component 1 – Development of Strategy to Upgrade the Initial Teacher Education and Create an In-service Distance Education System (US$150,000). The component will finance individual consultancy services to develop a strategy for upgrading the initial teacher education (focusing particularly on the pre-service education of secondary level teachers) and the creation of an in-service distance education system for both primary and secondary level teachers. The strategy will also make policy recommendations for how to create a system for the training of school administrators; reform the incentive system for career advancement and retention; and create a school-based quality assurance system.

Component 2 – Experimental Teacher Training Pilot

Sub-component 2(a)–Visual and Tangible Mathematics (US$254,000). The component aims to assist the Ministry of Education in the adaptation, validation and piloting of a mathematics approach that visualizes mathematic relationships, representing abstract ideas in ways that students can see and touch. Several teaching approaches are available from both East Asian countries and Europe that focuses on the process for generating mathematics in the mind (including e.g. the Japanese Kumon Math). Contrary to traditional approaches that tend to presented math to students as a body of facts to memorize–visual and tangible mathematics approaches let children experience mathematical challenges, and witness mathematical relationships. When taught in this way, students truly believe and understand their conclusions, and can easily verify their answers. Students can independently check the truth of a statement using the rods, or using knowledge gained from experience with the rods. In addition to training in the new pedagogical approach, the teachers benefitting from the pilot will also be trained in the use of an assessment instrument for the continuous assessment to track student growth. In addition, school principals and staff members will receive assistance to engage in “school – self-evaluation” processes to help define school objectives for a specific time period. Each school will have clearly defined goals and benchmarks it wants to reach but also school-wide goals. The assessment data will be used as part of the overall evaluation of the pilot.

Sub-component 2(b) – Protective Factors Teacher Training Modules (US$234,000). The sub-component aims to assist the Ministry of Education in the adaptation, validation and piloting of an approach for training teachers in the promotion of protective factors associated with child maltreatment. The teacher training would include dissemination of basic information relevant to identification and reporting child maltreatment, important first steps to take when identifying inappropriate behavior indicative of potential maltreatment, responsibility for reporting and consequences of non-reporting based on research of child/family outcomes, management of inappropriate child behavior, appropriate guidelines to follow during the initiation of reports, and methods of enhancing the relationship between mandated professionals. Both subcomponents will be implemented in poor communities (tentatively Southside Belize will be targeted) with approximately 4,000 participating students. The exact number will be determined once the final effect sizes have been agreed upon. In addition to consultancy services, the component will finance training materials to conduct training and class tutoring of teachers by experienced trainers (tutors). The tutors will involve the whole school in the implementation of the two approaches. The tutors will also arrange meetings with parents, seeking to encourage their active involvement. The output of the component will be two teacher training modules that have been adapted, validated and tested in the Belize context. The modules will be ready to be brought to scale through the national teacher training program administered by the University of Belize in coordination with the Ministry of Education.

4.5 Identify the main audience of knowledge generated or disseminated by this KCP

The main audiences are the Ministry of Education, the University of Belize, St. John’s College Junior College, Corozal Junior College, Sacred Heart Junior College, Stann Creek Ecumenical Junior College, and the school managing authorities. In addition, the Ministry of Social Protection and UNICEF are important counterparts for the implementation of sub-component 2(b).

4.6 Additional technical information

Emma Näslund-Hadley . 2010. “Education Sector: Analysis and Options for a Policy Agenda” in Dougal Martin and Osmel Manzano edited Towards a Sustainable and efficient State: The Development Agenda of Belize. IDBDOCS # 35426695

V. KCPs RESULTS FRAMEWORK. Main Outcomes and Outputs.

5.1 Results Matrix

UnitBaselineYear 1Year 2Expected Completion DateData Source
# of teachers trained in the use of inquiry – based mathematics programNumber020111001006/28/1013Project semester reports
# of students benefitting from the visual and tangible mathematics programNumber020112,0002,0006/28/13Project semester reports
Teachers with access to math guides and visual and tangible math materialsNumber020111001006/28/13Project semester reports
Increase in test score on EGMA lSdTBD2011N/A0.510/31/13Baseline report and final evaluation
Increase in test score on star learningSdTBD2011N/A0.510/31/13Baseline report and final evaluation
# of teachers trained in the use of child protective factorsNumber020111001006/28/13Project semester reports
# of students benefitting from the child protective factors programNumber020112,0002,0006/28/13Project semester reports
Resilience indexSdTBD2011N/A0.510/31/13Baseline report and final evaluation
Teacher attitudes towards abuseSdTBD2011N/A0.510/31/13Baseline report and final evaluation


Describe the source and type of counterpart resources

CostsProject Cost – IDB FinancingCounter – Part ResourcesOther Financing
Year 1Year 2Total Request
Consult.Per diem and Travel (Consultants only)Other
Dev. of Teacher Training Strategy, incl. distance ed. program108,00023,760131,76020,000
Stakeholder meetings10,0007,92017,92020,000
Teacher training Math, incl. materials40,00020,7603,00040,000103,76020,000
10 local teacher tutors in Math50,00040,00010,00050,000150,00020,000
Visual and Tangible Mathematics materials100,000100,00020,000
Teacher Training Child Protective Factors60,00020,64010,00090,64020,000
10 local teacher tutors on Child Protective Factors60,00020,0003,00060,000143,00020,000
Learning tests (EGMA, Star Learning, and resilience)20,00016,92080,000116,92020,000
Evaluation Analysis25,00025,00050,000
Communication and evaluation publications46,00046,00040,000
Approximate value of in-kind counterpart200,000

The Ministry of Education and the University of Belize will contribute US$200,000 in kind towards the execution of the project. The in kind contribution will consist in work of staff and logistical support.

6.1 Types of Consultants:Firms or individuals and main activities/outputs:

Type: Individual or
Firm (if available)
(if available)
Main Activities /
IndividualInternational131,760Development of a strategic plan for teacher training
Consultancy firmInternational304,000*Mathematics Pilot implementation, including
coordination, adaptation of model, training and tutoring
Consultancy firmInternational304,000*Child protective factors pilot implementation, including
coordination, adaptation of model, training and tutoring
IndividualInternational100,000Evaluation Consultant
IndividualBelize26,000Communication and dissemination
IndividualBelize46,920Test administration and data entry

*the firm will sub-contract locally for part of these resources

VII. Bank costs:

For the Bank’s internal purposes, please provide information in Bank costs associated with the execution of this KCP:

7.1 Bank staff participation in KCP:

Staff NameBank UnitFTEs

VIII. Risks:

8.1 Fill-out the KCP’s Environmental Screening and Classification using this link to the Environmental Screening and Classification Toolkit. Then save it in IDBDOCS and record its number in the box below (*):

The operation is limited to consultancy services and didactic materials. The operation does not involve any investments in infrastructure or hazardous materials, and was classified as “C” through the safeguard screening. IDBDOCS#36144350

8.2 Implementation Risks:

The principal implementation risk in Belize is the limited execution capacity of the Government. The MOEY is in urgent need of the products of the KCP as these will constitute a key input to the new education strategy that the Government is preparing. The Ministry of Finance has therefore requested (IDBDOCS-#35588986) that the Bank should undertake the contracting of the consultancies of the KCP.

Because of the many actors involved in teacher training, there is always a risk that some actor will not wish to participate. Although the KCP could be fully executed with the involvement of only the two principals actors – the MOEY and the University of Belize – the implementation of the teacher training strategy will be facilitated if all five teacher training institutions partake in its development. To promote involvement in the development of the strategy, the MOEY and the project team has had initial consultations with the University of Belize, St. John’s College Junior College, Corozal Junior College, Sacred Heart Junior College, and Stann Creek Ecumenical Junior College. At this point, all five actors fully embrace the initiative and welcome the technical support that they will receive.

In conducting teacher training initiatives in any country, there is always a risk that the teacher unions will object. The Belize teacher union is very strict on teachers not being trained during the month of July. The teacher training is therefore scheduled for early August as part of the regular training sessions. Teachers are compensated by the MOEY during the summer training sessions and have therefore in the past not objected to being trained.

8.3 Please identify key environmental and social risks and impacts, and the strategy to address them:

The activities that will be supported aim to strengthen pedagogical practices in the classroom and will not have any negative environmental effects.

As regards the social impact of the operation, the knowledge produced is expected to lead a significant positive impact on the quality of education in Belize. The KCP will also directly involve students from poor communities who participate in the pilot.

IX. Coordination with other MDBs

9.1 Summarize collaboration or coordination with other MDBs, donors and other strategic partners (if any):

The teacher training strategy will form an integral part of a new overall Education Strategy that the Ministry of Education is developing with support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The IDB consultants will work in close coordination with the CDB consultants.

X. Monitoring and evaluation plan.

Fill-out the KCP’s Development Effectiveness Matrix (DEM) using this link to the PCD DEM template. Then save it in IDBDOCS and record its number (*): IDBDOCS#36144384

10.1 Summarize the basic elements of the Monitoring and Evaluation plan, including key activities and associated budget:

A detailed Monitoring and Evaluation Plan is annexed. The KCP will be executed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, thereby enhancing its capacity in the areas of mathematics education and the promotion of child protective factors, as well as teacher training more generally. The Education Division of the IDB (SCL/EDU) is responsible for the execution of the KCP, including the technical supervision of the consultancies contracted. The team leader will undertake regular field visits.

The project team will develop a communication strategy for the pilot, seeking to disseminate both preliminary and final results within and outside the region. All press releases, publications, training programs, seminars and workshops related to the project will clearly indicate that the activities in question have received funding from the Government of Japan. Whenever the IDB logo is used, the Japanese flag will also be displayed.

10.2 Exceptions to Bank policies:


10.3 Contractual Clauses:

Standard Bank procedures for contracting will be followed. In the case of the purchase of Early Grade Math Assessment (EGMA) and Star Math there is only one provider with copy right for each test. Single Source Selection (SSS) will be used to purchase these tests.

Terms of Reference Doc#36144450

Monitoring and Evaluation Plan Doc#36145325

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