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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. The diagram below shows the stages of education in Belize.
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 Cayes and has 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 associate and bachelor degrees through its four faculties of Education and Arts, Management and Social Sciences, Nursing and Allied Health, and Science and Technology. The University also facilitates the offering of three master’s degrees through collaboration with institutions in the Caribbean and North America. 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 estab- lished in San Ignacio, Cayo. Galen is a private university and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs and is affiliated with the University of Indianapolis.
Belize is also home to four (4) offshore 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-American School of Medical Science. The curricula in the schools generally parallel those of medical schools in the United States.