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The Belize K-12 Education System

The Ministry of Education is responsible for education sector in Belize. It determines the educational goals and sets the national policies and plans at all the levels of education system. Within the Ministry of education, School Services is in charge for the management and funding provision of schools. 

Understanding the K-12 Education System of Belize

Pre-school Education

This educational level is supported by community and is not mandatory to attend. This level emphasize on developing the basic literacy and numeracy skills and knowledge. 
  • Ages: 3-5

Compulsory Education

  • Duration: 8 years
  • Ages: 5-14 years

Primary Education

This educational level is compulsory to attend. This level is split up into two stages:

Infant grades: Covers grades I and II

Junior grades: Covers grades III to VIII or standards I-VI

This level of education lays down the basic foundation for further studies and develops the mathematical and language skills. 
  • Ages: 5-14
  • Duration:  8 years
Curriculum: Language covers Spanish and English; science, mathematics, social studies and personal development; physical education, work and technology, health, religious education, life skills, and the expressive arts.  

Examination: At the end of the primary school, students are required to sit for Belize national selection examination (BNSE). This exam comprises of tests in mathematics, English usage and composition, social studies and science. Students who successfully pass the examination are eligible for secondary level studies. A certificate is issued with letter grade from A to D to students who pass the examination. 

Secondary Education 

This level comprises of 4-year schools that provide general education; and also comprise of vocational or trade schools that provide short-term courses in basic trades.
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Ages: 14-18
Curriculum: The first 2 years include language studies that consists of English and Spanish; mathematics, literature, social studies, science, and religion. In the last 2 years, students are streamed and subjects’ studies vary as per the stream. There are 3 streams:
  • Business
  • Academic studies: Includes mathematics, arts and science.
  • Secretarial
Examination: At the end of the secondary education, students must appear for the Caribbean examinations council certificate (CXC), or GCE ordinary-level exams, and after 2 more years, students can sit for the GCE Advanced “A” level exam.

Upon successful completion of the secondary level education, a diploma is issued to the students.

School Credentials

Following are the credentials awarded at the K-12 level:

High School Diploma or Graduation Certificate: Awarded after completion of 12 years of school studies including primary as well as secondary education. Also it does not provide entry into higher education.

Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC): awarded by Caribbean Examination Council (CXC)

General Certificate of Education (GCE), Ordinary level and advanced level: awarded by several examination boards

Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE): awarded by Caribbean Examination Council (CXC)

Examinations

Belize Junior Achievement Tests (BJAT)

The BJAT is conducted after the completion of 8 years of primary education.

Primary School Examination (PSE)

The PSE is administered following completion of 8 years of primary education.

School Year

The schools in Belize run from September and ends in June, with vacations at Christmas and Easter. The length of the school year is about 175 days. Summer vacations are for 9-10 weeks.

Primary schools year is split up into three terms, the conclusion of each corresponding to the summer, Christmas holiday periods and Easter.

Secondary schools year is split up into two or three semesters.

Grading System

Secondary Education Grading Scale:

The secondary schools in Belize use grades that ranges from A to F, where A stands for outstanding and F stands for poor.

 ScaleGrade description US Grade 
 1.00 Excellent/Outstanding A
 2.00-2.99 Good B
 3.00-3.99 Satisfactory C
 4.00-4.99 Weak D
 5.00-5.99 Fail/Poor F
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