TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2013-07-05

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

The Education Sector Strategy (ESS) 2011 -2016 sets out three broad policy objectives for improving education in Belize. The strategy focuses on improving access, quality and governance of the education system.

With regard to TVET, the Strategy aims to improve quality and relevance of technical and vocational education and training so that more graduates can gain access to appropriate employment. Attention will be focused on high drop-out numbers and the under-utilisation of Institutes for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVETs). The establishment of a National Qualifications Framework (NQF), adjusting of curricula and joint programming of courses across secondary schools and ITVETs is expected to give positive results that will improve public perception of TVET.

The starting point for the TVET reform will be the development of a Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS) which will map the labour market and establish current and future employment trends and needs. TVET curricula will be reformed according to outcomes from HRDS and TVET programmes will be established at tertiary level. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports will also conduct a survey to establish the progression path of recent ITVET graduates.

ESS sets the following targets for TVET:

• Drop out from ITVETs reduced to maximum 10% in each ITVET

• 75 % of ITVET graduates either find employment in work related to qualification or progress to further education or training

• All ITVETs operate at minimum 90% capacity for full-time programmes

• All ITVET offer customised part-time courses

The National Poverty Elimination Strategy and Action Plan (NPESAP) 2009-2013 recognises that ‘reforms are required at secondary, technical, tertiary and adult education levels that form the nexus between life-chances, livelihoods and social mobility.’ As part of a TVET reform, a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) project established new technical vocational institutes in three districts and rehabilitated three existing centres. The new centres provide for better access to education in rural areas where poverty is most severe. At tertiary level, a number of degree programmes in sciences, social sciences, education, health and business, that prepare individuals for careers in the professions and in technical occupations, were established. Nevertheless, the Strategy emphasizes that expansion of the TVET system must be coupled with robust economic policies to lift people out of poverty. NPESAP promotes the extension of educational inclusion of poor households through targeted economic support for schooling, such as a conditional cash transfer scheme.

Legislative Framework

The Education Act (1990) (amended in 2000) stipulates the establishment of the National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training; and outlines its composition, general functions and the governance of the TVET Council Schedule.

The Education and Training Act (2010) stipulates the establishment of the National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training. It outlines the planned composition of the TVET Council and directs to the Council’s constitution.


Government of Belize, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports: Improving access, quality and governance of education in Belize, Education Sector Strategy 2011-2016. Belmopan March 2012:; last access on 05 July 2013

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2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Formal TVET

Education system in Belize

Source: World Data on Education, UNESCO, 2010/2011

Primary education is compulsory, starts at the age of five, lasts for eight years and concludes with a nationally administered exam that, along with other factors, determines access to secondary education. Most primary schools are church-run but receive public funding.

Secondary education is divided into the general education stream (which includes elements of technical and vocational education) and the vocational and trade stream. ITVETs offer short-courses in basic trades. At the end of secondary education, students sit the Caribbean Examinations Council Certificate (CXC), GCE Ordinary-Level Examination and (after additional two years) the GCE Advanced-Level Examinations.

Higher education encompasses all formal post-secondary education which includes sixth-form establishment (junior colleges), institutions for professional training and the University of Belize. Junior colleges offer post-secondary schooling leading to an associate degree, and the University of Belize offer a range of programmes leading to certificates, diplomas, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees. The training institutions that offered agriculture, nursing, and teacher education, are now subsumed under the University of Belize.

ITVETs form part of the formal TVET system. ITVETs evolved from the Centers for Employment Training and are administered by the Employment Training and Education Services (ETES). There is one ITVET in each of the six districts of Belize. ITVET Toledo has been relocated to its new site at Salamanca. Construction and rehabilitation of the new site of ITVET Belize is almost completed. The majority of students at ITVETS are high school graduates, over fifteen-year-olds who have or have not completed primary education and/or secondary education, working population who seek skill upgrades and/or retraining for certification and persons from industry or the community seeking customized training.

Non-formal TVET

There is a range of non-formal programmes financed by the Government, NGOs, business institutions, aid donors and development projects which are directed at specific needs and problems. The government currently funds an Apprenticeship programme and a skills training programme that provide youth with second chance opportunities to acquire a skill in order to become self-employed or gainfully employed. In the apprenticeship programme, youth are attached to an employer where they learn job skills in the workplace. Youth in the skills training programme, on the other hand, learn job related skills at the training institution. Throughout the country, there are several adult and continuing education institutions that offer skills training for adults in a wide range of technical areas.

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3. Governance and financing

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is the main government body in charge of education in Belize. It establishes national education goals and plans; ensures effective education delivery, and quality assurance at all levels. The Ministry develops curricula and provides a support system for teaching and learning processes. It seeks to “provide quality occupational employment training and education services to empower youth and adults through the development, monitoring, and expansion of modernized technical and adult education programs.”

The Quality Assurance and Development Services (QADS) is responsible for the design and development of curricula at national level; and ensuring its relevance through continuous assessment. It supports and monitors the delivery of the curricula in schools at the district level with the support of relevant stakeholders. QADS is also responsible for assisting schools in their self-evaluation and school development planning to improve the delivery of quality education and to sensitize key stakeholders and the general public on issues related to the delivery of quality education in schools.

Part of the Ministry of Education, the Employment Training and Educational Services (ETES) is in charge of ensuring quality occupational education and training for young people. ETES is working to enhance a national TVET system that gives equal access and empowers trainees in their pursuit of a better quality of life. ETES is in charge of the ITVETs Centres for Employment Training (CET) that offer courses of 9-months duration on average in a wide range of Technical and Vocational skills. The ITVETs also offer short training (3-6 months duration) in small engine repair, food preparation, catering, cake decorating, arts and crafts cushion making, woodwork, and computer training and literacy.

The District Education Councils are part of the Ministry of Education and are located in the six districts of Belize. They assist the Ministry in planning, managing and monitoring of education delivery at all levels. They offer assistance to schools and education institutions and are responsible for ensuring adequate support systems for education delivery are in place.


Public TVET is financed from the annual budget.

Budget allocations by sector 2011 -2016


(Source: Education Sector Strategy 2011 -2016, Ministry of Education and Youth, 2012)

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4. TVET teachers and trainers

Standards for initial teacher education and continuing professional development for teachers at all levels have been developed by the Teacher Education and Development Services at the Ministry of Education. The agency also developed criteria for licensing of teachers, established standards for teaching at all levels and monitors quality of teacher education.

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5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

Belize is part of the CARICOM Vocational Qualifications Framework which includes 15 countries in the Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago). The VQF was established to improve progression routes;

modernise qualifications; ensure parity of esteem between vocational and academic routes; promote transparency, comparability, transferability and recognition of skills and qualifications.

Established in 2003, the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA) was endorsed by CARICOM as the implementation arm of the regional coordinating mechanism for TVET.

The Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) framework includes a common skill levels for all qualifications:

• Level 1 – semi skilled worker;

• Level 2 – skilled/independent worker;

• Level 3 – supervisor/technician/instructor;

• Level 4 – manager/entrepreneur;

• Level 5 – executive professional.

Despite CARICOM’s endeavour to establish a regional qualification system, the European Training Foundation (2010) notes that ‘very few people have acquired CVQ certificates at this stage as these have not been widely implemented yet.’ However, the level of development of the CVQ framework is far ahead of many other transnational initiatives and there is a definite move in the region from National Vocational Qualifications (NQV) to CVQs and its implementation is underway (ETF, 2010).

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance and Development Services (QADS) is responsible for setting educational standards and supporting educational institutions in achieving them. QADS maintain the Quality Assurance System which consists of policies and learning opportunities for ensuring high educational standards; school supervision, inspection, self-evaluation and improvement. QADS is in charge of quality assurance at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels.

As outlined in the Education Sector Strategy (ESS) 2011 -2016, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is developing a single National Quality School Framework composed of five dimensions that make up an effective education institution – basic infrastructure and facilities; staffing; teaching and learning processes; management; and relationships with the community.

The Framework aims to establish a quality assurance system based on common minimum standards of service delivery applied across all educational levels.

Additionally, school supervision procedures will be reviewed and revised while introducing a nation-wide standardised reporting system. Furthermore, the Ministry has established a school inspectorate to train, support and manage inspection teams. School supervision will be aligned with existing quality assurance processes and inspection results will be published on the Ministry’s website.

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6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

According to the Education Sector Strategy 2011 -2016, TVET in Belize remains problematic despite substantial investments. Enrolment numbers are still low but could be increased with more creative planning and timetabling. The four centres that were established in 2011 have seen no increase in enrolment –the national increase is attributable to the opening of new centres in Orange Walk and Stann Creek. The facilities at the six ITVETs are good, but are under-utilised. In two cases, Toledo and Stann Creek, this may be explained by the location of the ITVET centres,

which are outside the main towns – in case of Toledo, significantly so (26 miles). (Ministry of Education and Youth, 2012)

The Education and Training Bill (2009) stipulates the establishment of the Belize Teacher Services Commission and the National Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET Council).

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7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)







Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+2.72 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
0.16 0.14
female male  
0.14 0.14
female male  
0.14 0.14
female male  
0.15 0.15
female male  
0.15 0.15
female male  
0.15 0.15
female male  

54.52 %

49.82 %

50 %

50 %

49.83 %

50 %

(Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision)

GDP per capita (currency: US$)








4 100

4 348

4 461

4 645

4 481

4 532

4 577

(Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on World Bank Database)

Employment (Million)

total female male


0.15 0.15
Labour Force
Labour Force Rate




Labour Force


0.05 (36.9%) 0.08 (63.1%)
Unemployment Rate






0.01 (60%) 0.01 (50%)

(Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on ILO: Key Indicators of the Labour Market)

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC centres

ETES Employment Training and Education Services

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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations


UNESCO (2010) World Data on Education, VII Ed. 2010/11: Geneva: UNESCO-IBE available from,, last access on 26 March 2011

Ministry of Education (2009) National Report – Adult Learning & Education in Belize: Belize: available from , last access on 27 July 2012

Ministry of education, Youth and Sports (2012) Quality Assurance & Development Services: Belize: available from , last access on 27 July 2012

Ministry of education, Youth and Sports (2012) Employment Training & Education Services: Belize: available from, last access on 27 July 2012

European Training Foundation (2011) Transnational Qualification Frameworks: Luxembourg: available from$file/Transnational%20qualifications%20frameworks.pdf, last access on 27 July 2012


CANTA - Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies

CARICOM – Caribbean Community

CDB - Caribbean Development Bank

CXC - Caribbean Examinations Council Certificate

ESS - Education Sector Strategy

ETES - Employment Training and Educational Services

HRDS - Human Resource Development Strategy

MOEY - Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports

NEPESAP - National Poverty Elimination Strategy and Action Plan

NQF – National Qualifications Framework

ITVET - Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training

QADS - Quality Assurance and Development Services

Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
Publication Date: 2013-07-05
Validated by: Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports, Employment Training and Education Services (ETES)

page date 2014-06-02

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