During the last decade, the Government of Belize strongly committed to increase the level of financing of the education sector. Between 2000 and 2009, investments in the sector jumped from 5.6 percent of GDP to over 6.2 percent of GDP with secondary school accounting for over 40 percent of the education budget, the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Despite this substantial progress, the overall performance of the Belizean secondary schools lags behind other peer countries in terms of access, equity and quality. The financial burden of the private education costs is over 4 times higher in quintile I households than in quintile V families, an issue that clearly limits the access of the poorer students to the education system. As a result, about one-third of the students in age of assisting to secondary level are out of the system and dropout and repetition are much higher than in Latin America and the Caribbean. Gaps across districts usually affect poorer regions with greater intensity, deepening in this way equity problems. Although the causes of low enrollment and high dropout are multiple, the unequal distribution of public resources across high schools plays an important role and, within this issue, the distorted resource allocation mechanism that the Ministry of Education (MOE) uses to distribute public funds is at the heart of the situation. In 2008, the Government of Belize launched the secondary school financing reform with a first step consisting in the design of a new resource allocation formula based on a per student allocation (capitation). Sanigest Internacional provided technical support to the Ministry of Education authorities during the preparation of this initial design, which was approved one year later by the Cabinet.
In 2010 the Government again requested technical support from Sanigest to guide and implement the new scheme and in October of this year the Cabinet approved the implementation plan that would become a reality in November 2010.