BELMOPAN, Thurs. Apr. 22, 2021– In the latest sitting of the House of Representatives, the Minister of Education called on the University of Belize’s board to find innovative and modernized solutions to improve the level of education in the country. He further addressed the need for reform at the nation’s university due to its lack of growth in over a decade.
In his address, Minister Fonseca described the University of Belize as the “flagship of our education system.” Fonseca believes that over recent years this “flagship” was neglected. He said, “I place on record my deep disappointment at how very little progress our national university has made over the past decade. Sadly, in many respects, it has regressed.” Due to the alleged regression of the education at the University of Belize, Fonseca says that the newly elected government has appointed a board of competent and diligent persons who will align the university’s vision and goals with Belize’s development goals.
These board members entrusted with the university’s development will be extensively monitored by the Ministry of Education. “I will not hesitate to exercise my authority under the law to ensure greater accountability, better quality instruction, improved student performance and a stronger demonstrated commitment to national service and commitment,” said Fonseca.
Minister Fonseca said that there are many issues that need to be addressed at UB, and that reform is required to ensure that this is done. “There are many outstanding members, faculty, staff and administration, but there are others who are not performing, not fulfilling their duties and responsibilities to our UB community,” said Fonseca, who called for action. While he thanked Professor Clement Sankat for his time as the president of the University of Belize, Fonseca said he believes that it is time for the professor to part ways with the institution.
“I thank President Professor Sankat for his service to the University of Belize, but as a new government, a new Ministry of Education, I believe it is time for us to move in a new direction. I believe UB needs new leadership. UB needs Belizean leadership,” said Fonseca.
Professor Clement Sankat has served as the president of the University of Belize since 2017, but has been under heavy scrutiny since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to reports, the University of Belize’s president has been directing the operations of the national university remotely from his home in Trinidad and Tobago since the onset of COVID-19. For over a year, he has reportedly been away from his office, making himself available for board meetings only via Zoom.