Disparities among male and female in Developing Belize: Opportunities for Open and Distance Learning to address urgent social, academic, and gender inequality
Historically in Belize, Central America, women are perceived as child bearers, teachers, nurses and those who assume less dominant roles. Even as women are expected to assume traditional responsibilities, national data indicates that at the primary level of schooling which caters to children in the 5 to 14 age range, there were 56,454 women graduates compared to 56,182 men. The Secondary Level of education which provide for education beyond the Primary Level revealed that 25, 963 women were successful in comparison to 25, 103 men. Furthermore, at the tertiary level, 14,476 women have completed higher educational training while only 12,592 men were successful. 1 Shown is that women are more qualified and more poised to enter the labor market. Even as there are more qualified women, 9.2% (8,083) of men were unemployed in comparison to 22.3% (13,287) of women. 2 Apparent is that increase educational training for women fail to result in dominance in the workplace. To examine the extent to which the core secondary and primary curriculum addressed the increasing needs of women and men and the extent to which the needs of indigenous groups are addressed, historical research methods was used to review core educational curriculum to respond to the following three questions: 1. Do the core Primary and Secondary School Curriculum cater to social, economic, and academic needs? 2. Are there specific employable skills for male and female within the secondary or tertiary school curriculum? 3. Are there specific contents and activities to empower males and females to achieve potentials // Revealed from the annual review of course specific training materials and Instructional resources is no conscious effort to address diversity. Also revealed is need for: increase training opportunities for males and females and opportunities to use Open and Distance Learning to cater to the needs of indigenous people who ordinarily would not seek further educational training. Even as opportunities exist, interviews conducted with a random selection of employers showed a preference for male employees over females. Revealed in this study is that unless conscious efforts is made to address traditional roles and increase educational opportunities for both sexes, gender disparity and lack of opportunities will continue to prevail. // Paper ID: 198
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