A case study of governance of higher education in Belize

A case study of governance of higher education in Belize

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A case study of governance of higher education in Belize implications for finance and curricula in higher education
Hoare, Olda R
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[Tampa, Fla]
University of South Florida
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Subjects / Keywords:
Market forces
Institutional isomorphism
Resource dependency
Dissertations, Academic -- Adult, Career and Higher Education -- Doctoral -- USF ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: The purpose of this case study was to understand governance of higher education in the developing country of Belize by examining how governance affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education in Belize. The study also examined the role of the market in higher education and its effects on curricular and financial decision-making in higher education. Data were collected from higher education administrators and Ministry of Education officials through semi-structured interviews, and from review of institutional and public documents related to higher education. A major finding of this study is that although the Ministry of Education through the Tertiary and Post Secondary Services Unit is responsible for the supervision and development of the higher education system, there is a lack of expertise in this "Unit".The lack of expertise means that there is no one who can advise the Ministry of Education in respect to the direction or development of higher education. The study also revealed that there is a lack of an adequate funding formula to support the University of Belize and the junior colleges. While the junior colleges receive only salary grants, UB receives a yearly subvention for capital and recurring expenditures. The lack of a funding formula to include capital projects stifles the infrastructural development of the institution and affects the quality of education offered. The study also revealed that there is a lack of a national development plan to assist institutions in identifying academic programs that meet national development needs. As a result, academic programs are often identified based on market needs, perceived community needs, and social and religious needs depending on the religious affiliation of the institution.Another finding of the study is the role of the market in higher education in Belize. The market plays or should play a role in guiding higher education in Belize, but there is a need for policies and measures to be instituted to lessen the effects of the market. Also, while competition among institutions is necessary because of the small size of the higher education system, collaboration is even more crucial.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Document formatted into pages; contains 201 pages.
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Includes vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Olda R. Hoare.

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A case study of governance of higher education in Belize :
b implications for finance and curricula in higher education
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by Olda R. Hoare.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 201 pages.
Includes vita.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this case study was to understand governance of higher education in the developing country of Belize by examining how governance affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education in Belize. The study also examined the role of the market in higher education and its effects on curricular and financial decision-making in higher education. Data were collected from higher education administrators and Ministry of Education officials through semi-structured interviews, and from review of institutional and public documents related to higher education. A major finding of this study is that although the Ministry of Education through the Tertiary and Post Secondary Services Unit is responsible for the supervision and development of the higher education system, there is a lack of expertise in this "Unit".The lack of expertise means that there is no one who can advise the Ministry of Education in respect to the direction or development of higher education. The study also revealed that there is a lack of an adequate funding formula to support the University of Belize and the junior colleges. While the junior colleges receive only salary grants, UB receives a yearly subvention for capital and recurring expenditures. The lack of a funding formula to include capital projects stifles the infrastructural development of the institution and affects the quality of education offered. The study also revealed that there is a lack of a national development plan to assist institutions in identifying academic programs that meet national development needs. As a result, academic programs are often identified based on market needs, perceived community needs, and social and religious needs depending on the religious affiliation of the institution.Another finding of the study is the role of the market in higher education in Belize. The market plays or should play a role in guiding higher education in Belize, but there is a need for policies and measures to be instituted to lessen the effects of the market. Also, while competition among institutions is necessary because of the small size of the higher education system, collaboration is even more crucial.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Co-advisor: Michael Mills, Ph.D.
Co-advisor: Donald Dellow, Ed.D.
Market forces
Institutional isomorphism
Resource dependency
0 690
Dissertations, Academic
x Adult, Career and Higher Education
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?e14.2189


A Case Study of Governance of Higher Education in B elize: Implications for Finance and Curricula in Higher Education by Olda R. Hoare A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Adult, Career and Higher Education College of Education University of South Florida Co-Major Professor: Michael Mills, Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Donald Dellow, Ed.D. Victor Hernandez, Ph.D. Joan Pynes, Ph.D. Date of Approval: October 29, 2007 Keywords: market forces, autonomy, accountability, institutional isomorphism, resource dependency Copyright 2007, Olda R. Hoare


Dedication I am blessed to have a loving, caring, and supporti ng family without whom I would never have successfully completed this disser tation. I dedicate this dissertation to my husband, Ismael, who offered encouragement and s upport especially on those dark days when I felt like there was no reason to contin ue; my children, Alyssa, Ismael, and Kieran who provided the light on those days and gav e me the reason to continue; my parents,Valdemar and Froila Zetina who instilled in me the ambition to broaden my mind to endless limits; my eight brothers and sisters wh o have always embraced my academic pursuits with unwavering love and support. I dedica te this work to my friends in Tampa, Michael Brennan and Giovanna Brennan, Clare Guild a nd Jason Guild, and Angela Rojas who shared their homes, time, and friendship with u s. I also dedicate this dissertation to the faculty at Sacred Heart Junior College with the hope that they will become inspired to pursue doctoral studies.


Acknowledgements Many individuals have contributed to the successful completion of this dissertation. I wish to acknowledge the professiona l expertise and assistance of my dissertation committee: Dr. Michael Mills, Dr. Dona ld Dellow, Dr. Victor Hernandez, and Dr. Joan Pynes. I wish to particularly acknowl edge and thank Dr. Michael Mills, my co-major professor who provided professional guidan ce, excellent advice, timely feedback, and friendly encouragement throughout the life of this dissertation. I also thank Dr. Donald Dellow for his constant encouragement, professional suggestions, and avid interest in Belizean higher education. I am very gr ateful to the higher education administrators and Ministry of Education officials who graciously accepted to be part of the study and offered their perceptions of and visi ons for higher education in Belize. I wish to acknowledge the support of the Ministry of Education and the Board of Governors, President, Faculty, and Staff of Sacred Heart Junior College.


i Table of Contents Abstract .......................................... ................................................... ................................iv Chapter 1: Introduction............................ ................................................... .........................1 Challenges Facing Higher Education .... ................................................... ...............1 Higher Education Inequality....................... .................................................2 The Higher Education Enrollment Explosion......... .....................................3 The Public vs. Private Good of Higher Education... ....................................4 Market Forces and Higher Education................ ..........................................5 Financing Higher Education........................ ................................................7 Curricula in Higher Education..................... ..............................................11 The ‘glonacal agency’ Heuristic................... ................................................... ......13 Statement of the Problem.......................... ................................................... ..........14 Country Background................................ ................................................... ...........15 Higher education in Belize........................ .................................................19 Rationale for the study........................... ................................................... .............21 Overview of Study Methods......................... ................................................... ......23 Significance of Study............................. ................................................... .............24 Delimitations..................................... ................................................... ..................25 Limitations....................................... ................................................... ...................25 Organization of Study ............................ ................................................... ............27 Chapter 2: Review of Related Literature............ ................................................... ............29 Governance of Higher Education..................... ................................................... ...29 The State Control/State Supervisory Model of Gover nance......................31 Governance of Higher Education in Developing Count ries......................35 Institutional Autonomy in Higher Education......... ................................................41 The Role of Buffer Organizations in Higher Educatio n........................................45 Market Forces in Higher Education.................. ................................................... ..47 Theoretical Frameworks............................. ................................................... ........51 Resource Dependency Theory........................ ...........................................51 Institutional Isomorphism......................... .................................................55 Coercive Isomorphism.............................. .....................................56 Mimetic Isomorphism............................... .....................................57 Normative Isomorphism............................. ...................................57 Summary of Chapter................................ ................................................... ...........61


ii Chapter 3: Methods............................................ ................................................... .............62 Purpose of Study ................................. ................................................... ...............62 Research Paradigm ................................. ................................................... ............62 Research Design ................................... ................................................... ..............64 Case Description................................... ................................................... ..............64 Selection of Participants.......................... ................................................... ...........65 Data Collection.................................... ................................................... ...............67 Interviews......................................... ................................................... .......67 Document Review.................................... ..................................................6 9 Data Analysis...................................... ................................................... ................70 Verification of Data............................... ................................................... .............72 Credibility....................................... ................................................... ........72 Transferability................................... ................................................... ......73 Confirmability.................................... ................................................... .....74 Summary of Chapter................................ ................................................... ...........74 Chapter 4: Research Findings and Discussions....... ................................................... .......75 Question One ...................................... ................................................... ...............75 The Role of the Government in Higher Education in Belize.....................76 The Role and Responsibilities of the Ministry of E ducation.....................77 Development of Higher Education Policies.......... .........................82 Institutional Autonomy and Institutional Accountab ility..............86 The Higher Education System....................... ................................89 The Vision for Higher Education................... ................................92 The Relationship between Higher Education and the Ministry of Education.......................................... ................................................... ..................95 The Role of Politics in Higher Education.......... ................................................... .96 Establishment of and Financial Assistance to Insti tutions.............97 The Appointment of Key University Personnel....... ....................102 Question Two...................................... ................................................... ..............106 Financing Higher Education in Belize.............. .......................................106 Lack of an Effective and Transparent Funding form ula..............108 Funding for Junior Colleges....................... ..................................109 Funding for University of Belize.................. ...............................111 Funding and Long Term Planning in Higher Education ..............113 Alternative Sources of Funding.................... ...............................116 Funding for Capital Projects...................... ..................................119 Question Three.................................... ................................................... ..............122 The Development of Academic Programs.............. .................................123 National Development Needs........................ ..............................124 Community Needs.................................. .....................................125 The Adoption of CAPE.............................. ..............................................128 The Implementation of CAPE........................ .........................................130


iii Question Four...................................... ................................................... ..............137 Responding to Local Market Forces................. .......................................137 Market Forces and Curricular and Financial Decisio n-Making..............139 Determining Market Needs.......................... ................................139 Responding to Regional and Global Markets Forces.. ............................140 The Caribbean Single Market Economy............... .......................140 The National Accreditation Council Act............ .........................143 Rationalization of Academic Programs.............. .........................145 Competition/Collaboration in Higher Education..... ....................147 Resource Dependency and Higher Education in Belize ..........................149 Institutional Isomorphism and Curricula in Higher Education in Belize............................................. ................................................... .......151 Summary of Findings............................... ................................................153 Chapter 5: Summary of Findings, Conclusions, and Im plications for Theory, Practice and Research.............................. ................................................... .....................156 Emergent Themes.................................... ................................................... .........156 Conclusions........................................ ................................................... ...............160 Governance of Higher Education in Belize.......... ...................................160 Funding of Higher Education....................... ............................................164 Curricula and National Development................ ......................................168 Market Forces and Higher Education................ ......................................169 Implications for Theory and Further Research....... .............................................173 Implications for Practice.......................... ................................................... .........176 References......................................... ................................................... ............................177 Appendices......................................... ................................................... ...........................192 Appendix A: Letter of Invitation to Participate.... ...............................................193 Appendix B: Interview Guide for Higher Education A dministrators..................194 Appendix C: Interview Guide for Ministry of Educat ion Officials.....................196 Appendix D: IRB Approval Letter................... ................................................... 198 Appendix E: Consent Form to Participate in the Res earch..................................199 About the Author................................... ................................................... .............End Page


iv A Case Study of Governance of Higher Education in B elize: Implications for Finance and Curricula in Higher Education. Olda R. Hoare ABSTRACT The purpose of this case study was to understand go vernance of higher education in the developing country of Belize by examining how gover nance affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education in B elize. The study also examined the role of the market in higher education and its effe cts on curricular and financial decisionmaking in higher education. Data were collected fro m higher education administrators and Ministry of Education officials through semi-st ructured interviews, and from review of institutional and public documents related to hi gher education. A major finding of this study is that although the Ministry of Education through the Tertiary and Post Secondary Services Unit is re sponsible for the supervision and development of the higher education system, there i s a lack of expertise in this “Unit”. The lack of expertise means that there is no one wh o can advise the Ministry of Education in respect to the direction or developmen t of higher education. The study also revealed that there is a lack of an adequate funding formula to support the University of Belize and the junior col leges. While the junior colleges receive only salary grants, UB receives a yearly subvention for capital and recurring


v expenditures. The lack of a funding formula to incl ude capital projects stifles the infrastructural development of the institution and affects the quality of education offered. The study also revealed that there is a lack of a n ational development plan to assist institutions in identifying academic program s that meet national development needs. As a result, academic programs are often ide ntified based on market needs, perceived community needs, and social and religious needs depending on the religious affiliation of the institution. Another finding of the study is the role of the ma rket in higher education in Belize. The market plays or should play a role in g uiding higher education in Belize, but there is a need for policies and measures to be ins tituted to lessen the effects of the market. Also, while competition among institutions is necessary because of the small size of the higher education system, collaboration is ev en more crucial.


1 Chapter One: Introduction Challenges Facing Higher Education Countries around the world have and continue to fa ce major challenges from globalization, the information and communication re volutions, and the increasing importance of knowledge to the economic growth of a country (Altbach, 2001; HolmNielson, 2001; Salmi, 2002). Higher education syste ms continue to grapple with the pressures from the rapid rise and impact of technol ogy, the ever-increasing number of traditional and diverse students accessing higher e ducation, the demands for more accountability from governments, and the increasing competition from for-profit institutions. These pressures are occurring in a co ntext in which national governments globally are less able and willing to provide adequ ate funding to satisfy such growing demands (Altbach & Davis, 1999; Austin & Chapman, 2 002; Salmi & Hauptman, 2006) so that increasingly, students are required to shar e in the cost of higher education. Nowhere, however, are the pressures on higher educ ation more pronounced and formidable than in the developing world, where high er education is plagued by massive increases in enrollments, controversy over its stat us as a public or private good, extremely inadequate funding, corruption, outdated curricula, and inadequate and rigid governance structures (Holm-Nielson, 2001; Task For ce on Higher Education and Society [TFHES], 2000). Whereas many developed coun tries have made changes in their higher education systems to deal with the global ch allenges, those in the developing world continue to lag behind (Tilak, 2003) so that “in a world divided into centers and


2 peripheries, the centers grow stronger and more dom inant and the peripheries become increasingly marginalized”(Altbach, 2004, p. 1). In many developing countries, rigid governance models and management practices are stif ling higher education from effecting necessary and innovative changes (Bloom, 2003; Holm-Nielson, 2001; TFHES, 2000; van Vught, 1993). There is a need for governm ents to examine their relationship with higher education in order to empower higher ed ucation to effectively deal with these challenges (Bloom, 2003; TFHES, 2000). The aim of t his study, therefore, was to address this concern by examining governance in the develop ing country of Belize, where higher education, in like other developing countries, cont inues to be challenged by inadequate funding, inadequate resources, outdated and institu tionalized curricula, among other concerns. Higher Education Inequality Altbach (2004) notes that higher education systems around the world are affected and respond differently to global trends. Whereas m any higher education systems in the developed world have made significant progress in transforming and reinventin g themselves, this transformation in the developing w orld is slow, uneven, and often even non-existent. The world of globalized higher educat ion is characterized by an obvious inequality, where powerful universities and systems in industrialized nations continue to dominate the production and distribution of knowled ge while other smaller and less developed systems in developing countries face new barriers and old challenges (Altbach, 2004). The old challenges include issues such as eq uity, quality, access to higher education, massification, financing, and governance which have traditionally plagued higher education systems (Holm-Nielson, 2001). Mos t developed countries have been


3 able to successfully deal with these challenges, al beit with differing successes (World Bank, 2002). The new challenges include those arisi ng from globalization, rapid technological advancements, and the increasing impo rtance of knowledge as a growth factor. For example, developed countries spend far more on research and development (R&D) than developing countries. In fact, many deve loping countries have yet to make the connection between knowledge production and eco nomic growth; consequently, they have made no progress in building up their capacity to conduct R&D Activities (Bloom, 2003; Holm-Nielson, 2001). Many developing countrie s lack the capacity to conduct research and are dependent on others for new knowle dge (Altbach, 2004). But research in universities plays a crucial role in setting the fo undation to develop programs, policies, and education for human resources (Jacques, 1996). The major concern is whether developing countries can transform their higher edu cation systems to cope with and successfully overcome both old and new challenges ( Altbach, 2001; Holm-Nielson, 2001). The Higher Education Enrollment Explosion The United Nations Education and Scientific and Cul tural Organization [UNESCO] Institute for Statistics (2005) provides t ertiary (higher education) enrollment figures for the years 1990-91 and 2001-02 for 203 c ountries which are divided into six regions (Global University Network for Innovation [ GUNI]), 2006). The data show that all regions of the world have experienced some expa nsion in higher education. The extent of this expansion, however, varies by region, with the Arab region showing an overall average increase of 130% compared to Africa with a 79% increase and Latin America and the Caribbean with a 74% increase (Lopez-Segrer a, Sanyal, & Tres, 2006). A recent


4 study of higher education in Latin America and the Caribbean (Inter-Development Bank, 1999) found that there is a rapid increase of highe r education enrollment while government funding has either remained stable or gr eatly diminished. Examining the Caribbean region further for the percentage of the 20-24 year age group in the population enrolled in tertiary education shows that, in 1990, the overall average enrollment was 6.1 percent with the highest being in Barbados (21%) an d the lowest in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (2.9 percent). Belize had a 6.4 percent enrollment (World Bank, 1993). In 1995, Barbados had a gross enrollment ratio of 29 p ercent compared to Haiti and Belize which both had one percent (TFHES, 2000). The net e nrollment for Belize in 1995 was 2.5 percent. By 2002, this figure had increased to 5.8 percent (Caribbean Development Bank, 2005). Despite the disparity in enrollment fi gures for the different regions of the world, it is clear that enrollment in many countrie s has increased over the last decade. Most countries have sought to make their higher edu cation systems more inclusive especially for the needy and underprivileged groups recognizing that there are both public and private benefits of higher education. The Public vs. Private Good of Higher Education The question of the role of higher education in th e development of a country or nation is more pertinent today than ever, and the q uestion of who should pay for it remains controversial. Traditionally, in countries like the United States, higher education has been defined as a “public good” where the benef its accrue to society (Altbach & Davis, 1999; Tierney, 2004). In the United States, for example, policies such as the Morill Land Grant Act, The GI Bill, and Title IV em phasized the public benefits of higher education (Tierney, 2004). Such benefits inc lude greater productivity, national


5 development, democratic participation, less depende ncy on state support services, and higher potential to move towards a knowledge-based economy (Institute for Higher Education Policy, 1998). Today, however, “the publ ic good has been privatized” (Tierney, 2004, p.11) and the emphasis is on the in dividual benefits derived from a higher education. But higher education’s responsibility fo r the development of society is critical especially in developing countries (Jacques, 1996). In developing countries, however, where the state traditionally shouldered the burden of higher education, the tendency now is to consider higher education more as a private g ood. Increasingly, then, in both developed and developing countries, students are re quired to pay for services or share the cost. Market Forces and Higher Education Traditionally, government’s role in higher educatio n was widely recognized as necessary based on the premise that higher educatio n was important for the social, economic, and individual benefits accrued from it ( Tilak, 2004). With the advent of globalization in the 1980s and 1990s, the role of t he government in subsidizing higher education has been affected (Mok, 2005; Steir, 2003 ). The pressures to compete in a global market forced many countries to redefine the ir relationship with higher education by adopting a market philosophy which stressed the individual benefit of higher education, and the need for institutions to adopt m arket-like practices (Slaughter and Rhoades, 2004 ) and become more competitive and ent erprising (Slaughter and Leslie, 1997). The introduction of this philosophy has for ced higher education to become more efficient, decrease the dependency on public subsid y, seek alternative sources of revenue


6 through relationships with industry, and restructur e for competitive advantage (Marginson and Consodine, 2000). Market pressures both in their local and global asp ects have influenced changes in higher education especially in developed countries and more recently in developing countries (Jonathan, 2006; Tilak, 2004). Howe and C assell (2004) writing about higher education in the Eastern Caribbean note that “… edu cation at all levels, but especially at the higher level must seek as a primary objective t o the main vehicle of achieving and sustaining economic productivity in the new globali zed environment”(p. 7). Currie (2003) suggests that “intellectual traditions are b eing forcibly displaced by market directives” (p. 499). Strong market orientation has forced higher education institutions to be more sensitive to market needs (Mok, 1999). Jona than (2006) suggests that the introduction of market pressures in developing coun tries was simply to decrease public subsidies of higher education. She notes, however, that in societies with high poverty and obvious inequalities in higher learning opportuniti es, relegating the responsibility of higher education to the ‘market’, has resulted in f urther inequalities and loss of human talents and potential. Additionally, in competitio n among institutions, the market favors those institutions that are “better placed by talen t, disposition, and the chances of circumstance, much of which is necessarily inherite d” (Jonathan, 2006, p. 45). In many developing countries, there is a rapid grow th of private institutions. The reason often cited for this rapid expansion is that there is a lack of government resources for higher education (Tilak, 2003). Also, private h igher education is hailed as an efficient system that can improve quality while expanding acc ess (Tilak, 2003). While this expansion in the private sector allows for greater diversity for students and forces public


7 institutions to improve their quality, there is a c aution that if such competition is not regulated, the consequences can be adverse (Steir, 2003). Financing Higher Education Traditionally, the bulk of public higher education financing has come from the central governments while tuition fees are often mi nimal and any attempt to rectify this situation is often met with great resistance (TFHES 2000). Faced with the rapid and dramatic expansion in higher education systems, and the pressing demands from other social needs such as poverty reduction, the rise in HIV/AIDS, and other health threats, governments are often rendered incapable of financi ng this growth (Lewis & Dundar, 2002; Steir, 2003; Ziderman, 1994). The massive inc rease in enrollment is attributed to the policies of the 1980s, encouraged by agencies s uch as the World Bank and other regional development banks which emphasized “basic” education and relegated higher education to a secondary position (Chapman & Austin 2002: Tilak, 2003). The consequence of this policy today is that a substant ial number of high school graduates are now accessing higher education even while higher ed ucation systems are grossly under prepared to deal with such influx (Bloom, 2003; TFH ES, 2000). It is estimated that in the last 20 years, the number of students accessing hig her education in developing countries has more than tripled (TFHES, 2000). Data on public expenditure on education as a percentage of the gross national product (GNP) for developing countries in Africa show that between the periods 1990-2002, 18 of 34 of the developing countries increased their funding for education while the other 16 decreased it (UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2005). In Latin America and the Caribbean, out of 2 6 countries in the sample, 20 increased their share of public expenditure in educ ation and only 6 decreased it


8 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2005). The caveat however, is that even though many of the countries increased their overall funding fo r education, the actual funding for higher education decreased as a percentage of total educational expenditure (Tilak, 2003). For example, in the African region, the majority of the countries in the sample (N= 24) had a decrease in their allocation for higher educa tion as a percentage of total public educational expenditure (UNESCO Institute of Statis tics, 2005). Nowhere is this reality more pronounced than in Latin America and the Carib bean where of the 23 countries sampled, 15 had suffered a reduction in their alloc ation for higher education as a percentage of total educational expenditure (UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2005). Even with the increase of expenditure for higher educati on in many countries, financing higher education remains problematic since the increase is not proportionate to the significant increase in higher education enrollment (Lopez-Segr era, Sanyal, & Tres, 2006). And even with a sharp rise in enrollment in the last tw o decades, the disparity in higher education enrollment between developing and develop ed countries remains very large (Holm-Nielson, 2001; TFHES, 2000; Tilak, 2003) with the United States boasting an 81% enrollment rate as opposed to 9% for developing countries as a whole (HolmNielson, 2001). Compounding the problem for national governments in developing countries, for example many in Latin America and the Caribbean, ar e the burdens of debt repayment, the changes in market prices for exports, and the r estrictive policies of international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund, w hich have forced developing countries to reduce public expenditures (Nettleford 2000). The economic reform policies which most developing countries have had to adopt r equired a decrease of public


9 expenditures, including higher education (Tilak, 20 03). This trend of diminishing state financial support has had major consequences for th e quality of teaching and learning by increasing the impacts of unqualified teachers, poo rly prepared high school graduates, inadequate and inappropriate infrastructure, poor l ibrary resources, and outdated curricula (Holm-Nielson, 2001). Another major challenge to higher education in many developing countries is a lack of diversity in funding streams. As is mention ed elsewhere, public higher education in the developing world has relied almost totally o n government subventions and only minimally on the private sector, student fees and t uitions, and international donors (TFHES, 2000). It must also be noted that it is onl y in the last decade or so that governments are instituting policies that require s tudents share in the cost of their educations. In the 1970s, several governments in th e Caribbean instituted policies that provided free tuition and loan assistance to their citizens to attend tertiary education (Miller, 2000). In the 1990s however, several gover nments rescinded this policy and instead introduced cost-sharing mechanisms which va ried by institutions and academic programs (Miller, 2000). In Belize, the government of the United Democratic Party introduced free tuition in 1993 for students at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. However, college students would only receive the free tuition in the ir second year of college. Today, that policy is still in effect. Since the free tuition p olicy, education has become a lot more expensive and enrollment as a percentage of the tot al number of college age students has remained almost constant. Empirical evidence to sup port or refute these claims does not exist at this time. Even in countries that have cos t-sharing mechanisms in place, the fees


10 which students pay in relation to the true cost of education remains negligible. At the University of Belize [UB], only recently, the fee a nd tuition structures were adjusted to reflect a more realistic cost of higher education. However, strong protests from students and a commitment from the government to make up the deficit discouraged the University from implementing the new fees (http://w ww.7newsbelize.com/archive). In writing about higher education financing in the Caribbean, Lopez-Segrera (2006) notes: citizens in the English speaking Caribbean must ack nowledge the fact that governments of the region are severely constrained and cannot provide the levels of funding neededÂ…the funding of higher educ ation must be a responsibility shared among students and their fami lies, the private sector, and all relevant stakeholders. (p. 270) Teferra (2006) makes similar suggestions in his per spectives of African higher education: Tertiary education institutions in most African cou ntries are in a severe and worsening financial condition and governmental reve nues will not be able to generate enough additional revenue to provide the q uality and the level of participation that the countries of Africa demand a nd deserve. Revenue supplementation from some non-government/non-taxpay er source(s) is thus essential. Parents (via tuition fees) and students (mainly via loans) are sources that cannot be ignored. (p.162) But governments must concede that higher education will never be in a position to completely subsidize itself while at the same time providing access to the increasing


11 numbers of students clamoring for it (Mohamedbhai, 2003) and contributing to national development. Curricula in Higher Education There is no doubt that higher education is essentia l to promoting economic growth and human development. This dual mission of higher education is particularly important in today’s globalized world where knowledge is link ed to the global economy and lifelong learning is necessary for human development (S almi, 2002). But higher education in developing countries is woefully unsuited to meet t his dual demand (Bloom, 2003; THFES, 2000). One major reason for higher education ’s deficiency is related to curricula. The failure of curricula to encompass the knowledge skills, and perspectives critical for these global times is recognized as a crucial probl em for higher education in the developing world (Bloom, 2003). Curricula often ten d to highlight rote learning as opposed to creativity and curiosity (Bloom, 2003). Additionally, curricula often tend to emphasize factual knowledge and neglect the learnin g process (TFHES, 2000). There is a growing importance for the learning process to high light the abilities to find, access, and apply knowledge to problem solving (Salmi, 2003; TH FES, 2000; International Commission on Education for the 21st century,1996) especially in developing countries where higher education can assist in solving nation al problems (Bloom, 2003). In many developing countries, educators try to link academic programs to national development but are often unclear on what exactly i s “national development” (Woolman, 2001). Increasingly, national development is being defined primarily in the context of economic development (Woolman, 2001), but the absen ce of a sustainable national policy for economic growth further compounds the pr oblem for academic programs to


12 meet national development. Also, the controversy ov er the public and private good of education and the disagreement over the missions of institutions affect curriculum development in higher education. For example, in so me developing countries more emphasis is placed on higher educationÂ’s role to me et job markets needs than on human development. Curricula are often designed solely to meet the needs of the job market; therefore, there is a great emphasis on specialized education (TFHES, 2000). While specialization is necessary, especially in areas of science and technology, it often comes at a cost to general education which promotes the v alues of life-long learning, good citizenship, and sets the foundation for future spe cialization (TFHES, 2000). General education is important in developing countries beca use it is that part of the curriculum through which national values, morals, and culture can be transmitted. General education should not be an additive to the broader curriculum structure but must be conceptualized as co-existing with specialized knowledge; it is th e method by which specialized knowledge may be applied to make sense of the world (Bell, 1966). More recent curricula reform in some developing cou ntries, for example, South Africa, promote national development but also focus on individual careers, life-long learning opportunities, and knowledge application ( Austin, 2002). Other countries, however, continue to neglect curricular reform, or when there is reform, it is done in a top-down approach, often excluding those who are ul timately responsible for curriculum delivery (Bloom, 2003). A good example of this top down approach is the case of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) i n Belize. Decisions concerning the curriculum for this exam were made by high leve l policy makers in the government and communicated to institutions. Many educators qu estion this examÂ’s relevance to


13 Belize’s needs and its inability to measure quality They also criticize the focus on the exam rather than on preparing student for life-long learning, and the transferability of the credits to the University of Belize and other inter national colleges and universities (District Consultations conducted in preparation fo r higher education conference, 2006). Other related criticisms reflect the neglect of cru cial programs in favor of this regional exam and the institutionalization of certain academ ic programs. Programs such as Business Administration and Tourism Management are becoming institutionalized regardless of their utility to local communities wh ile programs that reflect Belize’s linguistic diversity, its natural resources, rich h istory and art, and its place in regional integration are non-existent (Aird, 2006). The ‘glonacal agency’ Heuristic The answers to the challenges and responses to the pressures facing higher education systems depend largely on the global, reg ional, and national contexts within which each higher education system exists (Lee, 200 4; Marginson & Rhoades, 2002). Marginson and Rhoades (2002) refer to the ‘gloanaca l agency heuristic’ which considers not only the global trends but also the regional, n ational and local structures which “lead to varying patterns of national and local adaptatio n and resistance” (p. 299). This heuristic also considers the role of international agencies that impact higher education policies such as the World Bank, Organization for E conomic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the European Union. Thus, e ven while higher education systems in different countries and regions are impa cted by similar forces, their responses to these challenges and the extent to which they ar e successful in coping may differ tremendously.


14 Lee (2004) examined how global trends influenced t he development of higher education in Malaysia and the national and institut ional responses to them. Even while the Malaysian higher education system was impacted by global trends such as the call for a reduction of the welfare state, it was undergoing significant transformation under the aegis of a strong interventionist state (Lee, 2004) This led Lee to conclude, “the Malaysian state goes against the global trend by ex panding its role in higher education by being the provider and regulator as well as the pro tector of higher education” (Lee 2004, p. 45). Statement of the Problem The critical question in examining governance is to determine whether the state control or state supervisory model is appropriate t o developing countries depending on their context (van Vught, 1993). Some argue that th e state supervisory model of governance along with market coordination is more s uitable in times of crisis in higher education (van Vught, 1993; TFHES, 2000; Bloom, 200 3) especially in developing countries. Others suggest that the state-supervisor y model is not automatically relevant to developing countries faced with social exclusion an d financial constraints (Hall, Symes and Luescher, 2002) but concede that strict governm ental controls are disadvantageous to higher education in developing countries. They upho ld the notion that a different and less direct state control is necessary in developing cou ntries, but not one premised on quasimarket controls like those in some developed nation s. Neave and Van vught (1994) suggest that “government regulation may be analyzed by asking what pattern of decisionmaking is appropriate in light of the specific char acteristics of the context in which it will be used ”(p. 36).


15 Good governance, nonetheless, is an important and p erhaps the key issue for achieving quality in higher education in developing countries (Steir, 2003; TFHES, 2000). Good governance is created when there is a b alance between institutional autonomy and institutional accountability (Hall and Symes, 2005; van Vught, 1993). However, many countries continue to impose strict c ontrols on their higher education systems severely limiting institutional autonomy. v an Vught (1993) suggests that “the relationship between higher education institutions and system-wide authority structures clearly influences processes of change and innovati on in higher education” (van Vught, 1993, p.21). Roberts (1999) also observes that gove rnance structures in developing countries generally impact institutional autonomy i n respect to academic program development, promotions, academic orientation, and mission. Considering the increasing importance of higher edu cation in the process of globalization and its vitality in the development o f a country (Bloom, 2003), it is paramount that governments in developing countries examine their relationship with higher education. Many involved in higher education in the developing world believe that governance is the main problem responsible for the ineffectiveness, inefficiency and nonperformance of higher education (Bloom, 2003). It i s important therefore, to understand fully how governance affects key processes in highe r education such as curriculum and finances. Country Background The country of Belize lies on the Caribbean coast o f Central American bordered on the north by Mexico and the west and south by Gu atemala. Belize, a former British colony is the only English-speaking country in Cent ral America. The population of


16 Belize is 309,760 with an almost equal percentage o f males and females (Central Statistical Office [CSO], 2007). Forty five percent of the population is under the age of 18 (CSO, 2007). Twenty five percent of households i n Belize are considered poor and nine and a half percent are considered indigent. Th irty three percent of individuals are considered poor and 13% considered indigent (Povert y Assessment ReportBelize, 2002). Poverty is mostly concentrated in the rural areas especially in the southernmost part of the country (Poverty Assessment ReportBel ize, 2002). The main ethnic groups in Belize are the Mestizo, Creole, Garifuna, East I ndian and Ketchi, Yucatec and Mopan Mayas. Other ethnic groups include German and Dutch Mennonites, Chinese, Arabs and Africans. English is the official language of Beliz e although English Creole and Spanish are widely spoken especially in everyday conversati ons The economy of Belize depends primarily on tourism and exports such as sugar, bananas, citrus, and seafood (U.S. Department of St ate, July 2007). Over the last five years, tourism has become the premier contributor t o employment and economic activities (CDB, 2006). In 2005, the total contribu tion of the tourism industry was more than 10% of GDP. Because exports depend largely on preferential trading agreements primarily with the United States, the United Kingdo m, and other countries and are susceptible to fluctuating market prices, the econo mic performance of Belize is vulnerable. BelizeÂ’s outstanding debt at the end of 2006 was 1.10 billion U.S. dollars, a figure that is equivalent to 100% GDP (U.S. Departm ent of State, July 2007). The government has embarked on an economic adjustment p rogram with the intention of (a) increasing revenues (b) decreasing public sector ex penditures and (c) narrowing the fiscal deficit to 1 percent of GDP (U.S State Department, July 2007, p. 3). To increase


17 revenues, the government instituted a General Sales Tax of 9% on most goods and services. In 2006, the consumer price index (CPI) i ncreased dramatically mainly because of the impact of the new taxes and increases in pri ces of petroleum products (CDB, 2006). In order to decrease public sector expenditu res, capital project expenditures were largely curtailed. This decision in turn, has const rained the economic development of Belize since suitable roads, port facilities, and o ther infrastructure are necessary for economic development. In 2005, oil was found in the western region of the country and the reserves estimated to be approximately 10 million barrels. I n 2006, oil was being extracted at about 2,700 barrels per day. More than 80% of the 4 80,000 barrels by mid 2006 was exported to the US. By the end of 2006, six other o il companies had been issued license to explore for oil. But the discovery of oil is not without controversy and attention has to be paid to the effects of this industry on other in dustries (CDB, 2006). In order to strengthen its potential for economic d evelopment, Belize has established close ties with Central America through the Central American Integration System (SICA) and continues to be an active member of the Caribbean Community [CARICOM]. In January 2006, the Caribbean Single Ma rket and Economy (CSME) was formally operationalized. The CSME is a continuatio n of the regional economic integration which began in 1968 and the Caribbean C ommunity and Common Market in 1974(Government of Belize Press Office, 2005). The CSME has three main features. First, it is meant to (a) deepen economic integrati on by advancing beyond a common market towards a Single Market and Economy, (b) wid en the membership and thereby expand the economic mass of CARICOM, and (c) progre ss in the insertion of the region


18 into the global trading and economic system by stre ngthening trading links with nontraditional partner (CARICOM Single Market and Econ omy, p. 1). The CSME initiative has a variety of components such as the establishme nt of a Caribbean Court of Justice, trade in goods, harmonization of standards, free mo vement of skilled persons, and regional accreditation of qualifications and standa rds for professionals. In respect to trade, the CSME is an important strategy to establi sh linkages with the global community since individual member states “represent an insign ificant share of global trade, have small and fragmented markets, and have open economi es often reliant on imports.” (CARICOM Single Market and Economy, 2005 p. 5). The CSME, it is expected, will enhance the region’s capacity to recruit skilled wo rkers and achieve greater economies of scale in order to improve its competitiveness in th e global market (CARICOM Single Market and Economy, 2005). Belize as a signatory to this initiative is expected to greatly benefit especially in areas of trade and education. The country of Belize upholds a parliamentary democ racy based on the Westminster system. A Prime Minister and a cabinet make up the Executive Branch and a 29-member elected House of Representatives and a nine member appointed senate make up the Legislative Branch. Elections are held every five years and the party with the majority seats forms the new government. The Prime Minister appoints a cabinet from the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Ca binet formulates policies that are then executed by respective ministries of governmen t. The Ministry of Education [MOE] for example, is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies for all levels of education in the country. Education in Be lize starts at the pre-school and extends to tertiary or higher education level.


19 Higher Education in Belize Higher education or Tertiary education in Belize is comprised of ten public junior colleges, one public university, one private univer sity, UWI School of Continuing Studies, and two off-shore medical schools. The bul k of the students attend public institutions concentrated in the two year colleges because the private institutions cater to mostly foreign students, even though a small number of local students may still attend. In comparison to the net enrollment in the Caribbean r egion, BelizeÂ’s net tertiary enrollment percentage of 5.8% is exceedingly low (Caribbean De velopment Bank [CDB], 2005). Although there have been some improvements in acces s, higher education in Belize is still largely restricted for the poor. In 2000, for example, only .4 percent of the poorest students compared to 13% of the richest accessed a higher education (CDB, 2005). Even while higher education is considered elitist becaus e of the small percentage of students who access it (UNESCO, 2004), it has dramatically e xpanded to provide opportunities for students in areas that were previously not being se rved. In the 1950s and extending to the latter half of the 1980s, tertiary schools existed only in Belize City. Today, however, every district in Belize has at least one higher ed ucation institution that serves the urban and rural areas of that geographic region. The Univ ersity of Belize [UB], the only public university, is situated in Belmopan, the capital of Belize. The net enrollment or proportion of the relevant age group enrolled in hi gher education increased from 2.5% in 1995 to 5.8% in 2002 (CDB, 2005). Higher education in Belize is characterized by a 2+ 2 system with students pursuing their first two years of study at the juni or colleges and transferring to UB or


20 other four year local, regional, or international u niversities to pursue the final two years. UB, however, does offer some 4-year programs, for e xample in Nursing, Teacher Education, Natural Resource Management, and a few o ther fields. The junior colleges offer associate degrees in major fields such as Sci ence, Business, Computer Science, Tourism, and Teacher Education. Of the ten junior c olleges, four maintain joint status as public and religious institutions and are referred to as “grant-aided” institutions. In these cases, the respective churches maintain control of the principles and set the mission of the institutions according to their doctrines. In some cases, the Church may exert influence on certain aspects of the curricula. For example, a t the Catholic institutions, certain religious courses such as theology must be included in the General Education Curricula and other religious activities such as spiritual re treats and liturgies are strongly encouraged. In respect to appointment of administra tors, the Church also plays a major role through its local representative on the Boards of Management of the institutions. Typically, the administrator of the institution mus t be a practicing Catholic. The other four junior colleges and UB are fully public instit utions. At these institutions, there is a general sentiment that administrators are appointed by their respective management boards but not without the consent of the governmen t. In fact, the President of UB is appointed by the Prime Minister. In respect to curriculum, the Ministry of Education exerts some control. For example, more recently, the MOE has vigorously prom oted the adoption of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE) in order to standa rdize tertiary education in Belize and to gain regional and international accreditatio n. In fact, in February 2004, the Cabinet ratified a bill to adopt CAPE as the official exam and develop mechanisms to provide


21 remuneration for government employees who pass the exam (Chan, 2005). This new policy encourages two-year colleges to adopt CAPE c urricula in order for their students to be able to compete for the official Belize Open Scholarship and for their graduates who work in the public service sector to receive re muneration accordingly. As of 2006, all the junior colleges have revised or aligned the ir associate degree programs with the CAPE Program. The government of Belize provides financial subvent ions to all public junior colleges and the University of Belize. The Universi ty of Belize receives a yearly grant from the Government of Belize. Junior colleges rece ive salary grants totaling 70 percent of their salary bills each month. In addition, the government provides merit scholarships for high school graduates who obtain six or more Ca ribbean Examinations Council passes. The government also provides free tuition f or all second-year students pursuing associate degrees. Rationale for the Study In order to develop a higher education system that prepares students for a global economy, it will be necessary for the government of Belize to address the constraints in higher education such as access, education costs, p oor and inadequate infrastructure, and outdated curricula. Also, critical to addressing th e future of higher education in Belize is a discussion of the importance of the market in hig her education, the importance of buffer organizations, the importance of institutional auto nomy, and the need to revise and professionalize the management processes, such as f inancing and curricula development in higher education systems (Richardson, Bracco, Ca llahan & Finny, 1999; van Vught, 1993). A study examining these governance issues in Belize is particularly relevant and


22 timely since any modernization of governance struct ures in Belize must take into account these variables. Although much research has been carried out on gove rnance structures and their effects on higher education in developed countries, primarily the United States (Bowen, 1997; Knott and Payne, 2004; Richardson et al, 1999 ; Toma, 1990; Wellman, 2002), very few studies have been carried out specifically on g overnance in developing countries. Even fewer studies have been conducted which examin e how governance affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education in developing countries. In Belize, research literature on governance in higher education does not exist. The purpose of this case study, then, was to unders tand governance of higher education in the developing country of Belize by ex amining how governance affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education in Belize. This study was intended to assist both national and institutional policy makers in understanding how the governance structure affects the management process es that are essential to higher education development in Belize. The study addresse d the following main questions: 1. What is the structure and the governance system of higher education in Belize? 2. How does the system of governance affect financi al decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? 3. How does the system of governance affect curricu lar decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? 4 How do market factors affect financial and curricul ar decision-making in higher education in Belize?


23 Overview of Study Methods This study used a case study design to study gover nance in higher education in Belize. The case study design is used when the rese archerÂ’s purpose is to examine a single entity, phenomenon or case for which there i s very little perspective, and therefore requires investigating (Creswell, 1998; Merriam, 19 88). This case was selected because it is an issue of concern and the purpose was to study or uncover the character of the class (developing countriesÂ’ higher education governance systems) to which the case belongs (Merriam, 1988). Concentrating on a single entity a llows the researcher to understand the interaction of important factors inherent in the ph enomenon (Merriam, 1988). The single entity was BelizeÂ’s higher education governance str ucture and the focus was intrinsic since governance in Belize is an issue that has not been explored before and reflects my interest as a former assistant academic dean at an academic institution in the country. A purposeful homogeneous sampling strategy was used to select the participants for the study because this technique involves selec ting individuals who share particular characteristics or who share membership in a subgro up (Miles & Huberman, 1994). The participants in this study share the experiences of working in the higher education system in Belize and belonging to or working with the Asso ciation of Tertiary Level Institutions in Belize [ATLIB]. The participants were the deans of six junior colleges, current and former administrators at the University of Belize; officials in the Ministry of Education and the Chair of ATLIB. Data were collected from on e interview with each participant. In some cases, follow-up telephone interviews were con ducted. Interviews were semistructured and took place at the participantsÂ’ work places. Most interviews lasted between one hour and one hour and a half. The questions inc luded administratorsÂ’ perceptions


24 about governance in higher education, the financing of their institutions, curriculum development at their institutions, innovative ideas in respect to financing and curriculum at their institutions, how globalization is current ly changing the face of higher education in Belize, and their perceptions on the role of the market in higher education in Belize. Questions for state policy makers included their de finition of governance in higher education, the broad goals for higher education in Belize, how the current global climate affects policy decisions in higher education, and h ow the current system of governance affects the financing, curricula, and innovation in higher education. Data were also collected from document reviews of p olicy documents on higher education. These included government documents such as The University of Belize Act (2000), The National Accreditation Council Act (200 4), the Draft Tertiary Revised Education Rules (2006), The Joint Education Staff R elations Council (2006), Position paper on CAPE by the CXC Committee, MOE Digest (200 4-2005), Ministry of Education Action Plan (2005), and government direct ives via memoranda to higher education institutions. Minutes of recent ATLIB mee tings and ATLIB correspondences to the MOE in reference to government directives; t he Belize Higher Education Conference Report, and the Minister of EducationÂ’s address to the Consortium of Belizean Educational Cooperation [COBEC] were also reviewed. Institutional data collected included college catalogue, enrollment fi gures, and faculty qualifications. Significance of the Study A study of governance in higher education in Belize examining how the governance structure affects the financial and curr icular decision-making in higher education institutions was important for several re asons. First, the study provides much


25 needed information on governance of higher educatio n in Belize. Second, the study provides an understanding of how the system of gove rnance affects financial and curricular decision-making. Third, the findings add to the limited body of literature on governance in higher education in developing countr ies. Finally, the study serves as a model for future studies on governance in higher ed ucation in other developing countries. Delimitations A delimitation of a study addresses the scope of th e study: the problem, the participants, and the setting (Creswell, 1994). Thi s study is confined to governance in higher education in Belize. It provides the percept ions of Belizean administrators and state policy makers on the current governance struc ture in higher education as well as data from public and institutional documents. The r esults of this study are only generalizable to higher education in Belize. Limitations Limitations describe methodological weakness or fac tors that potentially weaken the interpretation of the studyÂ’s results (Hepner & Hepner, 2004). This study is limited in that there is the potential for researcher bias. Re searcher bias occurs when the researcher has personal biases and a priori assumptions which may affect the data collection, analysis, and interpretation of the study (Onwuegbu zie, 2002). I am a former assistant dean at one of the junior colleges and as such, I h ave had a working relationship with all of the junior college deans who formed part of the sample for the study. Therefore, there was the potential that this past acquaintance with the study participants would affect their responses. For example, the participants could have neglected to sufficiently elaborate on a certain issue because of their perceptions that I was familiar with the issue; or they may


26 have been unwilling to share information that they consider risky or too private to a former colleague in the same system. From this auth or’s perspective, there is in Belize a tendency to involve partisan politics in education and to equate higher education’s performance with a reflection of the strength or we akness of the party in government; therefore, participants may have felt the need to c ensure their responses to questions they deem to be too “political.” In addition to knowing the participants, I also have intimate knowledge of the system of higher education in Beli ze and am familiar with the issues relating to governance, financing, and curricula. T herefore, there was the potential for me to ask questions that would have lead to anticipate d responses. To reduce researcher bias and increase the internal validity of the study, I employed a number of strategies which social scient ist researchers have recommended (Creswell, 1994; Merriam, 1998). First, because I a m sensitive to the tendency of “politics” in Belize, the participants were reassur ed that their information would be kept confidential and that no names would be used to pro tect their identities and those of their institutions. Second, the interviews were tape-reco rded with the permission of the participants. This practice will allow for the pres ervation of verbatim data for future data analysis (Merriam, 1988). I also used institutional data from document review to further corroborate participants’ perceptions of how govern ance affects financial and curricular decision-making in their institutions. Unfortunate ly, I was not able to use financial documents as these are strictly confidential at eac h institution. Finally, conducting interviews with MOE personnel allowed me to find ou t to what extent the administrators were simply repeating the positions of the governme nt representatives.


27 Organization of Study This chapter presents an introduction to the study by providing an overview of challenges facing higher education systems in devel oping countries. There is a reference to the problem of governance in developing countrie s and the need to understand how government/higher education relationship affects cr ucial management decisions in higher education. The rationale, purpose, and significance of the study are presented. An overview of the study methods is also provided. The delimitations and limitations of the study are addressed in this chapter. Chapter two of the study provides an extensive revi ew of the literature on governance in developing countries. The state contr ol and supervisory models of governance are discussed since either of these mode ls is common in developing countries. The assumptions underlying these models are addressed and studies in higher education governance are used to further clarify th e assumptions of this model. Financial and curricular decision-making in higher education will be examined from the perspectives of resource dependency theory (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978) and institutional isomorphism (Powell & DiMaggio, 1983). Chapter thre e presents the research questions, the sample to be used in the study, the interview g uide, the data collection and analysis procedures, and verification procedures for enhanci ng the credibility of the study. Chapter four presents the findings from both interv iews and document analyses. Chapter five presents the summary of findings, conclusions, and implications for theory, practice, and research.


28 Chapter 2: Review of Related Literature The purpose of this case study was to understand go vernance of higher education in the developing country of Belize and to determin e how that system of governance affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize. The research questions are grounded in the literatu re of higher education governance in developing countries in relation to the models of g overnance, and the effects of the governance model on financial and curricular decisi on-making, the establishment of “buffer” organizations, and the role of the market. Therefore, the research questions are: 1. What is the structure and the system of governan ce of higher education in Belize? 2. How does the system of governance affect financi al decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? 3. How does the system of governance affect curricu lar decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? 4 How do market factors affect financial and curricul ar decision-making in higher education in Belize? The theoretical frameworks that are used to guide t his study are the state control/state supervisory model of governance developed by Neave and van Vught (1994); resource dependency theory (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978); and i nstitutional isomorphism (Powell & DiMaggio, 1983). The state control model of governa nce is prevalent in developing countries with a few countries in recent years adop ting a more state-supervisory model.


29 Resource dependency and institutional isomorphism t heories are used to explain how and why the state has been able to control higher educa tion, and how individual institutions respond to these external pressures. This chapter is divided into main sections and subs ections. The first section introduces the concept of governance of higher educ ation. The second section introduces the concepts of institutional autonomy and the role of buffer organizations. The next section examines market factors and their effects o n higher education. The final section examines the theories of Resource Dependency and In stitutional Isomorphism Governance of Higher Education Governance of higher education has been defined in several ways. The Task Force in Higher Education and Society (2000) define s governance as “the formal and informal arrangements that allow higher education t o make decisions and take action. It refers to the relations between individual institut ions and their supervisors” (p.59). Sporn (1999) defines governance as “the structure and pro cesses of decision-making” (p. 123). Marginson and Considene (2000) consider governance as “internal relationships, external relationships, and the intersection between them” ( p. 15). They stress the need to understand where policy is formulated and where acc ountability lies. A report on South African higher education suggests that “governance arrangements reflect values about the distribution and exercise of authority, responsibil ity and accountability” (Department of Education, 1997). For the purpose of this study, go vernance is defined as the relationship between a higher education system and its national government, and the effects of this relationship on the actions and behaviors of higher education systems and institutions.


30 The Task Force on Higher Education and Society [THF ES] (2000) notes that effective systems of higher education have several prominent characteristics. One of these main features is adequate and stable long-ter m funding with a corresponding need for accountability. Governments play a major role i n providing long-term funding which should not be subjected to the vagaries of budget d ecreases. Other essential characteristics of an effective system are flexibil ity to the changing external environment, well-defined standards, immunity from political man ipulation, well-defined links to other sources, and supportive legal and regulatory enviro nment which “encourages innovation and achievement, while discouraging corruption, dup lication of effort, and exploitation of poorly informed consumers” (THFES, 2000, p. 52). An effective system of higher education relies hea vily on the oversight provided by the government. But this oversight must not be c onfused with interference since governments must be “economical in its intervention s” (THFES, 2000, p. 53) in higher education. The role of the government in higher edu cation is to ensure that higher education serves the public interest, lessen the ef fects of the market, and support research that are relevant to the country’s needs (THFES, 20 00). THFES (2000) cautions that “poorly-thought-through government action is likely to weaken already inadequate higher education systems. Policymakers must also ensure th at there is a clear vision of the goals and structure of a higher education system and that vision is shared by all stakeholders (THFES, 2000).


31 The State Control/Supervisory Model of Governance The relationship between higher education and its s upervisor can be classified as one in which the state acts a supervisor and “sets the broad parameters in which higher education operates” (van Vught, 1993, p. 27), while relying on market mechanisms to provide some level of coordination of the higher ed ucation system, or as a regulator of the higher education system (Van Vught, 1993). In d efining regulation, Neave and van Vught (1994) refer to the efforts of “government to steer the decisions and actions of specific societal actors according to the objective s the government has set and by using instruments the government has at its disposal” (p. 4). In many developing countries, the relationship betw een higher education and government is characterized by mechanisms through w hich government controls the higher education system and firmly regulates its fu nctions. Governments often tend to use extensive control mechanisms and strict rules to re gulate higher education (Neave & van Vught, 1994). The strategy of government control is referred to as the state control model of governance and is prevalent in developing countr ies. The Task Force on Higher Education and Society [TFH ES (2000) notes that “the state control has tended to undermine many major pr inciples of good governance. The direct involvement of politicians has generally pol iticized higher education widening the possibilities for corruption, nepotism, and politic al opportunism.” (p. 53) and lessening the autonomy of institutions. The tendency for mass ive state control in many developing countries results from governments’ beliefs that co ntrol is a corollary of funding (TFHES, 2000) and higher education is an instrument of national development; therefore, higher education must adapt to meet national needs and suit local circumstances (van


32 Vught, 1993). This view is epitomized by the words of a former Minister of Education in Belize when he said: the Government representing the nation of Belize ha s the responsibility to clearly articulate its developmental goals and policies, an d through the University’s Board of Trustees, we intend to communicate where w e would like the University to channel its energies. (UB: Report on Faculty and Staff Consultation cited in Tun, 2004) It must be noted that higher education systems in m any developing countries are transplantations of primarily European models of hi gher education. During the postcolonial periods, governments reacted against the i mpositions of these external models, which they found unsuitable to the social and cultu ral realities of their new nations. In situations where higher education enjoyed a high de gree of institutional autonomy, for example in the British system, governments became a uthoritative, often exhibiting high forms of state control (van Vught, 1993). In this e xtreme case of governmental regulation, the assumption is that government emplo ys a rationalist approach to decision making, in which it assumes to have comprehensive k nowledge of all alternatives and is able to evaluate all conceivable consequences (Neav e & van Vught, 1994). This assumption of rational planning has been criticized as being unrealistic. Bolman & Deal (2003) argue that managers are often depicted as ra tional and in control of their activities but, in reality, the opposite is true. “Managers mu ddle and catch-up. They want to solve problems and make decisions. But problems are ill d efined and options murky.” (Bolman & Deal, 2003, p. 305). Lindblom (1976) also argues that this rationalist approach to decision-making is unrealistic as it assumes that t he actors can evaluate all possible


33 alternatives and measure all policy outcomes; the r eality is that it is often difficult to measure the outcomes affected by a given policy esp ecially since changes are often marginal, incremental, and long-term. In a report o n governance in South Africa (Hall and Symes, 2003), the writers also criticize the ra tional planning approach saying that: a top-down, rational planning approach would requir e a large Department of Education with the capacity to analyze a contin ual flow of data from all public higher education institutions, and induce fr om this data a series of scenarios that could be accurately rated for their probability of such success. Such an approach would also require that informatio n provided by institutions be comprehensive and accurate Â… this i s an almost impossible requirement. (p. 94) In practice, the rationalist planning model allows governments to centralize the decision-making process and control the implementat ion of policies (Neave & van Vught, 1994). In this model of state governance control, g overnments often make decisions about such elements as access, academic programs, r esearch, examinations, staffing, and funding (Sawyerr, 1994). It must be noted, however, that due to the differing contexts within which governments and higher education syste ms operate, these elements may not be the same in all countries or within higher educa tion systems. For example, rigid government controls in other non-university status institutions (technical and two-year colleges) may not be the same as those in universit ies. For example, the University of Belize operates under the UB Act (2000) while junio r colleges are currently operating under a set of draft policies which also apply to p rimary and secondary schools. It is also important to note that the state control model and the state supervisory model exist on a


34 continuum and the extent to which governments exerc ise controls over the above functions determines the government/higher educatio n relationship of state control or state supervision. Richardson and Fielden (1997) conducted a study to assess how much control governments in Commonwealth countries were exercisi ng over their higher education institutions. The study used the conceptual framewo rk of state control and state supervisory governance models (Neave & van Vught, 1 994) to test the assumption that states were imposing strict controls on universitie s. The study collected data from a review of relevant literature on the subject of gov ernment/university relationship, a review of the acts and statutes that control the un iversities, and a questionnaire to university vice-chancellors for their perceptions o n government control. The findings of the study show that in the United Kingdom, governme nt controls are through buffer bodies that are charged with planning, financial co ntrols and other functions. In relation to other Commonwealth countries as a whole, the Uni ted Kingdom experiences lower state interference in academic freedom and institut ional autonomy. In looking at the developing countries in the Commonwealth in, for ex ample, Africa, the findings show that governments in those countries are heavily inv olved and frequently intervene in the management of universities. The questionnaire respo nses from vice-chancellors in these countries seemed to suggest that the state promotes a more supervisory role, although the findings from document analyses suggested that the state-control governance model is quite dominant. The findings of the Richardson and Fielden (1997) study, however, must be recognized in the context of the cultures of the co untries and the institutions themselves


35 that participated. First, the participating univers ities may be those which were less controlled and so felt that they could safely parti cipate; thus, their perceptions would be different from those who felt it too risky to parti cipate given the heavy control by the state. Second, the culture of the country needs to be considered. In some countries where the state control is dominant, interference by the state may be seen as acceptable. Governance of Higher Education in Developing Countr ies Many higher education systems in the developing cou ntries of Africa are controlled by their respective states. In fact, thr oughout much of Africa the head of the country is the university chancellor, who has the u ltimate authority to appoint key university administrators such as the Vice-Chancell or (Bjarason & Lund, 1999; KirbyHarris, 2003; Teferra & Altbach, 2004). This model creates tension between the government’s commitment to regulate public funds an d the university’s desire to be autonomous (Bjarason & Lund, 1999). There have also been instances in which the minister of education has appointed the vice-chance llor without the approval of Parliament or even the chancellor. The norm, howeve r, is for the chancellor to appoint the vice-chancellor on the advice of a minister of education. The board of directors is composed mainly of government-appointed members who serve at the discretion of the minister of education. In the report, Governance in South African Higher Education (Hall and Symes, 2003), the writers describe the South African syste m of governance as “a combination of direct state control and pronounced institutional a utonomy” (p.92). The writers suggest that a high degree of institutional autonomy and in direct state steering is essential for higher education in developing countries, although they are quick to suggest that


36 regulation must not be solely left to the market. T hey further note that the direct state control of higher education in developing countries given these countries peculiar challenges, can have deleterious effects on the abi lities of higher education to assist in the promotion of national development and social justic e. They make a case for a cooperative system of governance in which governments steer higher education through a “buffer” organization, which acts as an intermediar y between higher education and the state government. The suggestion of “co-operative s ystem of governance” in South Africa initiated the development of the White Paper and Higher Education Act [HEA] of 1997 that formalized the Council of Higher Educatio n [CHE] in South Africa. In a similar report, Promoting Good Governance in South African Higher Education (Hall and Symes & Luescher, 2002), the writers bel ieve that there is justification for a system of governance in which i nstitutions enjoy a high level of autonomy and the state plays a major role in steeri ng the higher education system in the interest of the nation. The report continues that t he government, through the MOE, has both the responsibilities to steer the system and t o respect the autonomy of institutions; in other words, they make a case for cooperative gover nance. However, they note that the ideals of cooperative governance that created the C ouncil of Higher Education, a body that was appointed to oversee the development of hi gher education, could have been eroded with modifications to the Higher Education A ct which allowed the minister more control to determine the “seat” (p.42), policy, and funding formula for institutions. This power allowed the minister of education to use fund ing to determine institutional policy in South African higher education.


37 Other case studies conducted on government/univers ity relationships in higher education in African countries show that government controls adversely affect higher education’s ability to develop (Bjarason & Lund, 19 99). Kotecha (1999) notes in his case study of the relationship between University of Bot swana and the government that the government of Botswana defines its role as “providi ng overall planning direction, supervision, and general guidance through curriculu m development, certification and regulation of all educational activity” (p.17). The strong control exercised over higher education gives the government the power to determi ne the overall structure, the curricula, staff and student enrollment of the univ ersity. In fact, the university implementation of the above functions must be compa tible with the developmental plans presented by the state (Kotecha, 1999). Moreover, t he government provides direct funding to all institutions under the MOE (Kotecha, 1999). The financial aspects of the university are controlled and managed by a universi ty finance committee, which includes representation from both the Ministries of Educatio n and Finance and Development Planning. This particular committee sets the polici es and procedures for financial control, receives annual budget estimates, and makes recomme ndations on funding. It is noted that government funding has been made available by monthly disbursements instead of yearly allocations (Bjarnasan & Lund, 1999). In Uganda, the government also controls higher educ ation. Prior to 2001, higher education institutions were governed by individual statutes to cater to their specific needs (Xiaoyang, 2004). In 2001, a higher education act w as passed to govern all universities and other tertiary institutions. However, serious g aps in financing strategies, allocations of funds, and accountability have been noted (Xiaoy ang, 2004). In addition, the act gives


38 the control of higher education to the Ministry of Education and Sports. Even with the establishment of the National Council on Higher Edu cation, the MOE continues to control higher education’s policies and procedures in respect to curricula, funding, staff appointments, and other functions (Xiaoyang, 2004). Even while some institutions such as the University of Uganda enjoy some degree of au tonomy, other non-university institutions are severely micro-managed by the gove rnment. For example, in the appointments of academic staff, the universities ha ve more freedom in making appointments and promotions, albeit with the approv al of the Ministry of Public Service. For other institutions, the Education Service Commi ssion (an arm of the MOE) controls the appointments of staff. In both sectors, however financial autonomy is limited. Subventions to public institutions are made in bloc k grants calculated on the number of government students and the “unit cost” as determin ed by the ministry for a respective institution. Obviously, then, some institutions wil l be “more equal than others.” Academic and non-academic personnel are paid from t hese block grants. Institutions also receive “development” budgets but these fluctuate f rom year to year, in many cases are non-existent, and when they are available, tend to favor primarily the flagship University of Makerere. Funding for all public institutions i s based on the previous year’s budget and the allocations are apparently disbursed random ly without any consideration to the national interests, for there is no mechanism which helps to steer funding in accordance with public priorities or institutional needs (Xiao yang, 2004). This oversight allows some institutions to receive grants regardless of their needs and makes planning and operation problematic for all. In addition, this arbitrary fu nding system provides little incentives for fiscal efficiency and limits institutions’ abilitie s to respond to change (Xiaoyang, 2004).


39 It is apparent from this case that governmental con trol of funding has implications for higher education. Strict governmental controls also constrain higher education’s ability to revise and improve outdated curricula. Roberts (1999) suggests that institutions that operate under strict ministerial controls perceive disadvantages in academic programming. In Botswana, for example, where the government exercis es strong control over higher education, fields of study and their corresponding curricula are determined by the government (Kotecha, 1999). Diversification of disc iplines has been driven by a national perspective to satisfy job market needs and funding to both institutions and students are predicated on the fulfilment of government directiv es. This situation creates tensions between the institutions, maintaining that their mi ssions must transcend education that simply satisfies human power needs, and the nationa l government (Kotecha, 1999). These contradictory convictions on academic programming a re captured in the government’s National Development Plan 7 (in Kotecha, 1999) whic h categorically states that “Botswana cannot afford to waste resources on advan ced education or training that does not meet the demands of the economy” (p.18) and the view of the National Council of Higher Education that “the country must have its ow n pool of intellectuals, scholars, researchers and knowledge managers and knowledge cr eators” (p. 18). As in the previous case, curriculum restructuring i n South Africa was not without anxiety and turmoil. Ensor (2004) discusses two con testing discourses in higher education curriculum restructuring in South Africa. These two contradictory discourses originated from the dichotomy of local and global p ressures that often characterize curriculum in higher education (Zembylas, 2002). Th e “credit exchange” discourse would


40 allow for a more interdisciplinary curriculum and w ould accommodate students’ interests and choices while the “disciplinary discourse” aime d to organize courses into disciplines reflecting the structure of the discipline approach (Posner, 1985). Ensor (2004) conducted case studies of three institutions to examine the i nterplay of these two dominating discourses and the subsequent restructuring of the curriculum. Although the National Council of Higher Education advocated for a coheren t and integrated sequence of courses (the disciplinary discourse), the South African Gov ernment White Paper opted for the “credit exchange.” However, pressure from the highe r education sector forced the government to make concessions to incorporate both discourses (Ensor, 2004). In Uganda, where the government controls higher educat ion, higher education curriculum has been deemed as outdated, irrelevant and unrespo nsive to the needs of the country. The development of higher education curriculum whic h responds to the local, regional, and global economies remains a major challenge (Xia oyang, 2004). This challenge is ongoing throughout much of the wo rld, especially in small developing countries even at lower levels of educat ion. Zembylas (2002) conducted a case study of the development of elementary science curriculum in Cyprus. The objectives of the study were to examine the tension s between global and local needs and to understand how to create a balance between the t wo opposing needs. Even with such paradoxical situation, the researcher concludes tha t both local and global contexts can coexist by emphasizing the “performative” aspects o f both local and global needs. In other words, using local values and traditions as t he stage on which global needs and values are addressed instead of treating them as co ntradictory epistemologies.


41 The dilemma presented by the above cases illustrate s a challenge that arises when higher education must serve several contradictory a nd ambiguous goals, as is often the case in developing countries (Chapman, 2002). Resol ving this challenge as well as strengthening higher education systems overall nece ssitates a redefinition of government/higher education relationship (Chapman, 2002). However, in the absence of a higher education act in many developing countries policies that govern higher education are often arbitrarily formulated and hard ly ever implemented (Aird, 2006; Bloom, 2003; Kirby-Harris, 2003). In the absence of a coherent framework, institution s are perceived to be autonomous but with little framework to develop and establish their own identities. In these situations, institutions often pose little or no resistance to governmental values and controls (Kirby-Harris, 2003). In his case study of the University of Namibia, KirbyHarris (2003) found that the values of the governme nt, articulated through subtle discourses and influences, dominated the university and controlled the changes in the university in its eight-year history. Richardson an d Fielden (1997) conclude that “the more sophisticated the government controls are thro ugh planning mechanisms, buffer bodies or financial controls, the less interest Gov ernment seems to have in being directly involved with university governance” (p. 10). Institutional Autonomy in Higher Education Autonomy is defined as the freedom of institutions from state control to determine goals and priorities and decide how to realize thei r goals (Johnstone & Bain, 2002; Richardson and Fielden 1997; van Vught, 1993). Auto nomy, however, must be distinguished from academic freedom, which is the f reedom an individual enjoys in the


42 conduct of his/her teaching or scholarly activities without fear or retribution (Ashby, 1966 in Berdahl, 1990). Berdahl (1990) notes that: a major source of current friction is that many aca demics are trying to protect too much, and many persons in government are trying to claim too much. A fundamental cause of this confusion is the failure of persons on both sides to recognize that academic freedom and university auto nomy, though related, are not synonymous and that university-state relations in o ne area may quite properly differ from the other. (p. 5) Although academic freedom or some commitment to it has been accepted and recognized as an essential part of academeÂ’s missio n in most parts of the world, there is still concern about its status in some countries (A ltbach, 2001). In some countries where colonial powers controlled the establishment of uni versities, academic freedom was not allowed. Thus, academic freedom did not take root, and universities in those countries have struggled to establish academic freedom (Altba ch, 2001). Even though academic freedom is now recognized and guaranteed most of th e time, there are still limits and restraints placed on universities especially in tim es of political crisis. The fact that most of these universities depend on government funding further constrains their academic freedom (Altbach, 2001). The limitations of institutional autonomy, like aca demic freedom, must be understood in the contextual boundaries in which go vernment and university relations exist. Those boundaries are set by the nature of th e government in power, the governmentÂ’s view of the role of higher education, the perceived role of the government in regulating higher education, and the power of in dividual and collective higher


43 education institutions (Neave & van Vught, 1994). T he freedom of institutions to realize and implement their goals is often situated in an o verall framework set by the state and varies in degrees and substance. For example, those domains that are traditionally easiest to delegate to individual institutions are those of structuring academic programs, methods of instruction, and objects of scholarly inquiry, w hile those that are unlikely to be given to institutions are the determination of missions, ultimate oversight and quality control (Johnstone & Bain, 2002). Traditionally in developi ng countries, controversial domains include those that deal with the appointments of th e highest executive officer, curricula, admission standards, missions, appointments, employ ment conditions, remunerations of academic staff, and revenue expenditures (Johnstone & Bain, 2002). Autonomy is neither linear nor simplistic; it is ra ther a complicated concept. In fact, autonomy has two dimensions: substantive auto nomy and procedural autonomy (Berdahl, 1990). Substantive autonomy refers to “th e power of the university or college in its corporate form to determine its own goals an d programs“the what” of academe (Berdahl, 1990, p.172). Procedural autonomy is “the power of the university or college in its corporate form to determine the means by which its goals and programs will be pursued“the how” of academe (Berdahl, 1990, p.172 ). Therefore, in referring to institutional autonomy it is important to understan d which dimension of autonomy is in question. Thus, when a central ministry refers to “ enhancing autonomy, it matters considerably what it intends to shed and what it wi ll continue to hold” (Johnstone & Bain, 2002, p. 65). For example, in his 2000 addres s to the University of Belize faculty and staff on the amalgamation of five government in stitutions, the then Minister of Education said, “We recognize that a university mus t be autonomous, such autonomy


44 provides the environment for excellence in scholars hip, research and service” (Tun, 2004, p. 58). However, when the UB Act (2000) was officia lly passed, the Minister was given ultimate control of the University. This led Tun (2 004) to conclude that while the amalgamation brought together five different instit utions, each with their own cultures, all institutions shared a common reality: they were all dependent on government for financing their institutions and their missions wer e inextricably tied to that of their sponsor. Thus, in this situation, the substantive a utonomy (the mission) of the new university was compromised. The case is made for a high degree of institutiona l autonomy in developing countries especially since higher education is ofte n cited as important to the economic, social, and cultural development of a country (Hall & Symes, 2003; Neave & van Vught, 1994; TFHES, 2000). However, it must be understood that the state has a definitive role to play in higher education (Taylor & Miroux 2002; TFHES, 2000) and institutional autonomy does not transfer total control to institu tions. Berdahl (1990) suggests that even while academic institutions should be granted acade mic freedom and autonomy, the state has a major role to play in relation to substantive policies. This balance in the substantive autonomy of institutions and the state’s role in th e overall policy framework is what Hall, Symes and Luescher (2005) refer to as “conditional autonomy.” Conditional autonomy recognizes that institutions are granted substantiv e autonomy, but their procedural autonomy remains moderated by state controls over f unding, quality, and accreditation. In the often uncertain environments in which higher education exists and operates, it is imperative that higher education


45 establish the terms of a discourse that supports bo th its relationship with the state in serving the public good, and the substantive aut onomy of its institutions that allows the creation of new knowledge and the educat ion of fully qualified graduates. (Hall, Symes and Luescher, 2005, p. 211) If conditional autonomy is to provide an effective balance between the needs and responsibilities of the state and those of higher e ducation, then the rights of institutions must be respected. In many countries, including som e developing countries, governments have moved away from a state control system to stat e supervisory role by devolving control to “buffer mechanisms.” The Role of Buffer Organizations in Higher Educatio n A buffer entity is an “organization which is formal ly constituted and functions in an intermediary capacity between government and the university sector” (Bjarvason, 1998, p.1). In the United States, for example, buff er organizations fall into three main categories: coordinating boards, governing boards, or planning agencies (McGuiness, 2003). In all three scenarios, these boards create buffers from extensive government control and emphasize the importance of some instit utional autonomy (McGuiness, 2003). Buffer entities have also been formalized in some developing countries. Neave (1992) offers a possible distinction of these buffe r bodies: those that have powers of allocation, those that advise and coordinate, and t hose that serve as arenas for debate and discussion. He notes, however, that the categories are not exclusive and, rather, in some instances, may be cumulative. Bjarnasan (1998) stud ied the functions, activities and structures of “buffer” organizations in Commonwealt h countries. For the purpose of this study, however, only those in the developing countr ies of Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya,


46 and Zimbabwe will be analyzed. Utilizing Schmidtlei n and BerdahlsÂ’ typology of functions of buffer entities in the United States, Bjarnasan (1998) compared the buffer organizations according to their functions. In the countries listed above, there were significant similarities in the buffer organization s. All four buffer entities had planning, academic program review, budget development/funding and quality standards initiatives as their functions. However, in respect to policy a nalysis/problem resolution, student access, and mission definition, only those buffer o rganizations in Kenya and Nigeria had these as functions. Overall, ZimbabweÂ’s buffer orga nization had the fewest of the functions used in the comparisons. In regard to the membership and appointments of mem bers of the buffer entities for the above countries, it is interesting to note that the president of the country or the minister of education plays an extremely important role. For example, in South Africa, the Minister of Education appoints all members of t he Council. Hall and Symes (2005) thus conclude that even while the Council of Higher Education was to act as an independent buffer between the government and highe r education, its composition (ministerial appointees) reflected the opposite vie w. In Kenya, of the 20 members, the President appoints more than half, and five are per manent secretaries in various governmental ministries. In other case studies conducted on Uganda, Tanzani a, and Botswana, the findings show a similar trend such that these buffer entitie s are largely composed of governmental appointees and function more as extensions of gover nment controls (Mwiria, 1998). In those cases where legislation has been introduced t o create buffer institutions, several of the Acts have yet to be passed or implemented (Bjar nasan & Lund, 1999). In Belize,


47 legislation has been passed establishing a National Accreditation Council with the responsibility for ensuring quality in higher educa tion; however, to date, the Council has not been established (Aird, 2006). Bjarnasan and Lu nd (1999) conclude that a lack of political will or lack of resources may explain why some governments have taken so long to create and/or operationalize buffer mechanisms. Buffer institutions have the potential of reframing the relationship between higher educat ion and governments by holding institutions accountable while reducing governmenta l controls (Johnstone & Bain, 2002) and mitigating the effects of market forces on high er education. Market Forces in Higher Education Many developing countries have adopted policies whi ch have resulted in the marketization of higher education (Tilak, 2003). Ma rket forces occur in several forms such as the reduction of public expenditures for hi gher education and the subsequent need for alternative sources of funding; the belief that higher education should be aligned with the needs of the national economy; the commercializ ation of research or ‘entrepreneurialism’; managerialism; and competitio n between and within institutions (Jonathan, 2006). These market forces are direct co nsequences of global market forces which force governments to make decisions and take appropriate responses which subsequently affect higher education (Jonathan, 200 6). Jonathan (2006) notes: that judgment of global market placing and appropri ate response determines what kind of public accountability demands are pla ced on a nation’s higher education system, and the extent to which those dem ands constrain or erode traditional conceptions of academic freedom and ins titutional autonomy. (p. 44)


48 In his study of the impacts of globalization on com munity colleges in Canada and the United States, Levin (1999) found that organiza tional behaviors of these institutions have been altered in several ways. First, the shrin king of government subsidies has forced these institutions to adopt strategies to generate external revenues especially from business and industry. Second, the emphasis on effi ciency has increased employees workloads; in the instructional area, there is an e mphasis on distance education to serve more students with the same resources. Third, there is little emphasis on remedial education as more resources are diverted to higher level programs. The most significant change, however, is in the curriculum as more and m ore, there is a shift from education to training and a push for “employability skills and a daptation of critical thinking to fit the business and industry contexts”(Levin, 1999, p. 397 ). Increasingly, the needs of business and industry are taking precedent over the needs of individual students (Levin, 1999). In studying the restructuring of Chinese vocational universities, Ding and Levin (2007) noted that: The academic disciplinary based program structure a nd curricular system were changed to those based on market requirements and j ob competencies…this was consistent with national patterns where programs an d curricula, traditionally regarded as the core of the academic institution, b ecame industry and commercially oriented. (p. 556) In writing about the restructuring of the Chinese h igher education system in response to global forces, Mok (2005) describes fo ur major restructuring strategies as ‘restructuring’, ‘joint development’, ‘merging’, an d ‘cooperation’ that took place after the Chinese government instituted a policy of decentra lization in the governance of higher


49 education. Under the ‘joint development’ initiative some universities were readjusted to fall under the direct supervision of both central a nd local governments. Under this agreement, the central government would continue to provide funding, the provincial governments would provide funds for capital investm ents, and the universities would focus on the developmental needs of their local com munities in their curricula, admission of graduates, and scientific research. University m erging was also encouraged to enhance efficiency and effectiveness and improve standards and competitiveness. Cooperation was encouraged among universities in order to maxim ize resources. These restructuring strategies came about at the time when the Chinese government realized that its higher education system was insufficiently prepared to mee t the global challenges (Mok, 2005). In assessing market mechanisms for higher education in New Zealand and Australia, Hauptman (2003) notes that both countrie s have adopted a national strategy in which market forces are much more active and relian ce on public funding and government control of higher education is less prom inent. For example, in both countries, the reliance on tuition fees has increased from les s than five percent to more than thirty three percent in 2000 (Hauptman, 2003). In respect to student choice, students in New Zealand have considerable choice among a variety of institutions whereas in Australia, the trend has been for the consolidation of public institutions into larger ones. In both countries participation and completion of higher ed ucation has drastically increased. Despite the increase in participation, the equity g aps have not been resolved (Hauptman, 2003). The impacts of quality in a competitive high er education system are also critical to analyze in a “marketized” higher education system ( Hauptman, 2003). In New Zealand,


50 for example, insufficient quality control has cause d inferior academic programs to proliferate (Hauptman, 2003). In writing about market forces and their effects on higher education in South Africa, Jonathan (2006) notes that market pressures had an impact on policies for South African higher education. For example, university r estructuring was necessary to respond to the demand for skills and to align its research agenda to promote a strategic position for South Africa within the global economy. In resp onding to that policy initiative, the Council of Higher Education in South Africa warned that “…this (policy) in turn has sparked concerns within higher education that funda mental research may be systematically eroded within the academic sector” ( cited in Jonathan, 2006, p. 47). In the new global economy, basic research has now given wa y to applied and commercial research in which industry dictates the conditions under which research is conducted and findings released (Currie, 2003). Jonathan (2006) a lso notes that competition in the South African higher education system, in which there is inequalities and varying degrees of access, is not very beneficial. She notes that “in these circumstances, the competitive features which are one of the inevitable hallmarks of higher education become interesting and problematic” (p. 53). Jonathan (2006) concludes that market pressures can damage the social and public good of higher education and its value as a “site of unconstrained knowledge production, development, and disseminatio n” (p.55). Tilak (2003) notes that market forces in developing countries have become very active with often negative consequences since marke ts in developing countries are “imperfect and incomplete” (p.1). He notes that eme rging trends in policy, planning, and financing of higher education in developing countri es suggest that higher education is


51 succumbing to market forces. These emerging trends show that the welfare approach to higher education is quickly making way for a market approach; public financing for higher education is yielding to private financing; and low levels of fees are now substituted by high levels of fees with accompanyin g student loan programs. Theoretical Frameworks This study examined the relationship between gover nments and higher education in developing countries to understand how governmen ts exert control over their higher education systems and how higher education responds to these external influences. Two dominant theories within organizational theory re source dependency and institutional isomorphismwere used to understand this relations hip. These two theories share the assumptions that organizations are subjected to ext ernal forces which limit their actions and choices, and they depend on external resources to survive. However, the theories differ on how and to what extent organizations resp ond to external influences. Resource Dependency Theory In organizational theory, organizations are descri bed as either closed or open systems. Closed system theory posits that organizat ions are self-contained entities and do not depend on the external environment since all el ements of the organization are closely connected. Conversely, open system theory holds tha t organizations are constantly in interaction with their environments, which are neit her constant nor predictable. Organizations and their external environments inter act with each other, both exerting some measure of influence. Higher education systems are often viewed as open systems because they operate in unstable environments, are loosely coupled, and interact constantly with and are very much influenced by the ir external environments. The


52 relationship between higher education systems and t heir external environments, for example governments, is often described as one of d ependency in which higher education systems depend heavily on resources from the govern ment. In studying this relationship, the resource dependency theory (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978) is useful. Resource dependency theory posits that organizatio nal behavior is dependent on the organization’s ability to garner those critical resources it needs to function and survive. In seeking those critical resources, organ izations will respond to and become reliant on those entities in their environment that control those resources. In their dependency on external forces for critical resource s, organizations often become constrained by external directives, and their subse quent actions are thus shaped by their abilities to manage the dependency and negotiate si tuations of external demands. The theory emphasizes that in managing such dependency, organizations act strategically to counteract these external demands and to lessen dep endency. There are several factors that allow an organization to respond to external d ependencies. First, the interdependencies of organizations must be recogniz ed. “The potential for one organization influencing another derives from its d iscretionary control over resources needed by the other and the other’s dependence on t he resources and lack of countervailing resources and access to alternative sources.” (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978, p. 53) For instance, a university is dependent on its government since it relies on it for finances; however, the government is dependent on i ts higher education system to provide education to its citizens. Second, organiza tions have options to defy external demands by managing and manipulating their dependen cies. For example, there have been situations where institutions have refused gov ernment funding so as not to comply


53 with the corresponding demands or have sought and d eveloped alternative sources of resources so as not to be dependent on only one ent ity, such as government. Third, the intra-organizational climate must be recognized whe n examining how organizations react to their environments. Pfeffer and Salancik (1978) suggest that “the contest of control within an organization intervenes to affect the ena ctment of organizational environments. Since coping with critical contingencies is an impo rtant determination of influence, subunits will seek to enact environments to favor thei r position” (p. 261). Resource dependency theory holds that organizations are not solely at the mercy of their external environments but have certain features which help t hem to manage external dependencies. Some organizations, however, are less adept at man aging external forces than others (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978) and are more vuln erable to external demands since they are more dependent on external resources. Using thi s proposition in respect to higher education systems, it may seem logical to suggest t hat since higher education systems and institutions in developing countries receive most o r in some instances all of their funding from their national governments, then they would be more vulnerable to governmental control. This conclusion in respect to institutiona lly autonomy has been challenged (Chang, 2004). In his study of the relationship bet ween autonomy and funding in Taiwan and England, Chang (2004) found that autonomy in Ta iwanese institutions was not solely based on a reduced dependency on government funding because even when some institutions diversified their funding bases, they did not enjoy more autonomy. In respect to institutional autonomy in England, institutions had more autonomy if they were able to establish alternative sources of money. Chang concl udes that “the effect of funding on


54 university autonomy in a given country is condition ed by the context in which those universities exist” (p. 207). Neave and van Vught ( 1994) also support the view that institutional autonomy is contextually defined. Cas e studies on higher education systems in developing countries also support the view that institutional autonomy is dependent on the higher education environment. Even where instit utions have been able to diversify their funding bases, they still rely heavily on gov ernment funding and governments continue to exert controls. (Kirby-Harris, 2003; Ko techa, 1999; Mwiria, 1999). Kirby-Harris (2003) used a theoretical framework th at combines resource dependency and neo-institutional theories to study organizational change at the University of Namibia. Comparing the findings to th e theoretical framework, KirbyHarris concluded that university administrators ins tituted changes in order to strengthen their “bargaining position” (p.370) with the govern ment for needed resources while, at the same time, lessen the obvious dependency on gov ernment funding. Ultimately, however, the changes reflected the broad values of the government (Kirby-Harris, 2003). In relating the findings to the individual theories used in the study, Kirby-Harris (2003) concluded that resource dependency was more useful than neo-institutional theory to explain the changes. Resource dependency theory has also been used to ex amine curricular changes in higher education institutions (Huisman, 1997; Huism an & Van Heffen, 2003; Morphew, 1997). Huisman (1997) examined the effect of govern ment funding on the emergence of new academic programs and specializations within these programs in Dutch universities. He notes that study programs are generally dependen t on government for funding, which is influenced by the number of students enrolled in such programs. Therefore,


55 dependency of academic programs on government fundi ng is inversely proportional to the number of students enrolled. When confronted wi th decrease enrollments, academics will develop certain strategies to cope with the si tuation. These new strategies include program differentiation or new specializations with in the field (Huisman, 1997). Huisman and Van Heffen (2003) examined the restruct uring of programs with the view of decreasing the number of professional progr ams in Dutch higher education. They used resource dependency theory to try to explain w hy different sub-sectors (agriculture, engineering, economics, and social-cultural) reacte d differently to the pressure from the government to cut back on study programs. Their fin dings show that the larger the dependency on government and the market, and the mo re heterogeneous the sub-sector, the more it was inclined to follow the directive of the government. This study shows that academic programs in higher education institutions are susceptible to external influences by governments and labor markets (Huisman & Van Hef fen, 2003). Institutional Isomorphism New-institutional theorists like Powell and Di Mag gio (1983) propose that organizational changes result from processes that m ake organizations within a highly structured organizational field more homogeneous, b ut not necessarily more efficient. An organizational field becomes “institutionally defin ed” through the increased interaction among organizations in the field, the emergence of formal organizational structures, and the mutual understanding and recognition of partici pants in the organizational field that they belong to a common enterprise (Powell & Di Mag gio, 1983, p. 148). For example, higher education is a highly structured field in wh ich several formal structures are evident: loose coupling, ambiguous goals, and uncle ar technology (Cohen, Olsen, &


56 March, 1981). In addition, practices such as resear ch, teaching, and service have become institutionalized. Once an organizational field ha s been defined, organizations within this field will frame organizational changes in accordan ce to the established norms of the field (Powell & DiMaggio, 1983). Thus, organization s may try to change constantly but are constrained from doing so and are influenced to adopt institutionalized practices. In adopting these institutionalized practices, they te nd to become isomorphic with their environments, that is, other formal organizations i n their fields (Meyer & Rowan, 1977). Institutional isomorphism provides organizations wi th legitimacy and promotes survival since organizational elements of formal structure h ave been legitimated externally, meaning that organizations do not need to provide e vidence of efficiency or use internal assessments to define the value of these elements ( Meyer & Rowan, 1977). Powell and DiMaggio (1983) identify three mechanisms through w hich institutional isomorphism occurs: (1) coercive isomorphism (2) mimetic isomor phism and (3) normative isomorphism. Coercive isomorphism. Coercive isomorphism is described as those “formal and informal pressures exerted on organizations by othe r organizations upon which they are dependent and by cultural expectations in the socie ty within which organizations function” (Powell & DiMaggio, 1983, p. 150). These pressures may take the form of force, persuasion, or invitations for collusion. Fo r example, in higher education government may exert control on institutions to ado pt certain academic programs to meet national development needs with the threat of reduc ed funding if the directive is not met. In this way, institutions are more prone to submit to these directives since other institutions in the field are likely to comply. As organizations conform to these coercive


57 forces, they become more homogeneous and their elem ents of formal structure become ritualized in accordance with other more powerful i nstitutions (Meyer & Rowan, 1977). Their legitimacy, then, is tied to group solidarity Mimetic isomorphism. Organizations that have ambiguous goals, are uncert ain about their technologies, and operate on the periph eral of their environmental field tend to model themselves on other organizations deemed t o be successful (Powell & DiMaggio, 1983). Models may be diffused through emp loyee turnovers or transfers or explicitly through membership in associations or by using major consulting firms in the field.In organizations such as higher education ins titutions, goals are often ambiguous and contradictory, technologies are unclear, partic ipation very fluid (Cohen, March & Olsen, 1981) and there is a high degree of uncertai nty in some organizations in the field. Peripheral institutions, then, will emulate those t hat are perceived to be successful in order to gain legitimacy in the environment. Normative isomorphism. Normative pressure results from “professionalizatio n,” which is the collective struggle of members of an o ccupation to define conditions and methods of their work, to control the production of producers, and to establish a cognitive base and legitimacy for their occupational autonomy ” (Powell & DiMaggio, 1983, p. 152 ). Two aspects of professionalization that contribu te to isomorphism are formal education and its corresponding cognitive base, and the expan sion of professional networks and associations. Formal education highly defines the n orms of a given profession (in regards to content, research, and practices) while professi onal networks develop and refine normative rules about a given profession (Powell & DiMaggio, 1983). The result is that individuals in a given profession in organizations across the field will have similar


58 orientations and views which will control the varia tions in the field (Powell & DiMaggio, 1983). Coercive, mimetic, and normative isomorphism do not necessarily provide support for organizational efficiency. But organiza tions are often rewarded for their similarity to other organizations since the similar ities are often equated with efficiency or effectiveness. Powell and DiMaggio conclude that: this similarity can make it easier for organization s to transact with other organizations, … to be acknowledged as legitimate a nd reputable, and to fit into administrative categories that define eligibility f or public and private grants and contracts. None of this, however, ensures that conf ormist organizations do what they do more efficiently than do their more deviant peers. (p. 73) Morphew (1997) examined the external forces that m otivate college faculty to propose new degree programs and to what extent thes e impetuses can be explained using either resource dependency or neo-institutional the ory. He used a sample of 39 faculty members from universities in seven states who had b een actively involved in the development and submissions of proposals for new pr ograms. He used an open-ended interview guide to collect data from all 39 partici pants. Three major themes evolved from the data: competition for resources, competition fo r new faculty, and community need and student demands. Respondents cited the need to offer graduate programs to compete for limited funds. In the absence of such graduate programs, the needs of the department were largely overlooked. They also cited the need f or “legitimacy” and to be “key players” in the institution as reasons why they pro posed new graduate programs. Some faculty also cited that external forces such as lab or markets and student interests drove


59 them to propose new graduate programs. Morphew (199 7) notes that data from the study show that the impetuses for new academic programs c ould be contributed to mimetic and normative forces that result in institutional isomo rphism. Glazier (2002) examined the disciplinary changes i n library and information science by using institutional isomorphism. In the study, the discipline of library and information science is viewed as the organizational field, while the various paradigms are considered as the organizations in an organizationa l field. The writer notes that the discipline in the United States is struggling to ma intain legitimacy amidst questions of its status as a scholarly enterprise. The curricula in many schools in library and information science continue to follow the traditional paradigm which emphasizes the technical and clerical activities of the discipline. The dominanc e of this paradigm has constrained the evolution of other theoretical approaches; the resu lt is that the discipline continues to lose legitimacy as many individuals continue to frown up on it as a legitimate professional career. The writer ascribes the problem to normativ e pressures to conform to the dominant paradigm. Isomorphic tendencies are also evident in the patt erns of scholarly publications in higher education institutions. Since publishing is a crucial determinant of academic rewards and institutional stratification, it is imp ortant to understand how different processes affect this scholarly activity (Dey, Mile m, & Berger, 1997). In the study of patterns of scholarly publications, the researchers examined the systematic variation in publication activity at different types of institut ions: research, doctoral, and comprehensive universities, and liberal arts and tw o-year colleges at two different time frames. They also studied the two-year publication rates for each institution. The results


60 showed that scholarly publication significantly inc reased at all types of institutions. The writers attribute this trend to institutional isomo rphism in that even those institutions that have traditionally emphasized teaching (two year co lleges) are moving towards the mission of those institutions that occupy the top p ositions in the hierarchy. Doctoral universities had the largest gains in regards to pu blished articles while comprehensive universities and research universities were on par. In the two-year rate of publication, both doctoral and comprehensive universities showed higher rates than research universities. In the overall gains across all three measures of publication, comprehensive universities had the largest gains, followed by doc toral and research universities. The researchers conclude that this trend is evidence of institutional isomorphism in that over the period of time, the rates of publication at all types of institutions were becoming more similar. The universal increase in publication is a result of mimetic and normative pressures on less influential institutions to incre ase scholarly publication. Morphew (2002) examined the characteristics of col leges that changed their names and became universities. He proposed three h ypotheses to explain why these colleges changed, using institutional theory, resou rce dependency theory and an alternative explanation, respectively. His findings show that two thirds of the institutions that changed their names from colleges to universit ies were classified in the “moderately difficult” admissions category as defined by Peters on’s ranking. In other words, these institutions were not in the top selective categori es. This finding supports hypothesis one of the study which was that “less selective postsec ondary institutions were more likely than their more selective peers to change their nam e from college to university during the study period” (p. 214). In developing hypothesis on e, Morphew (2002) used institutional


61 theory to argue that colleges change to universitie s to become more legitimate and to gain more prestige as a result of normative and mimetic pressures in the organizational field. Less selective universities with only moderately or minimally difficult admissions criteria are more likely to pursue a higher classification n ot so much because they serve a precise need but to adopt the formal structures of those in stitutions perceived to be more prestigious (Morphew, 2002). The theory of institutional isomorphism (Powell and DiMaggio, 1983) offers one possible explanation for institutional changes as t hey respond to environmental pressures. These responses, however, are often stimulated by a need for legitimacy rather than a need for efficiency. The studies cited in this sect ion illustrate that more and more institutions are becoming alike, as less legitimate institutions continue to “mimic” those which they perceive to be more legitimate. Legitima cy, however, does not automatically translate to efficiency but rather provides the per ception of efficiency. Summary of Chapter This chapter introduced the state supervisory/state control systems of governance. It also provided a detailed description of governan ce of higher education in developing countries. Reference was also made to the importanc e of institutional autonomy and buffer institutions in lessening the grip of the st ate on institutions. Resource dependency theory was examined as a useful framework to examin e why institutions in developing countries continue to be dominated by the state and how they manage their dependencies on finances from the state. Finally, institutional isomorphism was described for its usefulness in explaining how institutions deal with external pressures.


62 Chapter 3: Research Methods Purpose of Study The purpose of this case study was to understand go vernance of higher education in the developing country of Belize by examining how the s ystem of governance affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize. The Study asked: 1. What is the structure and the system of governan ce of higher education in Belize? 2. How does the system of governance affect financi al decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? 3. How does the system of governance affect curricu lar decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? 4. How do market factors affect financial and curricul ar decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? Research Paradigm The study was guided by a qualitative paradigm. Cre swell (1998) defines qualitative research as “an inquiry process of unde rstanding based on distinct methodological traditions of inquiry that explore a social or human problem” (p. 15). The intent of this research paradigm is to understand a specific situation, group or interaction (Locke, Spirduso, & Silverman, 1987). Denzin and Li ncoln (2005) propose that this method of inquiry “involves an interpretive, natura listic approach to the world” (p. 3). Some of the unique characteristics of this paradigm are that the researcher is the primary


63 instrument in data collection (Merriam, 1998), the data that emerge are reported in rich descriptions and are primarily the participants’ wo rds (Marshall & Rossman, 1989; Merriam, 1998), and the focus of the research is on the process as well as the outcomes since the researcher is interested in the “how” of things (Merriam, 1988). Patton (1985) summarizes the nature of qualitative research in th is way Qualitative research is an effort to understand sit uations in their uniqueness as part of a particular context and the interactions t here. This understanding is an end in itself, so that it is not attempting to predict what may happen in the future necessarily, but to understand the nature of the se ttingwhat it means for participants to be in the setting, what their lives are like, what’s going on for them, what their meanings are, what the world looks like in that particular settingand in the analysis to be able to communicate that faithfully to others who are interested in that setting… The analysis strives fo r depth of understanding. (p. 1) Since the purpose of this study was to understand h ow the governance model in higher education in Belize affects financing and curricula in higher education from the perspectives of higher education administrators and policy makers, a qualitative methodology was both appropriate and justified. Thi s study was guided by the constructivist paradigm which assumes that knowledg e is constructed by the knower and respondent, there are multiple realities, and knowl edge is gained through perspectives and meanings of people in their natural setting (De nzin & Lincoln, 2005).


64 Research Design My intent in this study was to understand the speci fic or “bounded” (Merriam, p. 27) case of governance in Belize. A case study desi gn is used when the phenomenon being studied is a single entity and has definite b oundaries (Merriam, 1998; Miles & Huberman, 1994). The single most distinguishing cha racteristic of the case study is its delimited nature (Merriam, 1998). This study was d elimited to governance of higher education in Belize and included only those individ uals who had some knowledge and experience of working in this system; therefore, a case study design was appropriate to use. This study was an intrinsic case study (Stake, 2005) that reflected my interest in understanding state governance of higher education in Belize. Case studies also employ different data collection strategies such as observ ations, interviews, and document analysis in order to provide “depth and breadth” of the case (Merriam, 1998, p.134). Case studies have been used in several studies on g overnance in higher education (Hall, Symes & Luescher, 2002; Kotecha, 1999; Mok, 2001; M ok, 2005; Mwiria, 1999). In these studies a combination of interviews, observat ions, and document reviews are used to collect data. For this study, I used document re views and interviews to collect data in order to get a description of how higher education governance in Belize affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education. Case Description The purpose of this study was to understand governa nce of higher education in Belize and to understand how the system of governan ce affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education. Therefore, the case for this study was the governance system of higher education in Belize. St ake (2005) notes that an intrinsic case


65 study normally begins with the case already specifi ed because the case is of interest before the study begins. The higher education system in Belize is comprised of ten junior colleges (similar to community colleges in the United States): St. Jo hnÂ’s College Junior College, Muffles Junior College, Corozal Junior College, Sacred Hear t Junior College, Ecumenical Junior College, Wesley Junior College, San Pedro Junior Co llege, Seventh Day Adventist Junior College, Ecumenical Junior College, Escuela Mexico Junior College; one public university, The University of Belize; Galen Univers ity which is a private for-profit university; The University of the West Indies Schoo l of Continuing Studies, and a few medical off-shores colleges. The higher education s ystem also includes the Ministry of Education [MOE], which is responsible for developin g and implementing policies for all levels of education in Belize. The Association of T ertiary Level Institutions [ATLIB] is the association that promotes higher education in B elize and works with the MOE through the Tertiary and Post Secondary Division in implementing policy directives. The membership of ATLIB is comprised of all junior coll ege deans and assistant deans, the provost of UB, the President and Director of Curric ulum at Galen University, a representative of the MOE, and a representative of the Belize Association of Principals of Secondary Schools. Selection of Participants The population in this study consisted of deans, pr esidents, and Ministry of Education officials. A purposeful sampling was used to select participants for this study. This method of sampling is based on the assumption that the study sample selected includes those who can contribute the most to the s tudy (Merriam, 1998; Rubin & Rubin,


66 2005). Patton (1990) justifies using a purposeful s ampling because “ information-rich ca ses are those from which one can learn a great deal about issues of central importance to the purpose of the research, thus purposeful sampling ” (p. 169, emphasis in original).The participants in this study included: (1) The deans of six junior colleges; the deans of the junior colleges are responsible, in most cases, for finance and program offerings at the institution. The dean of Sacred Heart Junior College and the President of Sacred Heart Junior College were not used in the study since I am a former assistant aca demic dean of the college and have now assumed a position as dean at the College; thus Including Sacred Heart Junior College would have created further researcher bias. The Dean of San Pedro Junior College did not participate in the study. At St. Jo hn’s Junior College, finance is under the purview of the President; however, the President of St. John’s College Junior College declined to participate in the study. (2) Current and past administrators of the Universi ty of Belize. (3) The Chair of ATLIB; The Chair of ATLIB was sele cted since she works closely with all higher education administrators an d the MOE. She was also able to provide ATLIB documents as well as intimate knowled ge of the relationship between ATLIB and the MOE. (4) Ministry of Education officials. The administrators selected for the study shared th e experiences of working in the higher education system in Belize and belonging to ATLIB. The Ministry of Education officials have been working in their capacities sin ce 2003 and are very involved in setting policies and directives that come from the national government. Therefore, their views


67 gave some indication as to how policy makers percei ve the system of governance in Belize and illuminated how similar or different adm inistrators and government representatives perceive the governance structure i n Belize. Data Collection Interviews Interviews are helpful to understand participants’ perspectives and experiences and also in reconstructing events to which the rese archer is not privy or in which the researcher did not participate (Patton, 1990; Rubin & Rubin, 2005). Qualitative interviews are described as “conversations in which the researcher gently guides a conversational partner in an extended discussion” ( Rubin & Rubin, 2005. p. 4). The purpose of this “guided conversation” is to elicit information that will provide depth and detail to the study (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). For the purpose of this study, I conducted semi-str uctured interviews with six junior college deans, one university president, one former university president, one former university provost, two Ministry of Educatio n representatives, and the current Chair of ATLIB. The purpose of the interviews was t o elicit higher education administrators’ perspectives on governance in highe r education in Belize, specifically in reference to curricula and financing. I included th e two MOE representatives to get their views on governance of higher education and to expl ore the relationship between government and higher education in Belize. The semi -structured interviews accommodate the participants’ responses and emerging viewpoints while providing some structure and direction to the interview (Merriam, 1998).


68 Prior to the interviews, I sent e-mail invitations to each of the selected participants asking them to participate in the study. Based on t heir responses, I then sent follow-up emails to request an interview on a specified date, place, and time and I also called each one to verify their participation and to inform the m of the need to sign an IRB consent form. Each participant was asked to sign a consent form (approved by the Institutional Review Board) which described the purpose of the st udy, the promise of confidentiality, and the participantÂ’s consent, prior to the study. The interviews were formal conversations and took place at the intervieweesÂ’ p laces of work so that the interviewees were comfortable but not too casual. Also, a formal conversation prevented me from injecting my feelings into the responses. The inter views were tape-recorded with the permission of the participants. In this way, I was able to preserve everything said in the interview for future data analysis (Merriam, 1998) and would not be hindered or distracted by trying to take detailed notes. I took brief notes during the interview to reflect my reactions to the participantsÂ’ responses and capture the participantÂ’s nonverbal communication. The interview guides used re flected the research questions and asked the participantsÂ’ for their perspectives on h ow curricula (academic program development) and financing are implemented, how the governance model affects curricula and financing, the role of the market in Belize, and how globalization affects higher education in Belize. I conducted pilot interviews with two higher educat ion administrators at Sacred Heart Junior College to determine which questions w ere confusing, misleading, or useless, and to gain some experience in using promp t. After the pilot interviews, I asked each participant to provide feedback on those quest ions they may have had difficulty


69 understanding. Both participants provided meaningfu l feedback in regards to the clarity of the questions and in one case, one participant s uggested that I divide some questions into two parts. I transcribed the first pilot inter view, coded and analyzed it. I also coded and analyzed the second interview using the list of codes from the first interview. At the end of the pilot phase, I revised my interview guid e using the suggestions I had received from the participants as well as from my own analys is of the interviews. I recorded a list of codes and some themes that I would pursue in the interviews with the study participants. One round of approximately one-hour i nterviews was then conducted with each participant. I conducted brief follow-up inter views with four participants to clarify information or fill in gaps that I noted during the analysis. Document review Documents are an unobtrusive source of data easily available to the researcher (Merriam, 1998). Three types of documents are publi c records, personal documents, and physical material. In this study, I used public doc uments. These included government documents such as The University of Belize Act (200 0), The National Accreditation Council Act (2004), the Draft Tertiary Revised Educ ation Rules (2006), The Joint Education Staff Relations Council (2006), Position paper on CAPE by the CXC Committee, MOE Digest (2004-2005), MOE Action Plan (2005), and government directives via memoranda to higher education instit utions. Minutes of recent ATLIB meetings and ATLIB correspondences to the MOE in re ference to government directives; the Belize Higher Education Conference Report, and the Minister of EducationÂ’s address to the Consortium of Belizean Education Cooperation [COBEC] were also reviewed.


70 I also used institutional data such as college cata logues, curricular documents, policy documents, institutional enrollment, and aca demic faculty qualifications. Unfortunately, most institutions have a confidentia lity clause that guards data such as budgets and financial statements, therefore, those documents could not be used in the study. In fact, a recent memo from the Chief Educat ion Officer in the Ministry of Education to higher education administrators remind s them that “the section of the Tertiary Education Management Information System [T EMIS] Form which covers institutional income and expenditure is seldom comp leted by tertiary educations” (MEMO to higher education administrators, July 2007 ) even though the same institutions had requested that a study be conducted to determin e the true cost of tertiary education. Since there is no law in Belize which forces instit utions to divulge their budgets and financial statements, it is common practice for ins titutions to be very secretive about these documents. Data analysis The process of data collection and analysis are ite rative and dynamic in qualitative research (Merriam, 1988), therefore, an alysis of data commenced as soon as the first transcription of the interviews was compl eted. The first step in the data analysis was to transcribe the interview. After the first tr anscription was completed, I converted the text to a table with three columns using Micros oft word. Each row was a separate interview question. The first column was the interv iew question, the second was “notes to myself” and the third column was labeled “codes.” I read through the entire transcript and made notes in the margins and columns to register a ny particular observations, ideas, queries, and words that appeared often in the data (Merriam, 1998). I also used a


71 computer software program (Atlas ti) to conduct the analysis. I first transported the data from Microsoft Word to Atlas ti. I then divided the data into meaningful units. I defined a unit as “meaningful or potentially meaningful segme nt of data” (Merriam, 1998, p. 179). This unit of data must be potentially relevant to t he study and must be the “smallest piece of information about something that can stand by it self” (Guba & Lincoln, 1985, p. 345). After separating the data into units, I read each u nit and labeled each unit with a descriptive code based on key words or words that a re repeated often or that summarized the meaning of the text. A list of these codes was stored in the computer program. The next data set was analyzed the same way using the s tored list of codes. At the end of the third analysis, I analyzed for recurring patterns. Pattern coding reduces the data into smaller analytic units, encourages data analysis du ring data collection, helps to focus future data collection, and helps the researcher to understand what is happening (Miles & Huberman, 1994). These patterns formed the initial themes that were used to analyze the other data sets. To test the efficacy of the emergi ng themes, I compared them to the broad headings of financial decision-making, curricular d ecision-making, and market forces. After establishing the initial themes, I tested the themes in subsequent interviews and searched for disconfirming data. After all the data were collected, I modified the themes accordingly. I used classical content analysis (Merriam, 1998) t o analyze both the institutional and public documents such The University of Belize Act (2000), The CAPE Act (2004), The National Accreditation Act (2005), the Draft Re vised Education Rules(2006), government directives via memoranda to higher educa tion institutions, minutes of recent ATLIB meetings, ATLIB correspondences to the MOE in reference to government


72 directives, reports or presentations at the recent National Higher Education Conference, speeches, and other public statements. I coded the data and constructed categories that reflected the documents’ contents. These categories were then compared with those of the emerging interview data. Verification of Data Guba and Lincoln (1985) offer four means whereby tr ustworthiness of a study may be obtained. These include “credibility, transf erability, dependability, and confirmability” (p. 301). For this study, I employe d techniques to ensure that my findings were credible, transferable, and confirmable. Credibility For the purpose of this study, I used triangulation and member checking to ensure that my findings and interpretations were credible. I accomplished some measure of triangulation by using interviews with both adminis trators and Ministry of Education policy makers and by analyzing a wide range of docu ments in order to obtain a variety of perspectives on governance. I engaged in member che cking by using several different probes during the course of the interviews. For exa mple, clarification probes elicited explanations for something that was not clear to me (Rubin and Rubin, 2005), elaboration probes asked for more details or explanation of a p articular concept which seems to be important to the study (Rubin and Rubin, 2005), and evidence probes generated specific examples for broad generalizations (Rubin and Rubin 2005). I also conducted follow-up interviews when necessary to include missing data o r to verify or clarify previous information.


73 I also conducted peer debriefing defined as “a proc ess of exposing oneself to a disinterested peer in a manner paralleling an analy tic session and for the purpose of exploring aspects of the inquiry that might otherwi se remain only implicit within the inquirer's mind” (Guba and Lincoln, 1985, p. 308). The peer debriefing process allowed an individual unrelated to the study to conduct an evaluation of the study by reviewing the data and asking questions, particularly related to the findings. The peer debriefer for this study was a Director of International Study at a Florida Community College who presently chairs the Consortium of Belizean Educati on and Cooperation [COBEC], has worked with Belizean institutions for many years, a nd has a good working knowledge of the higher education system. In conducting the peer debriefing session, I provided a sample of my transcripts, a thorough explanation of my data analysis procedures, and a detailed account of how I arrived at the different themes and conclusions. Transferability In a qualitative study, the researcher provides “t hick description” in order to enable someone to determine whether the findings fr om one study can be compared to those of another (Guba and Lincoln, 1985). For this study, the report contains thick rich description of both “substantive” and “methodologic al” considerations (Guba and Lincoln, 1985, p. 361). The report contains an expl anation of the problem, a thorough description of the context of the study, and of the findings and analysis. Verbatim texts are taken from interviews with higher education adm inistrators and Ministry of Education officials who took part in the study. Each higher e ducation administrator and Ministry of Education official is quoted several times in chapt er 4 of the study. More of the verbatim texts come from the junior college administrators s ince they made up 50% of the


74 participants with UB and Ministry officials making up the other 50%. The report includes as well a thorough explanation of my biases and how they may affect the findings, a detailed description of the methods used to collect data, and the different measures I have employed to enhance trustworthiness of the study. Confirmability One of the techniques to ensure confirmability is t he audit trail (Guba and Lincoln, 1985). For this study I saved electronic f iles of interviews, electronic and paper copies of interview transcripts, personal interview notes, summaries of transcripts, copies of memos. I also kept an “audit trail” (Guba & Linc oln, 1985, p.319) which included a list of codes, and the tentative write-ups of codin g and thematic schemes. I also recorded all data collection procedures, including dates of interviews, participant initials, time, and length of interview as well records of my own notes during interviews. Summary of Chapter This chapter described and justified the use of th e case study design by outlining the characteristics of a case study, providing exam ples of its use in other studies on governance, and demonstrating how the nature of thi s study conforms with that of a case study. The chapter also described the characteristi cs of the case (higher education governance), and the selection and the characterist ics of the study participants. The chapter concluded with a description of the data co llection and analysis procedures, and verification procedures.


75 Chapter 4 : Research Findings and Discussions This chapter presents the findings from both interv iew and document reviews in accordance with the four research questions present ed in chapter one of the study: 1. What is the structure and the system of governan ce of higher education in Belize? 2. How does the system of governance affect financi al decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? 3. How does the system of governance affect curricu lar decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? 4 How do market factors affect financial and curricul ar decision-making in higher education in Belize? Findings and discussions are presented in sections under their relevant research question. Question One: What is the structure and the system of governance of higher education in Belize? Higher Education in Belize is comprised of ten juni or colleges, one public university, one private for-profit university, the University of the West Indies Center for Continuing Studies, and a few offshore medical inst itutions. For the purpose of this study, only the public institutions that fall under the co ntrol of the Ministry of Education [MOE] are included. To explore question 1, which asks “Wh at is the structure and the system of governance of higher education in Belize?” findings have been classified into five sections. The first section addresses the role of t he government of Belize in higher


76 education; the second addresses the role and respon sibilities of the Ministry of Education [MOE] in higher education. The third section desc ribes the higher education system; the fourth section addresses the role of the Associatio n of Tertiary Level Institutions [ATLIB], and the last section addresses the role of politics in higher education. The Role of the Government in Higher Education in B elize The role of the government in respect to higher edu cation in Belize is to provide salary grants for administrative, academic and supp ort staff at all junior colleges and a yearly subvention to the University of Belize. Thi s role was highlighted by a prominent Ministry of Education official: government has an important obligation and importan t responsibility to provide as much support to education as possibl e so I donÂ’t think there will ever be a day when the government does n ot have to provide resources for education. (face-to-face interview, M arch 23, 2007) In addition, the government provides financial assi stance to students who meet certain merit criteria. Funding for junior colleges is desi gnated to cover approximately 70 percent of salaries. The disbursement is made on a monthly basis and is calculated based on the total salary bill of each institution and as approved by MOE. Funding for the University of Belize is determined by the Ministry of Finance with input from the Minister of Education. This funding is provided bas ed on the UniversityÂ’s budget request for an entire academic year as approved by the Boar d of Trustees of the University and ultimately approved by the Cabinet which is compris ed of government ministers. In addition to its yearly budget, the University recei ves funding for financial assistance to students through the MOE.


77 The Role and Responsibilities of the Ministry of Ed ucation The MOE is responsible for the entire education sys tem and the Tertiary and Post Secondary Services Unit of the MOE is charged with the supervision of higher education in Belize. This unit has five main areas of respons ibilities: (1) selection and monitoring of government scholarships (2) financial disbursements to all institutions and scholarship recipients (3) development of policies and regulati ons for tertiary education, (4) international representation, and (5) development a nd implementation of projects. The unit, however, has only two staff members, who carr y out the financial responsibilities of the unit. Several of the administrators in the study mentione d that the “unit” is not really a unit but a tertiary desk that deals only with finan ces. A ministry official verified that “the tertiary desk facilitates the movement of funds, pa ying salaries, etc” (facetoface interview, March 15, 2007). Another ministry offici al referred to a “tertiary unit” but was quick to add that the unit is not where the ministr y would like it to be. “The structure of the MOE as it currently stands is not fully able an d prepared to handle all of the issues that arise that are related to tertiary education” (facetoface interview, March 23, 2007). One former higher education administrator regretted the fact that there is: no provision within the MOE with human resources that are designated for higher education. It’s not surprising, not even coincidental, that the phrase used is a higher educ ation ‘desk.’ They don’t even talk about an officer… That is very instructive. (facetoface interview February 20, 2007)


78 To understand the organization of the tertiary unit one must first know that higher education is a recent phenomenon in Belize, dating back to the early 1950s with the opening of the first Teacher Training College. The first sixth form (now called junior college) opened in the early 1950s, offering studie s beyond the secondary school curricula. The turning point in Belize higher educ ation was in 1966 when St. JohnÂ’s Sixth FormÂ’s proposal to offer an associate degree modeled on the American junior college (community college) was accepted by the gov ernment of Belize. The programs were geared toward preparing students to matriculat e into baccalaureate degree programs at American universities. Since the opening of the St. JohnÂ’s College Sixth Form (later known as St. JohnÂ’s College Junior College), a numb er of other junior colleges have been established. Currently, there are ten junior colleg es, two of which were opened in August 2007. There is also, the University of Belize whic h was established in 2000 when five government institutions were amalgamated. To date, however, the tertiary sector remains very small, especially in comparison to the primary and secondary school systems. In the academic year 2005-2006, there were 288 primary sch ools, 50 secondary schools, and 17 tertiary and post-secondary institutions (including off-shore institutions) (Statistical Digests, 2005-2006, MOE). In the academic year 2005 -2006, there were 64,516 students enrolled at the primary level; 16,696 at the second ary level, and 4,854 enrolled at the junior college and university level (Statistical Di gests, 20052006, MOE). In the academic year 20062007, 2,594 students were enrol led in eight junior colleges and 2,431 were enrolled at the University of Belize. In the academic year 2007-2008, 2,739 students were enrolled in 10 junior colleges and 2, 341 at the University of Belize.


79 This author believes that historically and even tod ay, the primary and secondary school systems in Belize have been more developed t han the higher education system for three main reasons: (a) policies of multilateral ag encies such as the World Bank in the first half of the 1990s encouraged developing coun tries to strengthen their primary and secondary systems much to the detriment of higher e ducation, which was considered a luxury (Chapman & Austin, 2002; Tilak, 2003), (b) m any in the country still believe that higher education is a private good and should be f inanced by the individual who will enjoy the benefit). As one higher education adminis trator mentioned, “people say tertiary education is for the individual so the individual s hould pay for that education” (face-toface interview, March 27, 2007). A Ministry of Edu cation official noted that many individuals have made the point that higher educati on is a private good and should be subsidized by the individual not the government (fa ce-to-face interview, March 23, 2007) and (c) only 2.5 percent of the population pursue tertiary or higher education (Chan, 2005). One Ministry of Education official showed clear pre ference for the primary and secondary school systems even though that individua l admitted that higher education is important: If we were living in a society where we had univers al access to secondary even universal access to primary, I can s ee where the government can look at improving the higher level, but because we we still have that huge gap with respect to access at the secondary, it is burdensome to have to carry such a heavy load for t he higher level sector. (face-to face-interview, March 15, 2007)


80 Another official in the MOE stated that higher educ ation is both a public and private good. The official disagreed with the extreme notio ns that government must either subsidize 100% of the cost of higher education or n ot subsidize higher education and instead use its money to support primary and second ary schools. The official suggested that there has to be a balance between the two posi tions in which government continues to play an important role in higher education, and families and communities are willing to make the sacrifice for the higher education of thei r children. When asked however, whether the message of this balance is getting acro ss to all stakeholders in tertiary education, that official suggested that there is st ill a long way to go in getting this message across. Another ministry official noted tha t “we need to concentrate on strengthening our lower levels” (face-to-face inter view, March 15, 2007). Some higher education administrators, however, are of the view that the government has to do much more in strengthening higher education. Undoubtedly there is much to be done before higher education can occupy a prominent position in the hierarchy of education in Belize, especially since higher education remains a small s ector. One higher education administrator opined that “the ministry never thoug ht that education would have reached a point where we would be ready for higher levels” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007); consequently, structures were never put in p lace to address the needs of the tertiary sector. Several higher education administrators in the stud y pointed out that the individual who deals with tertiary issues is the di rector of school support services and also deals with issues affecting primary and second ary schools. One administrator concluded that “the Minister doesn’t have anybody a round him in the ministry who could


81 give him good advice to guide tertiary education; t hat’s a ministry of primary and secondary” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007) Another higher education administrator noted that “there isn’t a tertiary ed ucation specialist or a tertiary education person and participation from the current person ha s been in trying to work with ATLIB in completing some tertiary education rules governi ng the administration of junior colleges” (face-to-face interview, March 13, 2007). However, MOE and ATLIB documents show that these tertiary rules remain at a draft stage even after there were several working sessions that included ATLIB member s and a British consultant hired by the MOE. Even while some participants pointed out t hat the officer in charge of the tertiary desk has been very efficient in carrying o ut the financial responsibilities of the MOE, they mentioned that the same individual also h as other roles to play in the ministry. Consequently, that individual has limited time to be active in ATLIB and COBEC (Consortium for Belizean Educational Cooperat ion) and has little knowledge of the movement towards accreditation for higher educa tion in Belize or the global thrust of higher education. The perceived lack of expertise in the MOE creates a vacuum in leadership to guide the development of tertiary education. As one ministry official suggested, “on the development side of tertiary education, we have lit tle input and that is an area that needs to be addressed” (face-to-face interview, March 15, 2007). In the past five years, the tertiary and post secondary division has had at lea st four different directors. In more recent years, the sector has been without any offic ial leadership. One higher education administrator strongly suggested that the minister of education has to be a strong leader and receive strong support from the technocrats in the ministry. But he asks, “if you have


82 a tertiary education desk but no one at the desk, w ho is going to advise the minister on higher education? Who is going to insist that you h ave the data from which you will formulate policy?”(face-to face-interview, February 20. 2007). Development of higher education policies. Higher education policies are determined and ratified by MOE officials sometimes with the participation of higher educator administrators and other education officia ls. But college and university leaders complain that this participation is often limited t o providing feedback rather than input in the formulation of policies. For example, the move towards adopting the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Exam [CAPE] curriculum was a go vernment decision which was communicated to the junior colleges through the Min istry of Education. One Ministry of Education official said that the CAPE curriculum wa s not imposed on the junior colleges, but that: a policy decision was taken both at the national a nd regional levels to embrace CAPE and to institutionalize CAPE, but we d o so not at the expense of an institution’s ability to run other pr ograms. Our policy is that CAPE should be a fundamental part of your c urriculum and examination processes…It’s a policy decision and on e that is in the interest of Belize. (face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007) One junior college administrator whose institution was not offering A Levels (the British counterpart of the CAPE) stated quite clearly that “CAPE was imposed on us. This is one example of how government exercises control over in stitutions” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). Another junior college administrato r whose institution was offering A Levels before the CAPE was introduced mentioned tha t they switched to CAPE after it


83 was “announced that junior colleges were expected t o kind of implement the CAPE program, although no one from the Ministry of Educa tion has come to say how or ask how we are implementing it” (face-to-face interview March 26, 2007). An additional policy in regards to CAPE was the switching of the Belize Open Scholarship from A Level passes to CAPE passes, thus, those institutio ns that traditionally prepared students for A Levels and competed for the prestigious Beliz e Open Scholarship, had little choice but to switch to CAPE criteria in their curricula. Another example of policy development and implemen tation at the ministry level was the more recent National Accreditation Act of 2 004. An inter-ministerial committee made comprising MOE personnel and chief executive o fficers from other ministries drafted the National Accreditation Act. In fact, a key person in ATLIB and other ATLIB members noted that the national accreditation act w as copied from a commonwealth template that was given to all Caribbean Community [CARICOM] countries and revised to fit the Belizean context. One higher education a dministrator discussed the substantive difference between higher education administrators participating in writing the draft and providing input on the finished draft: If you participate in the draft, it’s different fr om being invited to look at a finished draft because there is a lot of discussi on, debate and, yes, effort and energy that goes into drafting. If you are invi ted to provide feedback you cannot change much of what is already there. (f ace-to-face interview, February 20, 2007)


84 Other higher education administrators noted that AT LIB was invited to provide feedback only after members of ATLIB learned of the existenc e of the policy document. A prominent member of ATLIB recalled the manner in wh ich ATLIB became involved: I got a copy of the bill by chance from someone at the ministry and someone in ATLIB made copies and we had a special m eeting to read and decide how to respond to it. We approached the ministry and asked if we could respond to the bill before it reached the Hou se. We then had a meeting with ministry personnel and suggested to them how the bi ll could be revised. (face-to-face interview, March 20, 2007) Another higher education administrator recalled ATL IB making a presentation right before the National Accreditation act was passed in to law asking for 11 changes in the draft. Only some of the recommendations were accept ed. “One of ATLIB’s recommendations was that the Executive Director of the National Accreditation Council not be directly appointed by the minister and that was not changed” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). In fact, Part Two Clause Five of the Act states that “There shall be an Executive Director of the Council appoi nted by the Minister after consultation with the Board of the Council” (National Accreditat ion Council Act, 2004, p. 751). Another higher education administrator suggested th at since government officials drafted the Act, it was natural that the minister would be given the final control. “He who paints the tiger sketches it in his own way” (face-to-face interview, February 20, 2007). In fact, the Act states that “the Council shall report to th e Minister as often as may be required” (National Accreditation Council Act, 2004, p. 759) and “the minister may, after consultation with the chairperson give to the counc il in writing such directions of a


85 general policy nature as appear to the Minister to be necessary in the public interest.”(National Accreditation Council Act, 2004 p. 759). The above clauses are almost identical to those in the UB Act which allow the minister to appoint the Board of Trustees and give the board directives of a general nature. The drafting of the National Accreditation Act occu rred much like the drafting of the Tertiary Education Rules, in which a MOE consul tant drafted the rules and invited ATLIB members to provide feedback. More recently, t he ministry has commissioned a Joint Education Staff Relations Council [JESRC] to put in place rules governing all educational institutions. The mission of the Counci l is to: (a) secure the greatest measure of cooperation bet ween the government and general managers of primary and secondary schools a s joint employers, and the Belize National Teachers Union in matters affecting the teaching profession with the primary view of increasing the efficiency in th e teaching profession as well as the well being of those employed and (b) to provide a machinery for dealing with problems of a general nature and to of fer solutions and ideas that may be beneficial to our educational system and the teaching profession by bringing together the experience and view points of representatives of the various sectors of the teaching profession (Constitution of the JESRC, 2007, p.). ATLIB was not invited to the inaugural meeting and the minutes of that meeting record ATLIB as being absent. Those minutes were revised a t the second meeting on January 15, 2007 to reflect the fact that ATLIB was given a late invitation to join the Council and was now being invited to have representation on the Council. The Council requested that ATLIB make recommendations on several points includ ing salary scales for tertiary


86 teachers, a standardized school year for ATLIB scho ols, the JESRC as a recruiting and selection body at the tertiary level, and a staffin g formula, among others. Recent minutes of ATLIB meetings show that ATLIB members reject th e ideas presented by the Council noting that the move to standardize all levels of e ducation in Belize is counterproductive to higher education. They instead favor the draftin g of a national policy for higher education and a complementary higher education Act because they believe that higher education should be treated differently from primar y and secondary schools (ATLIB minutes, February 19, 2007). Institutional autonomy and institutional accountabi lity. Good governance is created when there is a balance between institution al autonomy and institutional accountability (Hall and Symes, 2005). However, bot h institutional autonomy and institutional accountability must be understood in the context of the higher education environment operating in individual countries (Neav e and van Vught, 1994). In Belize, several higher education administrators and Ministr y of Education officials suggested that higher education is autonomous because they can “do what they want” (face-to-face interview, March 9, 2007) with little accountabilit y to the public or government from which they receive most of their funding. One Minis try of Education official noted that “the Ministry has to develop its tertiary unit othe rwise institutions will continue to throw out what they feel is best for them. One prominent MOE official noted that: institutions have every right to be autonomous but that autonomy must come with a corresponding level of accountability. Some institutions want to tell us, ‘just give us the cheque and leave us alone’ but th at accountability doesn’t mean only reporting how you spent the money but demonstr ating value for money, for


87 example, in the performance of your students. (face -to-face interview, March 23, 2007) While this view is characteristic of government off icials throughout the world, the context of such comment must be noted. In Belize, t here is an absence of guidelines or structures to ensure this accountability. One junio r college administrator suggested that “there is no accountability right now. It takes ins titutional will to want to improve but there is nobody saying these are the rules you have to follow” (face-to-face interview, March 26, 2007). As one Ministry of Education offic ial summarized it, “the rules are in place for up to secondary, but there are none addre ssing the higher level sector and so some rules will be adopted from secondary to tertia ry, but there is no manner of enforcing them.” (face-to-face interview, March 15, 2007). On e higher education administrator complained that “whenever there are problems at the tertiary level, it’s the secondary rules that have to be used to solve the problem. S o the secondary rules are used when they are convenient and not used when they are not convenient” (face-to-face interview, March 26, 2007). For example, primary and secondary school teachers are entitled to “long leave” (four months of paid vacation) after t hey have taught for 15 consecutive years at a government or government-aided instituti on. This privilege is not extended to tertiary teachers because it is not convenient at t he tertiary level for teachers to be absent from work for such an extended period of time. In a nother context, because there is no separate pay scale for tertiary teachers at the jun ior college level, secondary schools pay scales are used to remunerate teachers at the junio r colleges. A MOE official noted that “any plan for higher edu cation has to make provisions to hold institutions accountable” (face-to-face int erview, March 23, 2007). The lack of


88 rules governing higher education promulgates the no tion that institutions are not seen as being or wanting to be accountable to the state. In his address to COBEC, the Minister of Education said, “waste and inefficiencies are enemi es of your institutions and must be regarded as such. This requires greater planning, e nhanced administrative capacity and improved accountability supported by clear penaltie s” (Fonseca, 2007, p. 2). Another ministry official mentioned that many colleges do n ot feel the need to communicate with the ministry of education in respect to new program offerings or the increase of tuition and other fees (face-to-face interview, March 15). But one higher education administrator pointed out that the ministry is not accountable to higher education so there is no acco untability any at all (face-to-face interview, March 26, 2007). Another higher educatio n administrator described the lack of institutional accountability by saying, “we have be en allowed to operate almost in our own little world with very little interference from outside” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007). Another higher education administrator n oted, “whenever you talk about accountability, institutions take it to mean that t hey will be told what to do and they balk at that” (face-to-face interview, March 26, 2007). But most administrators agreed that the MOE “needs to make provisions to allow for accounta bility without taking away autonomy completely” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007). Some higher education administrators also suggested that higher education institutions are neither autonomous nor accountable. One higher education administrator suggested that the “junior colleges have neither autonomy nor is there the internal dri ve for accountability or the external forces that are asking for accountability” (face-to -face interview, March 26, 2007). One higher education administrator blamed the lack of i nstitutional autonomy on the fact that


89 junior colleges are still treated as extensions of high schools which are heavily controlled by MOE (face-to-face interview, March 13, 2007). Fo r example, the revised draft tertiary education rules were developed using the primary an d secondary rules and policies. Those rules that could be applied to tertiary were kept; others were revised to accommodate the major differences in the sectors. I n respect to financing and curricula at the tertiary level, the MOE seems to be following t he primary and secondary policies for junior college financing and curricula. For example financing of salaries at the secondary level is also calculated at 70 percent of the total salary bill. Since primary and secondary schools follow a set curriculum for standardization purposes, the Ministry of Education has used that as a justification for the standardiz ation of curricula at the tertiary level. The higher education system. In defining the system of higher education one higher education administrator said, “it’s a system in my mind; its not structured, it’s haphazard, it’s ad hoc it’s eclectic, and it borrows from different sys tems… it doesn’t fall under any general guidance” (face-to-face inte rview, March 6, 2007). Another said “it’s a system of individual schools with a Ministe r of Education in an office” (face-toface interview, March 20, 2007). Another higher edu cation administrator referred to the system as: a non-systemwhat passes as our system is actuall y colleges that have grown mostly out of high schools. It’s one that has merel y grown. When it’s too big we just create an extension, but we have not plann ed. (face-to-face interview, February 20, 2007) Here the reference is to the creation of sixth form s (junior colleges) from existing high schools that have become too large to effectively a nd efficiently manage. The


90 consequence of this unplanned system of higher educ ation is that some colleges share infrastructure with their high school counterparts, often on one existing campus. Others have their own infrastructure but are managed by on e institutional board, while others have their separate infrastructure and institutiona l boards. This situation creates inequalities since many stakeholders (parents, stud ents, and faculty) may perceive those institutions that have neither their own infrastruc ture nor institutional board to be merely extensions of high schools with little room to deve lop a college culture. Several higher education administrators cited the need for their j unior colleges to be separated from the related high schools in order to establish their ow n identities. One higher education administrator put it this way, “we have to stop see ing the junior college as part of the high school. That is a psychological impact that is perp etuating. We are no longer sixth forms. We are junior colleges” (face-to-face interview, Ma rch 9, 2007). Beside the psychological impact, there is the finan cial impact when colleges in some instances share revenues and expenditures with their high school counterparts. In discussing finance, one higher education administra tor insisted that: the financial managers have to recognize that thing s have changed. Junior colleges are independent entities that shoul d operate independently. Having a junior college should not be a profit-maki ng venture for high school principals. (face-to-face interview, March 9, 2007) In other circumstances the opposite is true. The hi gh school has actually subsidized the establishment of the junior college until such time as the junior college has become viable. In either situation, however, most of the j unior colleges are still treated as extensions of their high schools and their manageme nt activities are similar to those of


91 high schools. In addition, most of the junior colle ges operate under one institutional board along with their related high school and this was cited by some as a hindrance to the development of the junior college. One higher e ducation administrator expressed frustration about going to board meetings because “ people get engaged in these conversations that have absolutely nothing to do wi th the future of the junior college” (face-to-face interview, March 16, 2007). Of the si x junior colleges in the study, five have only one institutional board that manages both the high school and junior college. The other junior college has only in the past years established separate boards for each division of its institution. Higher education in Belize is affected by the fact that institutions do not collaborate with each other very often. One higher education administrator described the higher education system as one in which “everybody does his/her own thing and you are in your own world and thinking what you are doing i s great and there isn’t much collaboration” (face-to-face interview, March 16, 2 007). Another higher education administrator mentioned th at: each institution is doing its own thing because the re is nothing that will mandate us. We are in ATLIB and we collaborate but there is the situation in which an institution can decide we don ’t need to follow that and there is nothing to stop it. (facetoface inter view, March 6, 2007) Apart from doing their own thing, institutions seem to be heading in different directions. One higher education administrator lamented that: UB is going in one direction and the others are goi ng in another direction. If ATLIB was all going in one direction, then fine, but I am not certain

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92 that the junior colleges are all going in one direc tion. (face-to-face interview, February 20, 2007) In fact, it is unclear whether individual instituti ons have any kind of strategic plan in place to shape their futures. When the question of having a strategic plan was raised with the higher education administrators in the study, r esponses varied from an emphatic “yes we have one” to “it’s under review.” At the ATLIB l evel, minutes of the February 20, 2007 meeting note that a strategic plan would have been finalized in July 2007. The University of Belize has been working on its strate gic plan since 2004 and it remains in draft stage, even though the Board of Trustees has ratified it. One former administrator revealed that it was the UB Board that made the dec ision to stop the strategic plan and wait for the national higher education conference i n September 2006. The vision for higher education. In the last two decades, greater emphasis has been placed on higher education in both developed a nd developing countries (St. George, 2006). In both these contexts, higher education is recognized to be a driver of economic development and the growth of national economies. I n 1998 at the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education, higher education wa s declared to be important to the “sustainable development and improvement of society as a whole to be preserved, reinforced, and further expanded” (p. 2). In 2000, after decades of linking primary a nd secondary education to the economic development of developing countries, the World Bank revised its position on higher education stating that: tertiary education institutions support knowledge-d riven economic growth strategies and poverty reduction by (a) training a qualified and adaptable labor

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93 force (b) generating new knowledge; and (c) buildin g the capacity to access existing stores of global knowledge and to adapt th at knowledge to local use. Tertiary education institutions are unique in their ability to integrate and create synergy among these three dimensions…The norms, val ues, attitudes, ethics, and knowledge that tertiary institutions can impart to students constitute is this supposed to “contribute” to the social capital nece ssary to construct healthy civil societies and socially cohesive cultures. (p.6) The development and direction of higher education i n any national context depends on the interaction among key stakeholders s uch as students, faculty, administrators, state administrators, politicians, and the market (St. George, 2006). In Belize in the more recent years, much discussion ha s taken place on the importance of higher education, but little has occurred to demons trate its importance. In a recent address to COBEC, the Minister of Education remarked that: there is a re-awakening taking place among our youn g people reflected in a growing awareness and consciousness of the cri tical need to be fully engaged in the growth and development of our nation Attendant to this re-awakening is an increasing appreciation and unde rstanding of the fundamental role of education in achieving that gro wth and development. (Fonseca, February 8, 2007, p. 1) This re-awakening extends to educators involved in higher education, who in more recent years, have endeavored to initiate discussions on t he need for higher education to be recognized as a national priority. A good example i s the 2006 National Conference on Higher Education convened by ATLIB to raise awarene ss of the importance of higher

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94 education to the economic, social, cultural, and po litical development of Belize and to address key issues such as financing and governance The outcomes of this conference are being used as background information to develop a national policy on higher education. Higher education in Belize does not have a higher e ducation policy or a higher education act. Even though several efforts have bee n made in the past to develop a higher education policy, none of the efforts has been form ally recognized as a policy (face-toface interview, March 13, 2007). More recently, the Minister of Education appointed a Working Group and a Steering Group to develop the h igher education policy; to date, however, the work has not been completed. An MOE of ficial confirmed that the policy would have been completed in June 2007; however, at a meeting on May 14, 2007, the Minster of Education requested that ATLIB make reco mmendations to the higher education policy Working Group. On July 2 and 3, AT LIB held a special working session to draft recommendations to be included in the Nati onal Policy for Higher Education (ATLIB minutes, July 10, 2007). Those recommendatio ns are included in a position paper that ATLIB will submit to the Ministry of Edu cation; however, at this time, the position paper has not been submitted. The development of a national policy for higher edu cation is one of the most urgent responsibilities of the Ministry of Educatio n. As one higher administrator remarked: because there is no higher education policy, higher education is just floating around. There is a new paradigm in respect to the p ublic good of higher education

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95 but there is no competence in the Ministry of Educa tion to address that new paradigm at a policy level. (face-to-face interview March 27, 2007) Because the Ministry has limited capacity to accomp lish this task, the responsibility is being relegated to ATLIB despite the fact that ATLI B does not have the official authority to devise a national policy for higher education. The Relationship between Higher Education and the M inistry of Education Higher education has only begun to blossom in the m ore recent years with the establishment of junior colleges across the country the University of Belize, Galen University, and other offshore medical institutions The establishment and, more recently, the strong advocacy for higher education by the Ass ociation of Tertiary Level Institutions of Belize (ATLIB) has provoked discussion of the im portance of higher education in Belize. One higher education administrator intervie wed for this study summarized the role of ATLIB as filling the gap that exists becaus e of the lack of expertise in higher education at the ministry level. However, ATLIB is a voluntary association, “an interest group pushing for higher education issues” (face-to -face interview, March 6, 2007). One higher education administrator mentioned that “In t he last three or four years the MOE has come to see ATLIB as a structured and forceful entity” (face-to-face interview, March 13, 2007), but ATLIB holds no formal authorit y to regulate, manage, or develop policies for higher education. ATLIB is essentially the higher education system in Belize since it comprises all ten junior colleges, UB, and Galen University. The relationship between MOE and higher education is essentially the relationship between MOE and ATLIB (face-to-face interview, March 22, 2007).

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96 One higher education administrator described the re lationship between the MOE and ATLIB as “tenuous.” There are people that are t rying to forge a relationship with the Ministry of Education, and then I think there are t hose who don’t really care and people in the Ministry who have an ‘iffy’ attitude to ATLI B” (face-to-face interview, March 13, 2007). One MOE official described the relationship with ATLIB by saying: we have been able to see the shortcomings but we do n’t want to rock the boat yet so we enjoy a good relationship with higher educati on. The relationship may not be so good in the future when we have to change thi ngs to improve the system. But we need to rock the boat more in the interest o f the public. Most administrators believe that the relationship b etween the two groups remains cordial but insufficient to really forge the development of higher education. In fact, one MOE official characterized the ministry’s relationship with higher education as: fairly good but we have constraints and challenges. The Ministry of Education itself does not have the sufficient capac ity to deal with higher education. We have a well developed structure for l iaising with primary and secondary institutions; that structure, however is not in place for us to communicate properly with tertiary institutions and our relationship with higher education is a long way from where we w ould want it to be. (face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007) The Role of Politics in Higher Education A study conducted on higher education in developing countries notes that “the direct involvement of politicians has generally pol iticized higher education widening the possibilities for corruption, nepotism, and politic al opportunism” (TFHES, p. 53) and

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97 lessening the autonomy of institutions. In Belize, politicians and politics dominate all levels of education, but at the higher levels, the dominance is more subtle. An MOE official has publicly asserted that “politics has n o place in education” but privately has confessed that “it is difficult to keep it out.”(fa ce-to-face interview, March 23, 2007). In higher education in Belize, politicians and politic s are prominent in areas such as the establishment and financial assistance to colleges and the appointment of important university personnel. Establishment of and financial assistance to instit utions. Since there are no rules and regulations officially in place for the establi shment of tertiary institutions, the opening of colleges seems to be very much arbitrary and often based on promises that politicians make to their constituencies prior to b eing elected into office. One higher education administrator explained that “in many cas es in Belize, the opening of an institution was really based on an agreement with a politician” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). A good example of the lack of rule s regarding the opening of junior colleges is the recent controversy over the establi shment of a junior college in the northern part of the country. One ATLIB member ment ioned that the Minister of Education had agreed that there would be no new jun ior colleges in the near future until a higher education policy was completed; however, it was made as a verbal agreement and not as a policy (face-to-face interview, March 13, 2007). Issues of the Amandala Newspaper for May 2007 contained advertisements addressed to prospective students and faculty for the opening of a new junior college in the Corozal District. In addressing this issue, one higher education administrator said, “th e opening of the junior college has to do with a politician opening a school in an electio n year because he promised it” (face-to-

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98 face interview, March 13, 2007). A higher education administrator suggested that “the opening of another junior college does create more access to students but I think we need to be wiser in how we allocate our resources and be careful that we are not just duplicating efforts” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). Another administrator also decried the opening of junior colleges for “politic al gain when the quality is below standard” (face-to-face interview, March 16, 2007). In the case of the new junior college, one higher education administrator suggested that t here was no fear of competition since the curriculum at the new junior college is more vo cational but expressed the fear that the new institution may eventually branch into academic fields that are already being catered to in several other institutions (face-to-face inte rview, March 16, 2007). Another administrator reflected that more junior colleges i n Belize means that there are fewer resources available for existing colleges and this could seriously affect the quality of existing colleges (face-to-faceinterview, March 9 2007). A more recent edition of the Amandala Newspaper contained advertisements for faculty for yet anoth er junior college that commenced operation in August 2007 in the vill age of Independence. The promise to establish the University of Belize i n order to maximize resources by amalgamating five government institutions and di versifying the curricular offerings was made by the People’s United Party prior to the general elections of 1998. Upon assuming office in 1998, the promise was fulfilled, and the following year, preparations for the establishment of the University began under the auspices of a Secretariat. But some involved in the planning at that time now say that the plan was wrought with missteps and failures that haunt the University of Belize even today. One former UB administrator remembers that the policy to amalgama te the five institutions was

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99 announced in October and each institution was presu mably given the opportunity to discuss it internally. At the time of such announce ment the University College of Belize [UCB] felt that: that kind of direction fitted well with where we sa w ourselves in the middle and long term planning but not in the short term be cause we thought we would do it slowly and thoughtfully. We would do it incre mentally since that is how UCB would have preferred it. My view is that politi cians tend to think in five year cycles. They are elected to five year terms and so the thinking of the ministry was that they would do it in one big decision. (face-to -face interview, February 20, 2007) A former higher education administrator of UB concu rred with the above sentiment saying that “the President’s vision was that we wou ld not wait until the government tells us what to do. We were the closest thing to a unive rsity so we would work with other schools to build a full-fledge university.”(face-to -face interview, March 27, 2007). Unfortunately, the government did not wai t to get directions from UCB and despite objections from many educators and institutions tha t were to be amalgamated, the planning of the merger proceeded. About a year and half before the inauguration of the University of Belize, a secretariat with two co-dir ectors was appointed; however, the codirectorship failed and a single director was appoi nted, and that also failed (face-to-faceinterview, February 20, 2007). In February 2000, ju st seven months prior to the inauguration of UB, a third director was appointed. This meant that the there was now less than seven months to plan because the Universi ty was to open on August 1, 2000. One director of the secretariat recounts that:

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100 there was less than one year of solid planning. Tha t was a big weakness. That planning showed me that none of the savings that go vernment thought they were going to effect were going to be realized; in fact, it would cost the government more, at least in the first instance, si nce there was need for start up monies. (face-to-face interview, February 20, 2007) On August 1, 2000, the University of Bel ize was inaugurated. Two years later, the government announced that it would cut the Universi ty’s budget from 10 million to nine million. Later it was cut to seven million; then in creased to seven and one half million and now eight million for the academic year 2007-20 08. The tuition fee at the time of inauguration was fixed by the government. To some t hat was a mistake because UB could not survive on such a low cost of tuition. On e former UB administrator suggested “that was an unfortunate decision that government m ade; again there is some politics in that; it was done in order to buy the good will on the part of the students and their parents” (face-to-face interview, February 20, 2007 ). When UB came into existence it was governed by the University of Belize Act. The UB Act gives the power to the Minister of Educa tion to give directions of a general nature to the Board of Trustees and allows for the membership of several governmentappointed representatives. A former UB administrato r explained that the clause that gives the Minister of Education control of UB was also pr esent in the UCB Act, albeit in a milder form and pointed out that: if there was any area in which the two political pa rties (PUP and UDP) agreed, that clause was it. They both wanted that clause th ere. I think both political parties subscribe to the kind of legislative cultur e that we have inherited from

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101 the British. Almost in every Act the minister is v ery powerful. Perhaps the British have moved away from that, but we have rema ined. (face-to-face interview, February 20, 2007) When the UB Act was first proposed, the university community bitterly opposed the clause (Tun, 2004) but, in the end, the “clause prevailed even in its draconian form” (higher education administrator, face-to-face inter view, February 20, 2004). Even though two of the UB administrators interviewed for this s tudy say that such clause has not been invoked, the fact that it is there raises the conce rn that the Minister can invoke that clause (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007). In fac t, more recently, the President’s Cabinet at the University of Belize recommended tha t the clause be revised and the composition of the Board, with such heavy governmen t representation, be reviewed (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007). One UB official stated that “there was strong sentiment by many members of the University communi ty that the heavy presence of government appointees on the Board was intentional, designed to do the bidding of the government” (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2 007). One former UB administrator provided a metaphorical comparison of the political interference at the now defunct University College of Belize [UCB] and UB: UCB developed under both the People’s United Party and the United Democratic Party governments and the principle that operated was “benign neglect.” Benign in the sense that they vo ted a certain amount of money to us and they left us alone, so we develo ped mechanisms to develop our higher education institution. Under UB, the principle was no longer “benign neglect”it was a “Bear Hug”more money from the

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102 government but there was far more government partic ipation in decision-making. (facetoface interview, February 20, 2007) The appointment of key university personnel. Throughout much of Africa the President or Prime Minister is also the university chancellor, who has the ultimate authority to appoint key university administrators such as the Vice-Chancellor (Bjarason & Lund, 1999; Kirby-Harris, 2003; Teferra & Altbach 2004). In Belize, the President of the University of Belize is officially appointed by the Prime Minister (UB Act, 2000). A former president of UB was officially removed from that position in June 2007; however, no official announcement was made to the university community even though the media were reporting the removal of the president. At a p ress conference held in April 2007, the Prime Minister responded to a question by a reporte r and officially announced that a new president had been appointed effective June 1, 2007 It was also disclosed that the former president, whose contract as President of UB expire s in 2008, would be selected to head a secretariat to oversee the development of higher ed ucation in Belize. The removal of this UB president is not without pre cedence. In December 2001, the UB president at the time was removed from the p osition in a similar manner and was redirected to oversee the African/Mayan History Pro ject. The removal paved the way for the now former president of UB. In the UniversityÂ’s seven year history, it has had three presidents, four provosts, and two interim provosts While the appointment of the president of UB is a responsibility of the Prime Mi nister, the deans of the junior colleges are appointed and if necessary, dismissed by their respective managing boards. At a different level of management, the Executive Director of the National Accreditation Council and the members of the counci l, are appointed by the Minister of

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103 Education (National Accreditation Council Act, 2004 ). ATLIB members were vehemently opposed to this clause, citing the fact that the council may in fact end up being an extension of the MOE without any real powe r of its own. One junior college administrator expressed that “this clause is a majo r loop hole so those participating in the provision of higher education will also have to be professionally competent and vigilant to participate in the process (face-to-face intervi ew, March 6, 2007). Another higher education administrator who was very involved in the lobbying to revise some of the clauses in the National Accreditation C ouncil Act recalled that top ministry personnel were “literally translating the act to ma ke it very politicalthe CARICOM model wasn’t as politicized as this one was” (faceto-face interview, March 13, 2007). The powers of appointment of key personnel at the University of Belize and other agencies such as NAC have implications for the auto nomy of these institutions. As one higher education administrator remarked about the d irector of the NAC being appointed by the Minister of Education: the executive director should not be directly appo inted by the minister but that clause remains in the NAC Act so in that respect government still can put its weight around. We know it’s not right b ut there isn’t much we can do because we depend on government for money. We have to hope that the director will be a principled individual who will know how t o operate under that circumstance. (face-to-face interview, March 6, 200 7) In the case of UB, political interference affects U B’s autonomy. The Amandala Newspaper for August 19, 2007 reported that the Min istry of Education has established a History Department at UB which will offer a baccala ureate degree in history. The

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104 announcement was made by the Ministry of Education and not by the University of Belize. Speaking about the amalgamation of UB, one former UB administrator noted that: at UCB we had been questioning the viability of a m ulti campus model but to close down the other campuses and move everyone to Belmopan under UB would have been too traumatic. It would perhaps have been politically explosive and politicians don’t like to take that risk so they tr ied to amalgamate and still retain campuses in Belize City and Punta Gorda (face-to-fa ce interview, February 20, 2007). But the decision to retain campuses at different si tes in Belize City was costly to UB. As one UB administrator mentioned, “having three campu ses is very costly for a university this size with the kind of financing we get.”(faceto-face interview, February 28, 2007). A former UB administrator also noted that maintaini ng three different sites in Belize was inefficient use of resources since there were overh ead and maintenance costs (face-toface interview, March 27, 2007). In 2004, when the government of Belize made the dec ision to relocate most of the UB site campuses to Belmopan (the main campus) the administration of UB suggested to government that there was a need to discontinue som e program offerings since they believed that the university would not be sustainab le in its newly constituted form. Faculty members, however, argued that instead of cu tting programs, the university was to restructure its administration to decrease costs. T hey submitted a proposal to the Prime Minister to revise the administrative structure to decrease expenditures (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007). The faculty proposal wa s approved and the administrative structure was revised. The consequences of that dec ision were that the position of provost

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105 was created to replace the vice-president of academ ics and some control from the vicepresident of finance was transferred to the new pro vost position. For example, building and grounds maintenance was now the responsibility of the provost (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007). One of the difficult ies of that restructuring according to one former provost was that “the provost spent a lo t of time dealing with rusty pipes and old buildings and on top of that, the office of the provost couldn’t make decisions that involved budgeting” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007). A good example of the implications of political int erference is the manner in which fees at UB are regulated closely by the gover nment. Several UB administrators and even one MOE official noted that the proposed fee i ncrease at UB was problematic for the government because it was close to an election year. One former UB higher education administrator noted that: the decision to subsidize the fee increase was a po litical decision but one that had major implication for other junior colleges wanting to raise fees that government currently pays. Such institutions would have to pay attention to the volatility of the political situation. (face-to-face interview, M arch 27, 2007) In Belize, there is a lack of vision for higher edu cation resulting from (a) the lack of expertise in the ministry to provide meaningful leadership and (b) the lack of a coherent framework or policy to manage and guide th e development of this sector. The lack of expertise at the ministry level and the lac k of a coherent policy to guide higher education in Belize have serious implications for t he manner in which decisions are made at the Ministry of Education. Often, policies are d eveloped without the input from higher education and this situation affects the relationsh ip between MOE and higher education.

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106 Very often, higher education administrators perceiv e these policies to be impositions and are reluctant to implement them effectively. Also, the involvement of politicians in higher education seriously affects its ability to make inn ovative changes to improve the quality of education offered to students. Question Two: How does the system of governance af fect financial decision-making in higher education institutions in Belize? Financing Higher Education in Belize In Belize, as in many other countries, financing hi gher education is a challenge, especially as more and more resources are committed to other equally important social issues. In developing countries burgeoning debts, p overty, and the health concerns of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and others, force governm ents to reduce their funding for higher education and encourage higher education ins titutions to seek alternative sources of funding. In his address to COBEC, the Minister o f Education highlighted his concerns on financing for higher education: financing for higher education remains a vexing iss ue. Government must, of course continue to do its part, and indeed do mo re. We must advance the discussion on a fixed funding formula and tax incen tives for education contributions. Institutions, themselves, must be mo re creative and effective in their efforts to achieve a greater level of self-su stainability. (Address to COBEC, February 8, 2007) In Belize funding for higher education institutions comes pri marily from the government of Belize. In the 20052006 fiscal year the government allotted 20.7 percent of its recurring budget to education. Of this 20.7 percent, post-secondary (including

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107 junior colleges and UB) received five and a half pe rcent in comparison to 60.9 percent and 28.9 percent for primary and secondary, respect ively (Education Statistics, 20052006, Ministry of Education). The government spends 1, 260 BZ dollars per student in higher education compared to 1, 062 BZ dollars and 1,926 BZ dollars per student at the primary and secondary levels, respectively (Educati on Statistics, 2005-2006, Ministry of Education). Funding for higher education also comes from tuition and fees collected from students. At the junior colleges, tuition and fees amount to 1,340 U.S. dollars per student per academic year (two semesters). AT UB, tuition a nd fees average approximately 1,000 U.S dollars per student per annum for associate deg rees and approximately 1,600 U.S dollars per annum for baccalaureate degrees. A comp arison of these fees to the per capita income in Belize which is approximately 3,650 U.S. dollars shows that the cost of higher education is extremely high. In funding junior colleges, the government provide s 70 percent of the salary bill for all academic personnel attached to the institut ion, disbursed on a monthly basis. Once an institution is recognized by the Ministry of Edu cation that institution will automatically qualify for this funding. Institution s prepare a list of academic personnel and their individual qualifications, referred to as the salary budget, and submit that list to the MOE for approval. This list is usually submitte d by November of any academic year for the subsequent academic year. Once that list is approved by the Tertiary Desk in the Ministry, institutions will receive a monthly subve ntion for the entire academic year. In other words, the subvention is usually fixed unless there are changes in faculty. The University of Belize receives an annual budget approved by the Ministry of Finance with input from the Minister of Education. UB administrators prepare their

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108 annual budget, which is then submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval. Once this budget is approved, it then goes to the Cabinet for final ratification. The budget process at UB is much more complex than that at the junior colleges because, whereas junior colleges only receive 70 percent of their salary bi lls, UB receives an annual grant that includes recurrent and capital expenditures. Lack of an effective and transparent funding formul a. The lack of an effective and transparent funding mechanism for higher education in Belize is frequently criticized. In fact, at the National Tertiary Conference in 2006, financing of higher education was a major theme. An MOE official noted that “we really should aim at providing some certainty in financing education at the tertiary le vel” (face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007). In fact, as one MOE official offered: there are different schools of thought on how finan cing should be applied. Should it be a formula based on a student per capit a basis or should there be some other formula based on the programs an institution offers and the relevance of those programs to national development?” (face-to-f ace interview, March 23, 2007) To date, however, the Ministry has not adopted any of these funding options. To date, funding for the junior colleges remains dependent o n the number of academic personnel employed in any given year while funding for UB is based on the previous year’s budget even though they submit an official budget ratified by the Board of Trustees. Budget figures for UB show that for the academic years 200 0-2001 UB received 10 million BZ dollars; in 2002-2003, it was cut to nine million d ollars and in 2004-2005 it was cut to

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109 seven million dollars; in 2006-2007 it was increase d to seven and a half million and in 2007-2008 it was increased to eight million dollars (UB budget history). Funding for junior colleges. Since funding for junior colleges and UB is applied differently, each will be discussed separately. In the case of junior colleges, as has been mentioned earlier, monthly subventions totaling 70 percent of the salary bill for all academic faculty, staff, and administrators are giv en to each institution. However, not all administrators agreed that the subvention is actual ly 70 percent of the salary bill. While most were adamant that it is 70 percent, some admin istrators argued vehemently that it is less than 70 percent. MOE officials interviewed, in sisted that it is indeed 70 percent, saying that all institutions are treated equally an d given the exact percentage of their total salary cost. The confusion, however, seems to be in the number of academic staff that the ministry will approve for each institution. If an i nstitution submits a staff list with a number of qualified staff and the ministry believes that the number is not proportionate to the number of students at the institution, then it might refuse to pay for the “extra” staff and the college’s grant will reflect non-payment fo r those positions. Again, the nonexistence of an effective and transparent funding f ormula or mechanism makes the decision as to how many academic personnel will be funded seem arbitrary to some junior college administrators. There seems to be no rational explanation for the “ magic” 70 percent. One MOE official did not know how the percentage was arrive d at except to say that at one time it was 50 percent and the Teachers’ Union had successf ully negotiated for it to increase to 70 percent for secondary schools. Since junior coll eges are offshoots of high schools, the

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110 70 percent was applied to them as well (face-to-fac e interview, March 15, 2007). One higher education administrator suggested that it is : historical more than anything else. Now why the nu mber 70? I would want to think that it’s based on the fee structure of schools and, when these discussions were going on, they felt that tuition a nd fees could supply 30 percent, but I don’t think any discussion has been held on t hat topic in recent years. (faceto-face interview, March 6, 2007) Even while the 70 percent or thereabout remains the set percentage to fund junior college salary costs, some administrators believe t hat it is no longer adequate and the funding for junior colleges should be reviewed to i nclude funding for capital expenditures as well. One higher education administrator noted t hat “if the government would pay 100% of teachers’ salaries it would allow instituti ons to further their development without leaning too much on the government every ti me you need infrastructure” (faceto-face interview, March 9, 2007). And even while government may assist in infrastructure, there is no official mechanism in p lace to guarantee such assistance. Another junior college administrator suggested, “in stitutions need more than just salaries. They need funding to develop their infrastructure a nd there is nothing in place in Belize that assists institutions in that aspect” (face-toface interview, March 6, 2007). In outlining the process of salary budget approval, administrators reveal that there is no formal mechanism to inform colleges of their budget approval. One higher education administrator described this situation in this way: there is no year when we are informed in writing th at the budget has been approved, nor is there any formal structure. We hav e insisted that these

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111 kinds of things be made in writing, but it never ha ppens so we just have to hope that what we have requested will be honored. ( face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007) Without any formal notification, administrators bel ieve that there is the risk that they may employ individuals only to find out later that thei r request was not fully approved. When that happens, institutions have to assume the short fall, since at that point there is no negotiation that can take place given that the budg et has already been fixed. Funding for the University of Belize. In the case of UB, the government provides an annual budget disbursed in monthly portions. UB personnel who were interviewed for this study paint a picture of arbitrary decisions i n regard to their funding. In fact, the arbitrary funding dates back to the University Coll ege of Belize [UCB]. In chronicling funding for UCB, a former UB administrator describe d it this way: it is interesting that, in my UCB experience toward s the beginning of that ten year, there was no implicit formula, much less explicit. There was nothing; only a vague statement that said we were to submit our request. The ministry would look at it and would make whatever modificati ons necessary then send it to the National Assembly. (face-to-face intervie w, February 20, 2007) In the UCB Act there is indeed only a brief referen ce to the submission of a budget to the MOE. Furthermore, there was no explanation for the final amount that would be approved for UCB, except that it seemed that the fu nding remained consistent from year to year. One former UB administrator described the situation by saying that: government was very consistent. If in a given year they gave you two hundred thousand, the following year it might go u p by five or 10 thousand

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112 dollars but there was no formula. For instance we d idn’t know whether they were looking at a cost of living index, at inflatio n, or what indicators they were using to modify, adjust, or whether they were looki ng at priority areas. (face-toface-interview, February 20, 2007) In fact, it seemed likely to UCB administrators tha t, at the government level, decisions were not always in accordance with those at the MOE For example, in regards to UCB funding, the MOE would approve UCB’s budget, but wh en it went to the national government, the budget would be revised. This situ ation became very clear when in the academic year 1994-1995, the government of Belize p laced a cap on its funding to UCB at one million BZ dollars. “There was no rationale, just a nicely rounded figure that for the rest of that decade, did not change” (face-to-f ace interview, February 20, 2007). When it came to funding UB, the situation was much the same, but the figure was different. In its initial two years because of the size and its infancy stage, UB received a budget of 10 million BZ dollars (5 million US) from the government of Belize. In the third year, the budget was reduced to nine million BZ dollars and in later years further decreased to seven million BZ dollars. Again, ther e was no justification for the decrease in funding except that “government needed to cut th eir budget so we were, in a sense, victims in that exercise. So they cut it to seven” (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007). Later the budget was increased to seven and a half million around the time when teachers and public officers were threatening to st rike, however, there is no concrete evidence the two situations were linked. A UB admin istrator agrees that the government has no rationale for decreasing or increasing UB’s budget, or that it really pays attention to UB’s budgetary request, saying that:

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113 there is no process for funding because although we prepare our budget each academic year and submit that to the governmen t, they don’t fund us based on our budget. They give us seven and a half millio n dollars each year although our request always exceeds that amount. (face-to-fa ce interview, February 28, 2007) Effective academic year 2007-2008, the government o f Belize announced an increase in UB’s budget to eight million Belize (fo ur million US dollars) dollars. A MOE official confirmed that the budget would be increas ed to eight million dollars after a meeting between UB officials and MOE personnel in w hich it was agreed that there was a need to increase the budget. There remains, howev er, no effective and transparent funding formula for the financing of UB and the jun ior colleges. Funding and long term planning in higher education. The government of Belize provides funding for institutions based on previous year’s budgets and/or decisions from one year to the next. This situation creates uncert ainty in institutional planning because, from one year to the next, institutions are not cer tain how much they will receive from the government. For the junior colleges, this uncer tainty affects how they recruit faculty since there is no guarantee that the government wil l provide the funding for the additional faculty. In some cases, then, institutions prefer t o “play it safe” and increase their faculty numbers minimally each year, even when there is nee d to employ more faculty to improve the faculty/student ratio at the institutio n. As one junior college administrator noted, “we are sometimes hesitant to just increase faculty. Instead we make conservative requests” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). In other cases, institutions hire the number of qualified faculty they need and risk havi ng to pay additional faculty with

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114 monies collected from tuition and other fees. As on e administrator explained it, “we often have to hire additional faculty because our enrollm ent goes up steadily and we have to balance the faculty/student ratio but we often have to pay the shortfall” (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007). Often this situation creates a ripple effect since monies diverted to salaries are often budgeted for infrast ructure projects, equipment purchases, and/or maintenance so that there is always some und er-funding somewhere. One higher education administrator suggested that this situati on creates an environment in which institutions engage in “crisis management, instead of developing a culture of readiness for opportunity” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). At one institution, finances were so inadequate that the institution could not e mbark on recruitment drives. This situation in turn affected its enrolment in the sub sequent academic year (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007). In other situations, institutions often have to rely on their high school counterparts to make up the shortfall o r to share facilities with the high school. But the financial uncertainty facing junior colleg es and UB is not only limited to funding for academic faculty but also in the irregu larity with which monies for student tuition are disbursed.. The government of Belize pr ovides tuition for all second year students pursuing associate degrees at any of the j unior colleges or UB. The government also provides merit scholarships to students who ob tain at least six CXC passes at the end of their senior year in high school and enroll in a ny tertiary institution. But most of the junior college and UB administrators relate that th ese monies are randomly disbursed and this creates financial hardships for institutions, since they depend heavily on income generated by tuition and other fees. One higher edu cation administrator described an

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115 occasion when tuition fees were not disbursed in a timely manner. The institution had to “borrow from Peter to pay Paul. Some of our payable s that we should have paid were just not paid after we had to use those monies to help p ay teachers’ salaries” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007). When the government do es not pay its tuition on which institutions partially rely to complement the 70 pe rcent salary grants, institutions often use overdraft facilities to make up the shortfall. As one higher education administrator noted, “sometimes we are so much in the red that th e banks own our schools” (face-toface interview, February 28, 2007). Some institutio ns have funds set aside for such contingencies but administrators confessed that usi ng those savings is not fiscally responsible. One higher education administrator men tioned that “we have a high risk fund. Because of the situation we are in, we have s aved so that we can operate for one month without government and without overdraft” (fa ce-to-face interview, March 9, 2007). A higher education administrator explained t hat when government agreed to incur an increase in fees in place of the students: that created a problem for us in that it was a chal lenge for us to collect that increase. The increase should have come into effect in August but we didn’t get anything from government until October. So from August to October we couldn’t really do anything we had planned to do from the increase of fees. (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007 ) The funding situation also affects UB’s long term p lanning because although UB administrators project an increase in expenditures and include such increase in their budget, the budget they receive does not reflect su ch increase and they have no control over how much funds they will receive, even after t he budget request is made. This

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116 affects long-term planning for faculties and their individual departments. As one UB administrator said: the faculties know what they have access to and the y will put forward a budget for certain things and the CFO will look at that and he will have to sometimes send it back and they have to cut. The y are forced to prioritize; in fact, the entire university has to p rioritize. (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007) In addition, UB administrators interviewed note tha t because of a lack of funds, UB cannot embark on research, which seriously under mines part of their mission as a university. As one administrator said, “research is another area that we would like to promote but the issue of finance affects us signifi cantly there. So we are challenged to do some things that we know are critical to our missio n” (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007). In addition, budget constraints often me an that tuition funds from students often have to be used to pay salaries for academic and support staff, leaving very little to invest in program development, and equipment and fa cilities upgrades that ultimately affect academic quality. As one administrator at U B said: the increase in operational costs and the fixed bud get for the years affects the quality of our programs because the money you need becomes less because it’s the same money you’re using to do a lot more… it has really been a challenge for us. (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007) Alternative sources of funding. Undoubtedly, as is the case in many other developing countries and even developed countries, government funding in Belize is inadequate to support higher education. Institution s, then, must seek alternative funding.

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117 In developed countries, higher education institutio ns have developed strong partnerships with business and industry through research and dev elopment, however in Belize, this situation is a long way from producing any meaningf ul funding for institutions. At the junior college level, where basic and applied resea rch are non-existent, institutions have to depend greatly on tuition and fees to complement government subventions. Unlike community colleges in the US which develop ties wit h industry by conducting job training that companies pay for, junior colleges in Belize have not explored this alternative source of revenue. Since there is no government tuition policy that specifies tuition and fees at this level, tuition costs vary from 29 dollars to 40 dollars per credit hour. Even while the Ministry of Education tries to monitor the increase of fees at this level, one ministry official explained that the abs ence of a national policy for higher education makes it extremely difficult for the mini stry to restrict the increase of fees, so that “if a junior college decides the fees will go up, we have little input in that. You have to depend on the community or the market to set rea listic fees” (face-to-face interview, March 15, 2007). But another MOE official felt that there should be a clear policy on tuition and fees, and the lack of such policy allow s some institutions to charge tuition and fees that are too high. Junior college administrato rs, however, express a preference for setting their own tuition rates, especially since t hey rely heavily on these monies. As one junior college administrator suggested, “one of the things that is still in the junior colleges’ favor is that government cannot dictate a ceiling for setting fees, so we are still at liberty to review our fees structure every once in a while and determine the fees”(faceto-face interview, March 6, 2007).

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118 Tuition and fees at the University of Belize are s trongly monitored by the MOE. In fact, a ministry official mentioned that while t here is no official policy for tuition and fees at the ministry level, they “participate with UB in trying to arrive at a tuition fee and set a tuition policy for UB” (face-to-face intervie w, March 23, 2007). This participation, according to UB administrators, amounts to controll ing the fees that UB charges. One former administrator mentioned that “for the first time in many years the Board of UB supported bringing an increase into effect, however the government did not support it” (face-to-face interview, March 28, 2007). In fact, the control of fees dates back to UCB, where the tuition per credit hour remained fixed fo r the duration of this institution. In 2006, the Board of Trustees of UB authorized an inc rease in fees but according to one UB administrator, “the government did not approve i t in a sense. In the sense that students did not want to see that happen, so they t ook to the streets and, at the end of day, the government decided they would pay”(face-to-face interview, February, 28, 2007). One ministry official justified the government payi ng the increase by saying that since “there was no longer a viable student loan institut ion (the Development Finance Corporation which offered student loans had collaps ed), there was the worry that students would face undue hardships to continue their studie s” (face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007). A former UB administrator at the time of the tuition controversy disputed that rationale saying that “when the decision was made b y the government to pay the increase, many students had already gone ahead and paid the i ncrease. If the increase had been studied properly, it would have been obvious that s ome students, not all, needed help” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007).

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119 Another MOE official suggested that paying the tuit ion fees was not prudent, especially since the Belizean economy is facing severe challen ges at this time, but suggested: it makes a government look good to be able to say t o that level of the education systemyou are dealing with people who c an vote‘we will support you by paying your fees.’ But it’s not sust ainable. It’s a short term fix, and we need to look for something more long te rm such as loan schemes to assist students to pursue higher education. (fa ce-to-face interview, March 15, 2007) One former administrator described the situation as one in which “the government was afraid of the bad publicity, especially since it wa s on the back drop of the DFC and Social Security Board Commissions of Inquiry and the threa ts by the labor unions”(face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007). Whatever the true reas on for the government absorbing the costs of the increase in tuition, there is no denyi ng that UB relies heavily on tuition fees collected from students or the government of Belize Although UB closed its research and development office because of lack of funds, it sti ll generates some income from research organizations and receives grants from various nongovernmental organizations. Funding for capital projects. Unlike UB which receives funding for capital projects from the government of Belize, junior coll eges must often look to their respective churches, communities, area representati ves, and fund raising drives to access funding for capital projects. Even though the MOE d oes have provisions for capital projects, one MOE official mentioned that “there is no formula to determine who gets the capital grant. We look at the access in the area, t he need, and the service it would provide in the area” (face-to-face interview, March 15, 200 7). But it became obvious that funding

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120 for capital projects for junior colleges is at the bottom of the “needs” hierarchy when the same official noted that: If a sixth form (junior college) wants to introduce a new program and, lets say they want to introduce computer technology, the y will approach us and ask us for assistance to build that computer lab an d resource it. If we do that, we are actually depriving a secondary school from some facility. (face-to-face interview, March 15, 2007) Some higher education administrators mentioned th at the receipt of monies for capital projects almost always depends on knowledge of cruc ial information that is seldom made public to tertiary institutions. One higher educati on administrator mentioned that those who are privy to information, such as when projects proposals are due and which agencies provide funding for infrastructural develo pment, have an advantage in getting their projects funded (face-to-face interview, Marc h 9, 2007). But that information seems to come to those who are politically connected. As the same administrator mentioned: the receipt of money for capital projects depends on how well you are connected politically, which depends on where y ou are. In most cases, if your elected area representative in the House of Representatives and the minister of education are of the same politica l party, they can lobby and you might get more and that’s one of the reasons w hy, when you look at our country, some areas seem to be getting more. (faceto-face interview, March 9, 2007) Of the six junior colleges participating in this st udy, two institutions share classroom space with their high school counterparts three institutions are physically

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121 located adjacent to their high schools, and one is located entirely separate from its high school counterpart. In almost all situations, junio r colleges share or have shared facilities such as computer and science laboratories with thei r high schools. Most administrators believe that this situation has to be changed, as i t limits the work of the junior colleges, especially in their ability to diversify programs a nd enroll more students who meet the criteria for junior college education. One higher education administrator confessed that “we really need to move out of that sharing of faci lities so that we can start classes earlier and expand our programs” (face-to-face interview, M arch 26, 2007). One administrator remarked: in Belize, the whole mindset of institutional devel opment has to change. Institutions need more than just salaries. Capital investments are a major part of institutional growth and development, but we still believe that once you have a number of classrooms, a number of teachers, and one administrator, you have a school. (face-to-face-interview, March 6, 2007) At UB, infrastructural development comes from fund ing from the government of Belize. Whereas junior colleges have to seek their own funding for initial and subsequent infrastructure, the government of Belize provided t he capital for the UB campus in Belmopan. But the challenge for UB remains accessin g funding for upgrade and maintenance of laboratory facilities and computer e quipment that are crucial to the quality of education at UB. Even with the increase of fees, which were paid by the government, UB is still limited with funding for th ese projects. As one UB administrator pointed out, “the increase was a targeted sum of mo ney to be used for specific student

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122 services, not to be used in the general fund, and c ould not be used to purchase necessary equipment” (face-to-face interview, February 28, 20 07). The lack of an effective and transparent funding f ormula to finance UB and the junior colleges affects the development of higher e ducation in Belize. Basing funding solely on a portion of salaries does not promote ca pital and other development and there are better ways to calculate what the government su bsidies should be. In addition, the lack of adequate financial resources to fund infras tructural development, particularly at the junior colleges, forces institutions to seek al ternative sources of revenues, often at the expense of students through the increase in tuition This in turn affects access to higher education for many students, especially of low soci o-economic status. In general, the lack of adequate funding affects the quality of educatio n at the higher education level since crucial resources such as appropriate library holdi ngs, laboratory and computer equipment, and others are difficult to acquire. Question Three : How does the system of governance affect the curric ular decisionmaking in higher education institutions? In many developing countries, governments insist t hat curricula in higher education must cater predominantly to the needs of the national economy whereas the faculty and administrators in higher education inst itutions believe that curricula must also focus on the needs of the individual person. This d ichotomy creates a challenge for higher education institutions trying to balance the two major goals of curriculum development. In Belize, the challenge is prominent, as both government officials and higher education administrators accept the need for the curricula to focus on both goals, but disagree on how to do it. A prominent MOE offic ial insist that curricula in higher

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123 education are not aligned with national development goals (face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007) and higher administrators argue that, in the absence of any clear indication of a national development plan, it is difficult to align curricula with national development. The Development of Academic Programs A review of institutional academic catalogues reve al that major curricular offerings are concentrated in the broad areas of bu siness, science, and information technology. Examples of academic programs are Busin ess Administration, Biology and Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, and Tourism Management. In describing how one junior college institution makes curricular decisions, one administrator related that “unfortunately, curricul ar decisions are largely guess work; everything is all guess work because we do not have a research culture to provide us with data on which to base our decisions” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). Notwithstanding the lack of hard data, institutions rely on the market needs to develop academic programs. For example, some institutions c onduct basic surveys within the surrounding communities to determine which programs they would want to pursue; other institutions contact their church communities, whil e others wait for families to urge them to offer one academic program or another. Using thi s information, institutions will then decide which academic programs to offer and hope fo r high enrollments once their academic programs are advertised. But enrollments o ften do not reflect the demand indicated in survey results. One institution realiz ed there was a lack of social science courses at the tertiary level so a program was deve loped to address that need. However, enrollment failed to materialize and the institutio n was forced to offer other choices. One junior college administrator described this situati on as one in which “institutions see

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124 themselves as being able to serve a certain cliente le or fill a certain need, but when the reality hits, the need might not be there” (face-to -face interview, March 27, 2007). On the other hand, institutions sometimes initially de cide against offering certain programs but later find out that there is a large market for it. A good example of this phenomenon is the case of business programs. Often, institutio ns will relent and offer business programs because there is a large demand for busine ss programs. Administrators confessed that business degree offerings are import ant to keep their institutions viable and satisfy student demands. In fact, often these b usiness programs subsidize social needs programs that are less popular. National development needs. In many developing countries, educators try to link academic programs to national development, but are often unclear on a definition of “national development” (Woolman, 2001). The absence of a clear national development plan constrains higher education from developing cu rricula that are relevant to national development needs. Curriculum developers often rely on their own perceptions of what the country’s developmental needs are likely to be, but they are often unsure of the alignment between their curricula and national deve lopment needs. Even while a prominent MOE official mentioned the dissatisfactio n with the current alignment between curricula and national development needs, h igher education administrators insist that there is no national development plan to guide their decisions. One higher education administrator noted that “when you ask for governme nt’s national development plan you are asking for something that does not exist” (face -to-face interview, March 6, 2007). Another higher education administrator described t he situation as one in which:

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125 it’s hard to know whether your curriculum reflects national development needs because there is no document that you can go to fin d out what are the needs that our institutions should be filling at this time. We really are guessing. There is a vacuum, too, in that we do not work in harmony with the country’s national development unit. (face-to-face interview, March 27 2007) Another administrator concurred by saying that “the re is very little in print that you can go to that tells us these are the needs of the coun try and these are the areas that higher education needs to pursue” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2008). One MOE official interviewed for the study also ag reed that “we need a development plan for the nation and we need a blueprint to coor dinate the education sector for the way forward” (face-to-face interview, March 15, 2007). A senior MOE official indicated that a national development plan is currently being deve loped called “Vision 2025” by the Ministry of National Development, and the MOE is ve ry involved in the process to ensure that “our goals and objectives are directly linked with the national development goals of the country”(face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007). But until such development plan is completed, institutions will co ntinue to rely on their perceptions of national development to guide curriculum developmen t at their institutions. Community needs. The missions of most junior colleges and UB relate to community needs, both at the local and national lev els. Community needs refer to the needs of business/industry as well as those of reli gious and social groups. Even though junior colleges and UB do not rely on business/indu stry relationships for alternative funding, they often use their expertise to make cur ricular decisions. As one higher education administrator described, “we turned to ma nagers of resorts for their suggestions

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126 and in turn came up with a package that says ‘this is our tourism program” (face-to-face interview, March 9, 2007). One good example of seiz ing upon business/industry needs is St. John’s College School of Professional Studies, which was established to offer certificate programs to train individuals in areas that were deemed necessary for business and industry (face-to-face interview, March 26, 200 7). Because several junior colleges in Belize are affi liated with particular religious denomination, curricular decisions often revolve ar ound this reality. Such institutions will offer academic programs or courses that educate stu dents in accordance with the philosophies of their churches. For example, one ju nior college administrator mentioned that, as students of a Methodist institution, there was a need to offer a course in theology. A review of college catalogues of religious affilia ted institutions show that at the Catholic institutions students must take between three and s ix credit hours of theology or moral decisions courses. One religious-affiliated instit ution offers courses called “Life Skills” and “Christian Beliefs,” and although the names do not necessarily suggest religious courses, they are both based on religious principle s of the church. But offering religious courses for some institutio ns is sometimes challenging because the MOE will not pay for these courses. One administrator related how she was informed that the state would not pay for a religio n teacher at her institution, but when she investigated, the government was paying for the religion teacher at another institution. An MOE official mentioned that the sal ary budget is approved based on the needs of the institution and not necessarily on the courses offered. But when the institution changed the names of the courses to dis guise the religious nature of the courses, the MOE had no difficulty providing the fu nds for the teachers.

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127 Institutions also find the need to offer programs t hat are socially responsive to the communities they serve, even when these programs ar e expensive or have low enrollments. For example, institutions offering phy sics often have low enrollments “but because there is a shortage of physics teachers in the high schools in Belize, we continue to offer it” (face-to-face interview, March 16, 200 7). Sometimes programs are offered that are related to the policies of the Ministry of Education. For example, four junior colleges are offering associate degrees in primary education and UB is offering a baccalaureate degree in primary education. This pro gram is very costly but extremely important since a large portion of primary school t eachers are not trained in pedagogy. While the government does contribute to the offerin g of this program by providing funding for student teachers, they also control the number of institutions offering the program. Only one junior college in each region of the country was allowed to offer the program. In fact, the program was shut down in one institution after the MOE authorized another institution in that same region to offer it The administrator of that institution mentioned that “a directive from one MOE official i nformed us that we had to stop offering the program in March and the students were to graduate in May of the same year. The students had to stop their studies and di vert to the General Studies Program” (face-to-face interview, February 27, 2007). Other administrators also mention that if their institutions wanted to offer the program, the y would have to seek approval from the MOE. AT UB, social needs programs are offered despite lo w enrollments and high costs of implementation. For example, the Faculty of Nurs ing, Allied Health and Social Work is the smallest faculty, but one of the most expens ive to maintain because of the

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128 specialized training and equipment costs. But these programs are offered because there is a social need for them. Other programs such as agri culture and engineering continue to be offered because “there was no way we could say we w ouldn’t run these programs because government would not have accepted that” (f ace-to-face interview, February 28, 2007). In the case of agriculture, one UB administr ator explained the need to continue to offer “this expensive, yet least productive program ” (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007) even after several attempts to close it down: When UB was amalgamated as a university, the people who came with that program were considered government employees a nd they brought that status over with them, so they are not people we c an just terminate because the government would then have to pay them and governme nt refuses to do that. In a sense, this is one way in which government does hav e influence in what happens with us that we don’t have much control over. (face -to-face interview, February 28, 2007) The Adoption of CAPE In 2004, the CAPE exam was adopted as the official exit exam at the junior college level, replacing the Cambridge A level. For junior colleges, it meant that they had to fully adopt the CAPE curriculum or at the very l east integrate it into their existing curricula. According to one junior college administ rator, colleges which had traditionally offered the Cambridge A Levels switched to CAPE and those which were not offering any exit exam embraced CAPE, albeit in some cases, reluctantly (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). Currently, all junior colleges are offering the exam in different forms. But the change to and adoption of CAPE was not with out controversy. In fact, nationwide

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129 consultations conducted prior to the National Highe r Education Conference in 2006, suggested that many educators at different levels o f the education system doubt the relevance of CAPE to the developmental needs of Bel ize. Those colleges which were offering Cambridge A Levels were not all convinced of the need to switch to CAPE, and those colleges not offering the exam were reluctant to change their curriculum to embrace this new exam. A directive from the MOE, however, c onvinced colleges to embrace the CAPE curricula. As one higher education administrat or put it, “there is not much influence from the ministry in the way we develop c urriculum other than the fact that it was announced that junior colleges were expected to implement the CAPE Program” (face-to-face interview, March 26, 2007). One highe r education administrator said, “my institution was the last one which kept resisting; but I am believer that once a decision is made I will never sabotage it, so we are now follow ing the CAPE exam, but it was imposed on us.” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2 007). Another higher education administrator noted that: when the CAPE came, we started moving gradually tow ards CAPE, but we didn’t make just a complete change to CAPE. There w as a point when we were working both exam (CAPE and A Level ) syllabi simul taneously. This year we have moved completely to CAPE. (face-to-face interv iew, March 16, 2007) While junior colleges were expected to offer CAPE, there was no discussion on whether UB would offer CAPE at the Associate Level or how U B would accept credits earned from the CAPE curricula. In fact one UB administrat or mentioned that, “ when the discussion on CAPE came up, we (UB) weren’t even li stening to that so we could have easily said to students ‘if you don’t want to mess with all that CAPE stuff because we

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130 won’t accept it from anybody, just come straight to UB”(face-to-face interview, March 27, 2008). The effect of this oversight is now bein g debated, and there is a move toward pressuring UB to adopt the CAPE exam and to impleme nt a transfer system for CAPE credits. Minutes of ATLIB meeting held in February, 2007 show that concerns were raised about the transfer of CAPE credits to UB, an d at a meeting of ATLIB representatives with MOE officials the issue was ra ised once again. There was no official response other than that the matter would be raised with UB officials. However, in the absence of a clear policy on transfer and articulat ion between junior colleges and UB, there is no guarantee that credits earned in CAPE p rograms will be transferable to UB. The Implementation of CAPE Curricula at the junior colleges are modeled on the U.S. system with a number of specialized courses (ranging from 3642 credit hou rs) and general education courses (ranging from 3642 credit hours). A CAPE curricul um also contains a specialization (major) with three units of general education: Cari bbean Studies, Communication Studies, and Information Technology. Each major and general education is separated into a series of units with each unit comprising two or three modules or courses. For example, a major in management contains the following units: Accounting Unit 1, Economics Unit 1, Management of Business Unit 1, and Management of Business Unit 2. Each of these units is further divided into three modules (course s). A general education unit, for example, Caribbean Studies is divided into two modu les (courses): Caribbean Society and Culture and Caribbean Development. To obtain an associate degree in CAPE, students are required to sit and pass seven units, which include four units of specialization and three units of general education

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131 Currently, all junior colleges are offering CAPE in different forms. One junior college administrator mentioned, “since the ministr y did not specify how the CAPE should be offered, if you look at the curriculum, w e’re covering the content but implementing it in different ways” (face-to-face in terview, March 26, 2007). Most institutions are offering the CAPE in several conte nt areas. This means that students cover the contents of the CAPE syllabi and at the e nd of the units sit for the exam if they choose to; however, there are some institutions tha t use CAPE syllabi but do not prepare the students to sit for the exam. Four junior colle ges are offering equivalent CAPE associate degrees alongside their traditional assoc iate degrees. The way CAPE is offered depends largely on the kind of exams that were being offered before the CAPE was introduced. For example the institutions that were previously offering A Levels, offer a variety of su bject areas in CAPE. As one higher education administrator said, “We have moved from A Levels to CAPE and we now offer additional fields of study in CAPE; whereas A Levels only offered science subjects, CAPE offers different courses in business” (face-to -face interview, March 15, 2007). Another administrator whose institution was offeri ng A Levels said, “what we have done is take those A Levels and replace them with CAPE a nd that has allowed us to add some other programs in business.” (face-to-face intervie w, March 26, 2007). Other institutions that were not offering any form of external exams a re now just offering a few areas in CAPE or just using CAPE syllabi for some courses al ready offered at their institution. In fact, one higher education administrator noted that the CAPE program is in its second year of the pilot stage, while another noted that “ we are not yet sitting any of the CAPE exams but we are following the syllabi. I wanted to see us be able to deliver the content

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132 sufficiently with a level of competence before our students signed up” (face-to-face, March 27, 2007). Notwithstanding the form in which the CAPE is offer ed, CAPE has now become an integral part of the curriculum at each junior c ollege. However, the offering of CAPE has forced changes in the curriculum at each instit ution. The magnitude of these changes, however, depends on the manner in which CAPE is off ered. For example, offering the CAPE Associate Degree “allows for very little room to do more” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007). Since the Belize Open Scholarship is tied to the CAPE, a student wanting to compete for this scholarship has to cove r at least five units of specialization in three different disciplines along with the general education units. In the past, students who competed for the scholarship had to have obtain ed passes in A Levels in at least three disciplines; however, no general education wa s required. One higher education administrator noted that “the Associate Degree take s over your general core because there are general core components of the CAPE as well” (f ace-to-face interview, March 26, 2007). This means that institutions must decide whe ther they want to prepare students to vie for the scholarship or to get a well rounded ed ucation. A few diligent students endeavor to compete for the scholarship by followin g the CAPE curricula but students generally opt to complete their institution’s acade mic programs and not bother to sit the CAPE exam. The total number of students who sat the CAPE exam in 2007 was 227. One higher education administrator noted that: if we offer the CAPE Associate Degree it will cover all the credit hours that students will need to take and we wouldn’t be able to offer courses

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133 such as philosophy, psychology. It’s too important for them to have that well rounded education than the choice to win a Belize s cholarship. (face-to-face interview, March 26, 2007) Because institutions were following the American as sociate degree model, curricula included specialization and general educa tion courses. With the introduction of CAPE, institutions have had to change their general education courses and/or change the number of credit hours of general education courses For example, at one institution, students still take 36 credit hours of general educ ation but the courses are all those of the CAPE units. A review of the general education at th is institution points out that this new general education core contains courses in only two major areas of knowledge: language and communication, and social science. There are no courses in the broad areas of Mathematics or Natural Science. According to the Ta sk Force on Higher Education and Society (2000), general education in developing cou ntries is often the stepchild of specialized education, a weakness that higher educa tion in developing countries urgently needs to address. In Belize, there is too much emph asis on specialized education and too little focus on general education courses. But ther e are some who criticize the emphasis on specialized education and too little focus on ge neral education courses. One MOE official mentioned that “the curriculum is very spe cialized. Our students do not get a broad curriculum so they can explore; from early we streamline into major areas” (faceto-face interview, March 15, 2007). A higher educat ion administrator remarked, “at the end of sixteen years of study, many of our students lack certain values, skills, attitudes, and the ability to speak proper English, so we must emphasize those courses from which

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134 students gain these competencies” (face-to-face int erview, March 27, 2008). A MOE official noted: we focus too much on specialization. There is a nee d for some of that in a developing country but we cannot overemphasize that at the expense of our students getting a general education…we need to fin d a more appropriate balance between specialization and general educatio n. (face-to-face interview, March 22, 2007). One higher education administrator mentioned that in adopting the CAPE curriculum, “our direct input into making sure that our student s are prepared sufficiently was affected. There wasn’t as much freedom with that” (face-to-fa ce interview, March 27, 2007). Another higher education administrator recalled tha t: When we were preparing the general education core w e wanted students to do a course in theology and Belizean studies, but whe n we shifted over to CAPE we lost some of that freedom, but we tried to main tain some of it. (face-to-face interview, March 26, 2007) Another higher education administrator noted that “CAPE dictates what your course offering will be and you have to make decisions as to what will be eliminated” (face-toface interview, March 27, 2007). Another higher edu cation administrator summarized the effects of CAPE on their curriculum in this way: We had two exciting courses here Political Scienc e and Introduction to Journalism, but there are no exams connected to the m. They were fun courses, though. CAPE came along and increased the credit ho urs and since students only need 72 credit hours, they did not sign up for the courses so we discontinued

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135 them. As you offer the next subjects for CAPE, you have to sacrifice something and that’s why we sacrificed those courses. (face-t o-face interview, March 9, 2007) In balancing the CAPE curriculum with c ommunity needs, administrators noted that they try to offer CAPE areas that fit with com munity needs but sometimes they have to make adjustments to their curricula to be able t o do so. For example, one junior college administrator mentioned that in evaluating their CA PE Computer Science Program, they realized that it was too theoretical and the commun ity was asking that the program include some more practical aspects. They decided t o add two additional courses to satisfy the community’s request, but it meant that the students would have additional credit hours to complete. And how did the instituti on deal with the additional credits? “It meant that something had to be eliminated; it meant that there would be changes in other programs as well” (face-to-face interview, March 9, 2007). And while CAPE has great breath in terms of the num ber of courses it offers, administrators believe that some of the courses do not have sufficient depth and they have to integrate additional topics. One higher educatio n administrator noted that “what is covered in one CAPE syllabus is much less than what needs to be covered in a course, so there is room for enrichment in other some courses” (face-to-face interview, March 26, 2007). Another higher education administrator noted that: the CAPE syllabus at my institution is the minimum requirement, because there are certain areas where there may be some to pics that CAPE doesn’t include but that we think are important to our stud ents if they decide to

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136 pursue further studies. An example is the math, whi ch is restricted to a number of topics. (face-to-face interview, March 16, 2007 ) Even though all junior colleges are now offering s ome form of the CAPE curriculum, a few administrators still believe that curricular decisions, specifically to offer CAPE or not, should be left to the institutio n and not imposed by the government. One former higher education administrator summed up this sentiment this way, “what makes a higher education institution is that it con trols its curriculum and nobody can come and tell you what to teach for an exam” (faceto-face interview, March 27, 2007). A higher education administrator mentioned that they will “fine tune their curriculum to make it more practical and will find other creative ways to offer courses without depending on government support since government of ficials told us that they will finance salaries for CAPE related courses” (face-to -face interview, March 6, 2007). Curricula in higher education in Belize are develo ped based on perceptions rather than on sound evidence because there is very little guidance from the state as to what programs are necessary for national and human devel opment. Many administrators noted that developing curricula to meet national developm ent needs is difficult because there is no national development plan. But even in the absen ce of such national development plan, MOE officials say that they are dissatisfied with curricula in higher education because they are not aligned with national developm ent needs. This dissatisfaction with curricula in higher education seemingly justifies t he imposition of CAPE on the junior colleges and programs such as agriculture and engin eering on the University of Belize. It also seemingly justifies the control MOE maintains over the Primary Education Program since that Program is designated as a national deve lopment need. But there is no sound

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137 evidence that the move to CAPE curricula at the jun ior college is in the interest of national development. In fact many educators expres sed doubts about the relevance of CAPE to national development needs. The control the MOE maintains over higher education through funding, allows the MOE to direct ly intervene in the institutionsÂ’ curricular offerings. Although MOE officials noted that institutions were free to offer other academic programs, they seemingly have not gr asped the extent of the changes institutions had to make to accommodate CAPE or the controversy surrounding the adoption and implementation of CAPE. It can be arg ued that uncertainty over the relevance of their own traditional curricula in res pect to national development needs, affected higher education institutionsÂ’ responses t o the imposition of the CAPE. The imposition of the CAPE on junior colleges has serio usly affected their abilities to offer innovative programs since funding is limited. Question Four: How do market forces affect curricul ar and financial decision-making in higher education in Belize? Responding to Local Market Forces In this study, market forces include competition am ong institutions in Belize for students, faculty, and resources; response to labou r markets; global and regional market forces such as the Caribbean Single Market and Econ omy (CSME), and the decrease of public subsidies which force institutions to seek a lternative sources of funding. Because research is almost non-existent in higher education in Belize, that aspect of market forces was not studied. Zemsky, Wegner and Massy (2006) note that the colle ges and universities need to be more mission-centred and market-smart. They note that embracing or paying attention

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138 to the market does not mean reneging on institution al mission; in fact, they argue, being sensitive to the market allows institutions to use the additional resources earned from being market-smart to enhance their institutional m issions. They argue that “marketsmart institutions exploit opportunities to gain re venues, money relaxes the financial limit and thus permits greater mission attainment” (p. 60 ). In this study, I explored the effects of the market on both curricular and financial decision-making in higher education in Belize. To a nswer this question, I first established the participants’ perspectives on the role of the m arket in Belize. All participants noted that indeed the market has a role to play. One MOE official put it this way: whether we like it or not there will be a role for the market, so our position should not be to fight and oppose market forces. Our posit ion should be to embrace the market to enhance our capacities to respond to thos e market forces. (face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007) One higher education administrator suggested that “we need to pay attention to the market in determining our curricular offerings and making certain decisions so that we don’t end up duplicating programs. In fact, a lot o f that is already happening” (face-toface interview, March 6, 2007). But one higher educ ation administrator cautioned that “ there needs to be other forces such as policies and measures put in place so that market forces don’t undermine higher education”(face-to-fa ce interview, March 26, 2007 ). One higher education administrator suggested relying to o much on the market can seriously affect weaker institutions. That individual noted t hat: in Belize, weaker institutions do not get better becau se they have to compete

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139 with other stronger institutions; in fact, the stro nger ones get better with competition and the weaker ones get weaker. There a re systems that can accommodate competition but not in Belize because w e do not have the financial resources available to raise the standards in weake r institutions. (face-to-face interview, February 28, 2007) Market Forces and Curricular and Financial Decision -making Determining market needs. In describing the effects of market forces on curri cular decision-making, one administrator noted that “some times the decisions to offer a program over another are really difficult consideri ng that the institution has a mission it has to uphold” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 20 07). Administrators suggested three different effects of market forces on curricular an d financial decision-making, noting that “curricular decisions are often based on financial decisions and financial decisions are often dependent on the needs and wants of our stake holders” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007). One effect is related to the need to offer academic programs that meet certain market demand. For example, one junior coll ege administrator remarked that “we saw a need for high school students who did not mee t requirements for tertiary education to come to get these requirements. So with that req uirement the program for these students would be filling a clear market” (face-toface interview, March 27, 2007). Another higher education administrator noted that “ the teacher education program at this institution was offered to fill a clear market dema nd for trained teachers… in the first year alone we had 40 students.”(face-to-face interv iew, March 15, 2007). Another higher education administrator made it clear that: we will only offer a program if it’s in demand and maybe that’s why we

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140 havenÂ’t phased out business. While the experts will tell us there is a flood in the business market, business is what students wan t, and as long as they are willing to pay for it, we will offer it. We have to go where the money is. (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007) Another effect of market forces on curricular and f inancial decision-making is related to the decision to offer academic programs that are not aligned with the mission of the institution but are profitable because there is a demand. As one higher education administrator said: our institution wanted to offer social sciences bec ause we saw a vacuum for social sciences at the tertiary level. So we develo ped the programs but nobody applied to the social science programs. We had no i ntention of offering business because we felt that business was well served by ot her institutions. By the following year we had to relent and offer business because people kept asking for it. In order to keep the school viable and sati sfy their needs, we decided to offer business with concentration in accounting. (f ace-to-face-interview, March 27, 2007) Responding to Regional and Global Market Forces The Caribbean single market economy. The July 9, 2002, edition of the Amandala Newspaper quoted the Prime Minister of Belize as sa ying: for significant development to take place, we need a bigger market. We will attract major investment if the market is bigg er Â…in the globalized world that is fast upon us, it would be hard to bel ieve that Belize can exist in isolation from the world (p.6)

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141 Part of that development is the improvement of huma n resources which some believe will come from the free movement of people, particularly highly trained and skilled workers as stipulated in the CSME agreement. In fact, sever al administrators expressed the belief that the CSME is a positive step for higher educati on. As one higher education administrator noted: I see the CSME as a challenge and an opportunity fo r us to improve. The challenge will be competing with other professional s for positions, but the opportunity will be that we have to change in order to improve the system of higher education. (face-to-face interview, March 13 2006) The Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) is an in itiative of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), intended to benefit the people of the Caribbean region by improving opportunities in the production and sale of goods and services to attract investments. It is also meant to facilitate the fre e movement of people in the region (CARICOM, http://www.caricom.org). The establishmen t of the CSME is a consequence of the need to position and strengthen the economic system of the region in order to compete with global forces. Belize signed on to thi s treaty in order to improve its potential for economic development and as a signato ry, must adhere to the mandates, principles, and regulations of the CSME. A higher education administrator noted that it was the CSME that “has caused us to really look at ourselves carefully and realize t hat we are way behind in terms of higher education” (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007) One MOE official agreed that the CSME will force educators to realize that “tertiary institutions, more than any others, have to be at that front line of promoting change a nd quality” (face-to-face interview,

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142 March 23, 2007). But even while many educators beli eve that the CSME is a positive influence on higher education, many also believe th at if higher education is not ready to meet these challenges, the CSME can have lasting ne gative effects on Belizean professionals and institutions. One MOE official ca utioned that: other people from other countries who are prepared will come to Belize, and they will fill the positions that are needed to gro w and develop Belize, and our people will be left behind to function in lesser ca pacities.(face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007) Among the academic community, the fear also exists that “there may be a loss of jobs for some our Belizean people and that will be unfortuna te” (face-to-face interview, March 13, 2007). One higher education administrator noted that: we have some concerns because somehow we don’t see the CSME as being the case where our Belizean professionals will be heading to Barbados or Jamaica. I think they will be coming here instead t o us, and so we have to strengthen our professionals and our programs. (fac e-to-face interview, February 28, 2007) Since the CSME initiative is still in its infancy s tage, it is difficult to ascertain whether the fears or optimisms are justified. But the CSME, which allows for the free movement of people, particularly professionals, “necessitate d the development and ratification of the National Accreditation Council Act” (Face-to-face i nterview, March 23, 2007) which when operationalized will have major implications f or both financial and curricular decision-making in higher education institutions. A s one higher education administrator mentioned:

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143 to improve our standards and quality to meet nation al and regional accreditation we will have to make serious decision s on what programs to offer, how financially viable those pro grams are, and make a serious commitment to upgrade our human resources (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007) The national accreditation council act. In January 2005, the Governor-General of Belize signed into law the National Accreditation C ouncil Act to establish the National Accreditation Council [NAC] which would grant recog nition to academic certification obtained in Belize and elsewhere, determine the equ ivalency of awards and certificates in the regional context, and set and monitor the stand ards which programs and courses at Belizean higher education institutions must meet (P reamble, National Accreditation Council Act, January 2005). This Act was a direct c onsequence of Belize’s adoption of the CSME initiative. In fact, a MOE official verifi ed this by saying: it was critical for us to put in place a national a ccreditation council and put in place legislation that would provide the legal supp ort for accreditation in Belize and to make sure that, as a region, we are committe d to ensuring that there is an exchange and interchange of degrees and recognition of certain standards. (faceto-face interview, March 23, 2007) The National Accreditation Council is expected to s et standards that junior colleges and UB will have to meet. Most administrators and minis try officials believe it is a move towards improving higher education, especially beca use more and more Belizean educators and institutions will face national and r egional competition for market share. As one higher education administrator put it, “to s urvive in the regional context, we have

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144 to hunger for knowledge, and you have to be flexibl e and able to adapt to changes” (faceto-face interview, March 6, 2007). One official in the MOE said it has become imperative to “enhance our capacity to respond to market force s and ensure that we have in place the structures and institutions that are necessary to r espond to those forces”(face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007). A higher education admi nistrator suggested that “ since higher education is no longer isolated but regional and international, Belize has to get on board with standards and accreditation if we are to compete at least regionally”(face-toface interview, March 13, 2007). The NAC was ratified in 2005, but there has been n o official announcement of the composition of the Council. Even though one MOE off icial mentioned that the Council had been appointed, there was no evidence of that t o be found. In fact, several administrators referred to the non-appointment of t he Council, as well as to some of the clauses in the act that they deemed to be “too poli tical.” One higher education administrator lamented the fact that the whole move ment towards accreditation came from the government and not from the academic commu nity saying, “we should have been the protagonist and should have been the ones to say to the government that we were ready for a national system of accreditation” (face-to-face interview, February 20, 2007). The issue of accreditation has raised new discussio ns on the rationalization of academic programs, role of competition/collaboratio n among Belizean institutions and between Belizean and regional and international ins titutions of higher learning, and the vision for higher education in Belize.

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145 Rationalization of academic programs. One of the salient points raised at the 2006 National Conference on Higher Education was th e issue of rationalization of academic programs. Many administrators participatin g in this study also noted the need for the rationalization of academic programs as a m easure to maximize resources and improve the quality of higher education in Belize. One suggestion for rationalizing academic programs is to diversify the curricular of ferings by establishing centres of excellence. One higher education administrator note d that “we need to seriously explore the need for centres of excellence where institutio ns will identify their strong professional programs and relinquish those that they deem to be weak.” (face-to-face interviews, March 6, 2007). In such a system, all institutions would still offer a general education and a professional core in a few disciplines. Students would be able to take the general education core courses in their home districts and transfer to another institution to take the professional core of their choice. But for such concept to be operationalized, there would be a need for a national policy on transfer a nd articulation. The absence of such a national policy allows administrators to make arbit rary decisions about what courses are accepted as transfer credits. One higher education administrator said, “we have a situation in which if the dean of the transfer institution is not friendly with the dean of the institution from which the student is transferring, the credits may not be transferred” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). Transferri ng credits from the junior college to UB is also challenging. One higher education admin istrator noted that “if ATLIB works together to standardized courses, then UB will not give us a headache when it comes to transfer” (face-to-face interview, March 9, 2007). To develop and implement a national policy on transfer and articulation would mean that ATLIB institutions would have to

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146 work together to standardize courses and credit hou rs in order for students to have a seamless transfer. As one higher education administ rator noted, “ATLIB will have to sit and work with what exists and decide on a common co re” (face-to-face interview, March 9, 2007). Several administrators and MOE officials believe th at once the NAC becomes operational, colleges will have to improve their ow n institutional standards, and collectively, improve higher education in Belize. A s one MOE official said, “the NAC will ensure that institutions are meeting more than just the minimum standards. It will ensure that institutions are striving for quality” (face-to-face interview, March 15, 2007). Another MOE official mentioned that “institutions m ust understand the standards they are expected to meet and the time frame within whic h they must meet these standards” (face-to-face interview, March 23, 2006). Once an i nstitution is given a second chance to improve but fails to meet the required standards, t hen “having exhausted those options, that institution should not be allowed to continue to operate” (face-to-face interview, March 23, 2007). Administrators agree that institut ions must not only meet minimum standards but must “understand the whole language o f quality control and assurance, and we must maintain the standards and strive for quali ty” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). But to meet those standards, “we will requir e more than just monies for salaries. That will just not be sufficient to improve quality ” (face-to-face interview, March 13, 2007). Additionally, some administrators believe that even before the NAC is operationalized, there are a few institutions that should be closed down. One higher education administrator said, “ there are a few col leges right now that need to be closed

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147 down, but they will not because there is no politic al will”(face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). Others suggest that maintaining standards prescribed by the NAC will require institutions to make drastic curricular and financi al changes in their institutions. But since the NAC has not become operational, this observatio n is speculative at this point. Among these presumed changes is the need for additi onal resources to upgrade faculty qualification as one higher education administrator said, “we can’t have teachers with a bachelor’s degree teaching at a junior college; we can’t have people training teachers with limited preparation in teacher training” (face -to-face interview, March 13, 2007). There is also the need for more collaboration among junior colleges and between junior colleges and UB. As one higher education administra tor noted, “I am hoping that one day collegiality will lead us to be less turfy and we c an work together” (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). Competition/collaboration in higher education. Most administrators mentioned that market forces in Belize are manifested in the competition that exists among institutions but were quick to add that collaborati on is critical, especially in Belize where the system of higher education needs a lot of stren gthening. One higher education administrator mentioned that “competition is health y, but we need to know when to draw the line between competition and collaboration” (fa ce-to-face interview, March 6, 2007). Another higher education administrator mentioned th at “competition will always exist, but because there are so few of us offering higher education, we must instead work together” (face-to-face interview, March 9, 2007). One higher education administrator mentioned that competition is necessary in the cont ext of collaboration: it’s not competition in the sense that we are comp eting for the same students. It’s

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148 competition that we want so that we can reach a cer tain standard so that we can collaborate especially in transferring credits from one institution to the next. (face-to-face interview, March 27, 2007) And collaboration transcends the junior colleges an d UB in Belize. It also includes regional and international institutions. For exampl e, the collaboration of Belizean higher education institutions and some US universities and two-year colleges through COBEC has allowed many Belizean students and faculty to e arn advanced degrees in the United States, especially in fields and levels not offered by UB. In addition, other Belizean institutions, for example UB, have over the years e stablished good relations with universities in Britain, Canada, and several Centra l American countries. In most cases, the collaboration includes faculty exchanges and te chnical assistance for UB faculty. The market does affect financial and curricular dec ision-making as evidenced by the curricular choices that institutions make in re sponse to perceived market needs. Also, competition among institutions is unavoidable but b ecause of the small size of the higher education system, collaboration is critical not onl y at the local level but also at the regional and international levels. Regional forces have also affected higher education The Caribbean Single Market and Economy initiative has created a need fo r countries to develop accrediting agencies to accredit local as well as regional educ ational institutions. For Belizean academic institutions this means that they must beg in to put in place institutional quality assurance mechanisms to meet the requirements for l ocal and regional accreditation. Putting these quality assurance mechanisms in place has serious financial implications. It

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149 also means Belizean institutions will need to maxim ize limited resources to become more effective and efficient, hence the discussion on th e rationalization of academic programs. Resource Dependency and Higher Education in Belize The resource dependency theory assumes that organi zations depend on external resources to survive. The theory posits that organi zational behavior is dependent on the organizationÂ’s ability to garner those critical res ources it needs to function and survive. In seeking those critical resources, organizations wil l respond to and become reliant on those entities in their environment that control th ose resources. In their dependency on external forces for critical resources, organizatio ns often become constrained by external directives, and their subsequent actions are thus s haped by their abilities to manage the dependency and negotiate external demands. The theo ry emphasizes that in managing such dependency, organizations act strategically to counteract these external demands and lessen dependency. Organizations, therefore, ar e not solely at the mercy of their external environments, but have some features that help them manage external dependencies. Using this theory to discuss how the Government of Belize maintains its control over higher education has to be done with the expli cit understanding that autonomy is contextually defined (Neave and van Vught, 1994). F or example, case studies on higher education systems in developing countries suggest t hat institutional autonomy is dependent on the higher education environment. In u sing this theory to discuss government control on higher education in Belize, t he higher education system and its weaknesses need to be considered.

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150 In Belize, higher education institutions exist in a policy vacuum and depend very heavily on government finances; therefore, as the t heory posits, higher education will respond to the government and become constrained by the governmentÂ’s directives. The government provides these resources and retains the right to give directives and expect compliance. One MOE official confirmed this sentime nt by saying that: if I am the one paying you, then you donÂ’t have the right to go out there and do as you please. There has to be some level of respon sibility that comes with that autonomy because I can still decide if I will give you that money. (face-to-face interview, March 15, 2007 But the theory also posits that organizations have the potential to manage these external dependencies through such features such as the interdependencies of organizations and the ability to generate alternati ve sources of income. For example, higher education institutions depend on the governm ent for funding, but government also depends on these institutions to provide education to its citizens. One higher education administrator noted that because of a lack of a coo rdinated higher education system and a lack of strong institutional leadership higher educ ation does not realize its strength and potential. (face-to-face interview, March 6, 2007) In addition, institutions can rely on alternative sources of funding to lessen their depe ndencies on government and deflect its control. Again, the higher education context and th e instability of the Belizean economy adversely affect institutionsÂ’ abilities to rely on alternative sources of funding. Even while most administrators and MOE officials intervi ewed for this study agreed that institutions rely too much on government for fundin g, they also admit that relying solely on tuition and fees is just not realistic without a ffecting access and quality. Reliance on

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151 government funding and the subsequent controls, whe ther overt or covert, is a reality of the Belizean higher education system. Even so, some institutions are more susceptible to the controls of the government than others. For exa mple, some larger and older junior colleges are able to manage their dependencies on g overnment much better than smaller, newer junior colleges. As one higher education admi nistrator said, “we have a vibrant finance committee made up of experts who are able t o guide the institution in creating buffers to lessen the effects” (face-to-face interv iew, March 6, 2007). Others use their managing authorities and church influences to avert some governmental control, but ultimately all are subject to the policies of both the government and the Ministry of Education. Institutional isomorphism and Curricula in Higher E ducation in Belize Institutional isomorphism provides organizations wi th legitimacy and promotes survival since organizational elements of formal st ructure have been legitimated externally, meaning that organizations do not need to provide evidence of efficiency or use internal assessments to define the value of the se elements. Powell and DiMaggio (1983) identify three mechanisms through which inst itutional isomorphism occurs: (1) coercive isomorphism (2) mimetic isomorphism and (3 ) normative isomorphism. Curricula in higher education in Belize have become highly isomorphic. First, the adoption and implementation of CAPE through a gover nment directive means that all junior colleges are offering very similar programs that fall under the CAPE umbrella. Second, institutions which are perceived to be more legitimate and credible, for example, St. John’s College Junior College (the first junior college in Belize), has been used by almost all other institutions, including the Univer sity of Belize, as a model for curriculum

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152 development. Less prestigious institutions “mimic” St. Johns Junior College curriculum and management practices in order to gain some reco gnition and legitimacy with the MOE and the communities that they serve. Third, bec ause of the few higher education institutions in Belize, there is a frequent and sus tained movement of academic faculty from one institution to the next. For example, one institution has employed four faculty members from another junior college. Faculty moving from one institution often tend to carry with them their academic experiences and teac hing preferences to their new institutions. In the case of the four new faculty m embers, they were hired because they are proficient in CAPE related courses. As one high er education administrator pointed out, “we started offering CAPE because one faculty member who had just moved here was knowledgeable about CAPE” (face-to-face intervi ew, February 27, 2007). The isomorphic nature of the curricula in Belize h igher education and the pressures that force this isomorphism can ultimatel y be linked to the lack of autonomy in higher education. Because government controls the f inances that institutions need, it can “coerce” institutions to adopt the changes in curri cula it desires. A good example is the imposition of CAPE on the junior colleges. With the adoption and implementation of CAPE, most institutions are offering very similar a cademic programs so that many higher education administrators complained about the dupli cation of programs. Because institutions do not have the resources necessary to adapt and make innovative changes, their changes are limited to what others in the org anizational field are doing; hence there is a lot of concurrence in curricular changes among institutions. The lack of a coherent framework to guide the development of higher educat ion leaves institutions to second guess the direction they should take to contribute meaningfully to national development.

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153 As one higher education administrator mentioned, “w e make changes to improve but we are never sure these are the changes that are neede d to develop higher education” (faceto-face interview, March 6, 2007). Uncertain about their own direction and development, and legitimacy, institutions mimic curricula and ad opt policies of other more credible institutions to gain legitimacy. Summary of Findings The chapter presented the results of the data analy ses of interviews and documents. Interviews were conducted with 10 higher education administrators and two Ministry of Education officials. Document reviews w ere done using several different public and institutional documents. Findings of this study show that the governance sys tem of higher education in Belize can be described as state control in key are as such as financing and in some aspects of curricula. The control that the Ministry of Education holds over higher education comes from the fact that institutions dep end very heavily on financing from the Ministry of Education; thus, institutions accept th e dictates of the MOE with little or no resistance. The changes in higher education have co me about from pressures by the government. This situation affects higher education ’s capacities to be innovative. The relationship between higher education and the MOE a nd Government of Belize can be described as one in which MOE develops policies wit h little input from higher education; consequently, higher education institutions often v iew these policies with some mistrust. There is also a lack of expertise in the MOE to gui de the development of higher education. This vacuum seriously affects the manner in which decisions are made and policies developed for higher education. In several instances, policies were developed

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154 and imposed on higher education, which had little c hoice but to adopt them because it depends very heavily on government funding. The lac k of a coherent framework to guide the development of higher education creates a situa tion in which institutions exist from day to day without any clear plan for their own dev elopment and that of the higher education system. The involvement of politicians in higher education also affects institutional innovation. The inadequacy of financing for both the junior col leges and UB affects their abilities to plan ahead, and their capacities to co ntribute to the development of Belize. The lack of an effective and transparent funding me chanism affects institutional longterm planning, opportunities for research and profe ssional development, and infrastructural development. Most administrators we re not satisfied with the manner in which institutions are funded nor were they satisfi ed with the manner in which disbursements to institutions are made. Most administrators agreed that it is indeed diffic ult to develop curricula that are related to national development because there is no plan to guide curricular decisions. Because there is no such plan, MOE officials feel t hat they need to direct curricular offerings at both junior colleges and UB, thus limi ting higher educationÂ’s capacities to be innovative in curriculum development. The adoption and implementation of CAPE has raised questions about the specialization of the cu rriculum at the cost of general education, a criticism often made about curriculum in developing countries (Task Force on Higher Education and Society, 2000). Also, there are doubts about the relevance of CAPE to national development.

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155 In Belize, the market plays a role in both financi al and curricular decision-making in higher education but not to the extent it does i n developed countries. In fact, as some administrators believed, there has to be policies t o lessen the effects of the market on weak and small institutions. Competition for studen ts, qualified faculty, and resources can seriously affect the development of smaller, le ss prestigious institutions. Regional market forces such as the Caribbean Single Market E conomy have major implications for higher education and these implications have to be addressed. Discussions of these implications lead to suggestions for rationalizatio n of academic programs to improve efficiency and maximize resources, the need for qua lity control mechanisms to enhance the quality of education, and for more collaboratio ns and cooperation among institutions in Belize and abroad.

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156 Chapter Five : Summary of Findings, Conclusions, and Implications for Theory, Practice and Research The purpose of this case study was to understand go vernance of higher education in the developing country of Belize by examining th e existing governance structure and how this governance structure affects financial and curricular decision-making in higher education in Belize. Furthermore, this study examin ed the role of market forces on higher education in Belize and their impact on financial a nd curricular decision-making. For the purpose of this study, governance was defined as the relationship between a higher education system and its national governme nt, and the effects of this relationship on the actions and behaviors of higher education in stitutions, individually and collectively. In other words, the study examined th e relationship between the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Educat ion and politicians and the higher education system. Emergent Themes Using qualitative data analyses techniques, this s tudy explored four research questions presented below, each with a summary of t he relevant findings. The lack of expertise in the Ministry of Education affects the development of higher education policies the higher education syst em. Also, the lack of a conception of higher education as a system that is distinct from the other levels, affects the manner in which higher education is funded and policies are d eveloped. Although the Ministry of Education through the Tertiary and Post Secondary S ervices Unit is responsible for the

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157 supervision and development of the higher education system, this study revealed that there is a lack of expertise in this “Unit.” The la ck of expertise means that there is no one who can advise the Ministry of Education in respect to the direction or development of higher education. Also, other agencies such as ATLI B have to take on the leadership role despite their lack of authority to do so. In additi on, policies are often implemented without adequate consultation with higher education Politics plays a major role in higher education in the establishment of and financial assistance to institutions and the appoin tment of senior administrative officials at the University of Belize. This study highlighted the controversial clauses in the UB Act which allow the Prime Minister of Belize to appoint the president of UB and the Minister of Education to give directives to the Board of Tru stees at UB. Additionally, the clauses in the National Accreditation Act which also gives the Minister of Education the final control of the Council are deemed as major weakness es in the movement toward accreditation in a transparent and fair manner. There is a lack of both institutional autonomy and institutional accountability in the higher education system. Most administrators an d Ministry of Education officials concurred that institutions are not accountable to the government, but some administrators believe that higher education has li ttle incentive to become accountable and also has little apparent autonomy that is subst antially limited by financing and financial policies and by seemly impulsive acts of politicians and governmental decisions in the regional context.

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158 There is a lack of an effective and transparent fu nding formula to support the University of Belize and the junior colleges. While the junior colleges receive only salary grants, UB receives a yearly subvention for capital and recurring expenditures. This study revealed, however, that administrators at both leve ls believe that the funding is often arbitrarily set by Ministry of Education officials, so that institutions often receive funding based on the previous year’s budget. In addition, t he lack of a funding formula to include capital projects stifles the infrastructure develop ment of the junior colleges and affects the quality of education. Furthermore, there is a l ack of a formal system to communicate to the junior colleges the funding level that has b een approved for each. This creates a situation in which institutions are forced to take the “risk,” from year to year, of employing new faculty even though they do not know whether the positions will be partially subsidized by the government. In respect to UB, its funding has practically remained constant except in 2005 when it was increa sed by half a million dollars and in the 2007-2008 academic year when it will be increas ed by one million dollars. While the increases were welcome, the rationale for the timin g and amount remained unclear to institution’s administrators. There is a lack of a national development plan to a ssist institutions in identifying academic programs that meet national development ne eds. Many of the participants in the study agreed that higher education should promote n ational development but could not agree on what are the priority academic needs. As a result, academic programs are often identified based on market needs, perceived communi ty needs, and social and religious needs, depending on the religious affiliation of th e institutions. The consequence of the lack of a national development plan to guide higher education curricula is that Ministry of

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159 Education officials are not satisfied with the mann er in which curricular decisions are made at the institutions and find it necessary to i mpose curricular policies on institutions, such as the imposition of the CAPE curricula. The adoption and implementation of the CAPE at the junior colleges after the Ministry of Education directed junior colleges to r evise their curricula to include CAPE is a good example of how the system of governance in B elize affects curricular decisionmaking in higher education. Offering CAPE meant tha t institutions had to make some revisions to their existing curricula, which in som e cases, have meant eliminating certain academic programs or courses. Most administrators agree that the market plays or should play a role in guiding higher education in Belize but several pointed out the need for policies and measures to be put in place as well. Also, participants noted t hat while competition among institutions is unavoidable because of the small size of the hig her education system, collaboration is even more crucial. Regional forces have also affected higher education The Caribbean Single Market and Economy initiative has created a need fo r countries to develop accrediting agencies to accredit local as well as regional educ ational institutions. For Belizean academic institutions this means that they must beg in to put in place institutional quality assurance mechanisms to meet the requirements for l ocal and regional accreditation. It also means that Belizean institutions will need to maximize limited resources to become more effective and efficient. For example, recent d iscussions have highlighted the possibility of establishing centers of excellence.

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160 Conclusions The study of governance of higher education has be en well researched in developed countries such as the United States. Howe ver, studies on governance of higher education in developing countries are limited. In t hose instances where studies have been conducted, they have tended to examine governance o f higher education in general, rather than specifically in one country. In a few instance s, studies have been conducted on regions, for example, the African region. Before th is study, the system of governance of higher education and its effects on financial and c urricular decision-making in higher education in Belize had not been studied. Governance of Higher Education in Belize A larger study on higher education in developing c ountries (Task Force for Higher Education and Society [TFHES], 2000) indicat ed that good governance is perhaps the key issue for achieving quality in higher educa tion in developing countries. This study found that the governance structure, which is defined in this study as the relationship between the government of Belize (via the Ministry of Education) and the higher education system, is more of a state control than a state supervisory, using the Neave and van Vught (1994) model of governance. The absence of a “buffer entity” in the form of a council of higher education creates a situation in which higher education institutions interact directly with the Ministry of Education, politicians and government officials in Belize. A study by the TFHES (2000) notes “…the direct invo lvement of politicians has generally politicized higher education widening the possibilities for corruption, nepotism, and political opportunism” (p.53). This situation e xists in higher education in Belize

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161 where the establishment of and financial assistance to colleges, and more recently, curricular changes, often fall to the discretion of politicians. In the establishment of institutions, the Ministry of Education [MOE] often does not have any input in the schools that are opened even though there is a form al request that has to be filed with the MOE. When the decision comes from a politician, the re is little the ministry will do to reject that request. The lack of standards to evalu ate the preparedness of an institution to offer highquality programs may allow substandard institutions to open. Because these institutions are recognized by the MOE, they must a lso receive the appropriate funding. In addition, quite often politicians will lobby for financial support for institutional infrastructure in their own constituencies, often t o the detriment of other, perhaps needier, institutions. The consequence of this practice is t hat there is no equitable distribution of finances for infrastructure development, so there a re still junior colleges that rely on existing high school infrastructure. The lack of higher education expertise at the MOE c reates a situation in which decisions are often made without any research and/o r the involvement of professionals in the field of higher education. For example, in deve loping the National Accreditation Council Act, an inter-ministerial committee develop ed the Act based on their limited knowledge of accreditation. Since there is a lack o f expertise in higher education, decisions are often made that exclude or severely m arginalize the higher education sector. In 2004, the MOE held a National Education Summit t o develop a strategic plan for education in Belize. There was no provision in that summit for the discussion of higher education. The then Director of Projects at the MO E argued to include tertiary education in the discussion and was allowed to prepare a poli cy paper addressing the development

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162 of higher education. The 2005 Action Plan of the MO E shows that the drafting of and ratification of policies for higher education was t o be completed by August 2005. The National Accreditation Council was to have been est ablished by April 2006. Neither has been completed thus far. It must be noted, however, that the development of a higher education policy and a higher education act are cur rently in progress. However, if these are not completed before 2008, there is a risk that they may not come to fruition or the process and content may significantly be altered de pending on the philosophy of higher education of the new government. As one higher educ ation administrator commented, “we will have to wait and see since 2008 is an elec tion year and we don’t know if there were to be a change in government will there be con tinuity or will they scrap all of that and start fresh” (face-to-face interview, February 20, 2007). Furthermore, communication between the MOE and ATL IB is affected by the lack of a specific individual to liaise with ATLIB, so that decisions are often made without adequate consultations with ATLIB. In fact, several administrators pointed out that the Ministry’s representative to ATLIB also ha s several other duties to perform in the other sectors of education and has limited time to really interact with ATLIB and COBEC. Also, key individuals in the MOE are not alw ays current with ATLIB’s plans and activities and often express doubts about the q uality of education at the tertiary level. These doubts often arise from the perceptions that higher education institutions and administrators are not doing enough to enhance the quality of education or be accountable for public monies. Ministry officials, therefore, often feel the need to set the direction, even if they lack the expertise. The res ult of this sometimes mutual distrust between MOE and higher education institutions becom es a self-fulfilling prophesy in

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163 which MOE officials do not trust higher education i nstitutions to fulfill the mandate of offering quality education, therefore, they do not feel justified in allotting more finances to institutions. The inadequate funding in turn hin ders the development of the institutions and further prohibits them from improving their sta ndard and quality of education. It is interesting that most of the higher education administrators were insistent that the government does not control their institutions. In response to a question posed on the balance of institutional autonomy and institutional accountability, almost all administrators and ministry officials interviewed f or this study said that the scale is tipping on the side of institutional autonomy and n ot institutional accountability. It is obvious that the ministry does not have the structu res in place, for example, to evaluate the academic and financial robustness of institutio ns. Institutions, therefore, perceive themselves to be autonomous as a result. But, the g overnment through its control of the financial resources does control higher education i n Belize. The absence of a higher education policy or a high er education Act allows the government to make arbitrary policies which affect higher education in Belize. In the absence of such policy, it is difficult to increase access either through a financial aid system or the offering of developmental education f or students who are deficient in areas such as Math and English. Perhaps it is paradoxical that the very structures that are missing from higher education in Belize, and which some administrators believe allow them to “do things their own way,” are the very one s which control institutional growth and development. Tilak (2003) suggests that in the absence of higher education policy, either “adhocism” or chaos is created by those acto rs in higher education. Cal (2006) observes that:

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164 it is not surprising that in the absence of clear, coherent, long term vision, mission and goals and structures articulated for the tertia ry level sector, macro-policy decisions with concomitant institutional arrangemen ts are subject to reversal depending on the views of the political directorate in Belmopan (p. 26). Richardson and Fielden (1997) also suggest that: those countries where systems are less sophisticate d seem to attach greater importance to government choosing the key figures i n positions of power and exercising control through their representatives ha ving a more hands-on involvement in university governance. (p. 10) Barrow (2001) also suggests the need for a higher e ducation policy framework that would guide the development of academic programs to meet national needs and establish a funding mechanism. He notes that the government of Belize should play a supervisory role in higher education rather than a controlling one. Funding of Higher Education The lack of an effective and transparent funding fo rmula and the inadequacy of the current funding for higher education in Belize have at least four immediate and serious implications: (a) infrastructure developmen t is severely affected since there is no provision for capital projects, (b) long-term plann ing is seriously impaired, (c) higher educationÂ’s capacity to adapt and innova te is severely limited, and (d) research opportunities and professional development for facu lty are limited. The Task Force on Higher Education and Society (2000) notes that fina ncial dependence on the state means that funding remains unstable, subject to the fluct uating of government resources. The result of this is that institutional ability to be innovative and execute research is stifled.

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165 Since there is no formal structure in place to prov ide funding for capital projects, especially at the junior college level, institution s often have to use alternative sources of revenues such as fund-raising and tuition increases In situations in which institutions rely heavily on fund-raising, valuable time is spent pla nning and implementing these activities. Fund-raising activities include food sa les, queen contests, raffles, and community fairs on the college grounds. These fundraising activities involve teachers, students, and parents and often require that classe s be suspended in order to accommodate the need for classroom space and the as sistance of teachers and students. The consequence of fund raising activities is that valuable class time is lost. In addition, these activities often pressure students to subsidi ze these drives, in some form or the other, thus, placing a further burden on their limi ted financial resources. Furthermore, these fund-raising activities rely greatly on the b usiness communities in the area, which in many cases already suffer from “fund-raising fat igue,” since there are only so many businesses that can be called upon to contribute. Raising tuition and other fees to provide for capit al expenditures affects access, since students cannot pay their higher tuition fees and thus cannot enroll in college courses. Even though the government of Belize provi des free tuition to students in the second year of college, the students must first be able to pay their first year tuition to get to the point at which they can enjoy the free tuiti on policy. The current free tuition for the second year does not increase access for students w ho cannot first pay the first year of college tuition and fees. Unless a financial aid pr ogram is developed to address the initial access to higher education, access to higher educat ion remains an elusive dream for many students. Thus, even though more and more students are graduating from the secondary

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166 schools each year, the percentage of student enroll ment at the tertiary level remains almost constant. The lack of funding for infrastructure also affects institutionsÂ’ abilities to diversify their curricular offerings since there is insufficient classroom space, inadequate library holdings, and laboratory facilities and equ ipment. Thus, curricular offerings at the junior colleges and UB often remain consistent and there are only negligible changes to report over a five year time span. Consequently, ea ch year students graduate from college with degrees in the same major areas and compete fo r the available positions in these fields. Furthermore, several institutions have had to place a cap on their enrollment because they simply lack the physical space to acce pt more students. This further compromises access. The inadequacy of crucial library, laboratory, and technology resources has major implications for institutions as they prepare for n ational and regional accreditation. Most institutions have their own library facilities, but in many cases, these would not meet accreditation criteria simply because the librarian s are not credentialed and the holdings are inadequate for college level coursework. The current funding of higher education also affec ts the institutionsÂ’ capacities to do long-term planning. Whereas some institutions ha ve embarked on developing strategic plans, the inadequacy of funding, the sometimes unt imely disbursement of funds, and the lack of communication between higher education and the Ministry of Education seriously affect the implementation of these plans. Instituti ons exist from academic year to academic year with little or no vision for institut ional growth and development. The net

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167 effect is that the development of the system is sty mied and does not have its optimal impact on national development. The inadequate resources available for higher educa tion affect higher education’s capacity to adapt and innovate. The changes, theref ore, that institutions make are more likely to fall into the range of those changes that the government wants. This happens because the mechanisms operating in the higher educ ation environment are those that force institutions to do what is “expected” by eith er the demands of the external environment (resource dependency) or the establishe d institutionalism of the Belize higher education system (institutional isomorphism) The lack of funding also limits opportunities for p rofessional development for faculty especially at the junior colleges. UB provi des some opportunities for faculty professional development through their Study Leave Program, in which faculty are given between one and three years to pursue further studi es abroad while receiving a portion of their salaries. Most of the junior colleges do not have a Study Leave program in place, so faculty members must pursue professional developmen t opportunities through other avenues. The effect of this lack of opportunity cre ates a situation in which many instructors have degrees only one level higher than the level at which they teach. Additionally, many have Master’s degrees, but in ma ny instances, not in the subject areas they teach. Research at the University of Belize is also limited because of inadequate government resources to support research either for its intrinsic value or for national development needs.

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168 Curricula and National Development One of the major challenges in higher education in Belize is the disconnect between national development and curricula in highe r education. While MOE and government officials express dissatisfaction with c urricula in higher education, higher education administrators also express frustration w ith the lack of a national development plan. Because a national development plan does not exist, institutions rely on their perceptions of market needs to develop curricula. T his situation often means that curricula in higher education are meeting market ne eds but not national development needs. For example, there is a high demand in the m arket for business programs, but these business programs, as one government official noted, are not meeting national development needs. Additionally, while curricula ar e meeting market demands, they are limited to the traditional areas of business, scien ce, and information technology. Other academic areas that are beneficial to Belize such a s linguistics, cultural heritage, visual and performing arts, and public health are not offe red as options because they may not attract enough students to make the program viable. For example, UB is currently offering a program in Environmental Health with few er than 12 students. With such small enrollment, tuition from students is negligib le and the government of Belize is subsidizing the program. In many cases, scarce inst itutional financial resources discourage other institutions from offering these d ifferent programs. While Ministry of Education officials encourage institutions to offer academic programs that they deem necessary for BelizeÂ’s development, there are no fi nancial incentives to do so. For example, there is a shortage of Physics teachers at the secondary schools level, yet UB does not offer a baccalaureate degree in Physics Ed ucation because the program

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169 consistently had only a few applicants and was disc ontinued after a few years. The perception often, then, is that higher education is not meeting national needs, so MOE officials must direct curricular offerings at the i nstitutions. It can be argued that the greater the government control over curricular deci sions in higher education, the more difficult it is for institutions to be innovative. Market Forces and Higher Education The offering of the CAPE was a government decision as a signatory to CARICOM. The directive from the MOE to institutions to institutionalize CAPE was to satisfy one of the requirements of the Caribbean Si ngle Market Economy and to standardize tertiary education in Belize. However, the fact that institutions vary in the manner in which they implement CAPE undermines the goal of standardization. It must be noted that CAPE has not been officially recogniz ed by US institutions, therefore, students who have decided to pursue studies in the US and Latin America are not encouraged to sit for the CAPE exam or follow its c urriculum. The adoption and implementation of CAPE has affecte d the depth and breadth of curricula at the junior college in that, while ther e are more subjects to take at the exam level, not all the courses have the depth that is n ecessary for the transfer of credits to the University of Belize and other four-year institutio ns. Also, general education courses which are important to the personal growth and deve lopment of the individual may be decreased, depending on the number of credit hours that the respective CAPE model requires. According to the Task Force on Higher Edu cation and Society (2000), general education in developing countries is often the step child of specialized education, a weakness that higher education in developing countr ies urgently needs to address.

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170 While most institutions have now integrated CAPE in their curriculum, nationwide consultations conducted prior to the Nat ional Higher Education Conference in 2006, suggested that many educators at different le vels of the education system doubt the relevance of CAPE to the developmental needs of Bel ize. In the absence of a national development plan by which national needs can be det ermined, there is little evidence to support the view that CAPE curricula are meeting na tional needs; instead it seems that CAPE is merely satisfying the need to adhere to a r egional initiative. The fact that UB does not have any policy to accept transfer of cred its earned in CAPE courses indicates that the policy directive to institutionalize CAPE at the junior colleges was not well devised or implemented. Consequently, junior colleg e administrators are now clamoring for the Ministry of Education to restructure UB’s c urriculum to allow for the transfer of credits earned in the CAPE programs. However, in t he absence of a clear policy on transfer and articulation between junior colleges a nd UB, there is no guarantee that credits earned in CAPE programs will be transferabl e to UB. The adoption and implementation of CAPE in Belizean junior colleges became necessary after the government of Belize became a s ignatory to the Caribbean Single Market Economy, which in itself, was a regional res ponse designed to mitigate the effects of globalization on small, developing nations. Thus it can be concluded that higher education in Belize, although a national enterprise is not immune from the pressures of ‘market forces’. These market pressures occur in th e form of competition among institutions for students, prestige, most qualified faculty, and limited resources; and external forces such as regional initiatives like t he CSME and its conditions and requirements. To overcome these pressures, higher e ducation in Belize must be allowed

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171 full institutional autonomy over its core functions of finance and curricula and must be held accountable not only for the public subsidy bu t also in its duty to provide quality education to students. While competition is inevitable in higher education junior colleges in Belize need to collaborate more in order to assist weaker insti tutions with fewer resources to rise to a level at which competition for students becomes mor e just. In this manner, educational opportunities for all students become equitable and degrees earned from any junior college are recognized equally. Junior colleges and UB, as well, need to collaborate more so that the junior colleges can benefit from UB res ources. Similarly, academic departments at both the junior colleges and UB must work closer together so that those programs that have small enrollments, but are of hi gh priority needs, can be offered. Additionally, government must mitigate the forces o f the market by providing financial and other incentives for low enrollment, high prior ity areas. Because higher education in Belize remains a very s mall sector with a small enrollment, the government must play a role in stee ring the direction of higher education. Leaving it unplanned and solely to market forces ca n severely impair both the public and private good of higher education. Leaving higher ed ucation to succumb to market forces to make up the shortfall between subsidy and operat ional costs creates a situation in which institutions may design curricula to meet mar ket needs at the expense of national development and human development needs. It will pr obably also further perpetuate inequalities in the system, since larger and more p restigious institutions are likely to generate more funding to enhance their capacities w hereas smaller and less prestigious institutions will be marginalized.

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172 The challenges facing higher education in Belize ar e diverse and extensive. The most significant challenge remains the inadequate f inances to suitably enhance the human resources, facilities, infrastructure, and curricul ar offerings of higher education in Belize. The government must make a serious commitment to di vert some of the revenues from other sources such as the oil industry to improve t he quality of education at the higher education level. Institutions must be more efficien t in allocating limited resources and more committed to instituting internal quality cont rols in order to enhance the learning opportunities of their students. As a system, highe r education needs to collaborate more, maximize limited human and financial resources, imp rove quality, eliminate inefficiencies, and use the market to generate inco me that will in turn be used to strengthen its core mission. The relationship between higher education and gover nment through the Ministry of Education needs to be improved by establishing a “buffer entity” such as a council of higher education which will interface between highe r education and the government. The council would manage higher education so that contr ol of higher education rests neither with institutions nor with the Ministry of Educatio n. The composition of the board, its duties and mandates, and its organizational autonom y are critical details since any undue influence on the board from either party will signi ficantly erode its function, credibility, and purpose. The Task Force on Higher Education and Society (2000) notes that these “bodies require clear mandates, well-established op erating procedures, and full autonomy from both government and academia” (p.53). The abse nce of a formal council of higher education puts higher education in Belize in a weak er negotiating position since government often perceives institutions to be conce rned primarily about their own

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173 survival and vested interests. Conversely, higher e ducation often views government and the Ministry of Education with distrust. A council of higher education would mediate between higher education and the Ministry of Educat ion to lessen the mistrust, thus strengthening the relationship between the two enti ties. In addition, a council would ensure some measure of autonomy for higher educatio n while holding them accountable. It would also represent the interests of the countr y and ensure that higher education contributes meaningfully to the economic and social development of the country. Implications for Theory and Further Research Studies on higher education in developing countrie s (Hall and Symes, 2005; Kirby-Harris, 2003; Neave and van Vught, 1994) esta blish the fundamental role of governments in higher education and advocate for go vernments to play more supervisory rather than controlling roles. These studies extol the values of enhancing the relationship between higher education and governments through th e establishment of “buffer entities” which interface between governments and higher educ ation. Bjarson (1998) studied buffer entities in four African countries and found that most of them shared common functions, compositions, and selection of members. In all cases, a majority of the members were government representatives. Since ther e is no “buffer entity” in higher education in Belize, this study could not determine the effects, but this author concludes that there is certainly a need for higher education to be managed by an entity other than the Ministry of Education, and the council should r eflect an even distribution of members from various stakeholder groups. Bjarson and Lund (1998) used case studies to examin e the relationship between higher education and governments in three African c ountries. They concluded that

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174 government interference in the internal affairs of the higher education system or individual institutions seriously affected the deve lopment of higher education. This study has also found that the strong, but often subtle, p olitical interference in the higher education system in Belize has affected the develop ment of this sector. Using Neave and van VughtÂ’s (1994) state control/st ate supervisory governance model, Richardson and Fielden conducted a study in Commonwealth countries to examine whether governments were exerting undue con trol over higher education in their respective countries. The study found that in the A frican countries there was a high tendency toward state control even though data from institutional leaders suggested differently. This study has also found that institu tional leaders do not readily admit that the government, through the Ministry of Education, controls higher education, but analysis of their responses and review of public do cuments paint a different picture of the relationship between higher education and the gover nment and Ministry of Education. Kirby-Harris (2003) examined the changes at the Uni versity of Namibia over an eight year period and concluded that the values of the government, articulated through subtle discourses and influences, dominated the uni versity and controlled the changes in the university during itÂ’s brief history. This stud y found that changes in curricular offerings, tuition policies, and infrastructural de velopment are controlled by the government through the Ministry of Education. The l everage that the government maintains over the higher education institutions in Belize is its control of the financial resources that these institutions need to survive a nd its ability to demand certain curricular changes. Kirby-Harris (2003) concluded that in the absence of a coherent framework, institutions are perceived to be autonom ous but with little framework to

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175 develop and establish their own identities. In thes e situations, institutions often pose little or no resistance to governmental values and control s (Kirby-Harris, 2003). This study has found that even though institutional leaders believ e that their institutions are autonomous, the reality is that the government through the Mini stry of Education does control higher education since decisions and initiatives at the na tional level do affect management processes at the institutional levels. Based on the findings of this study and the limited research on governance of higher education in developing countries and, in pa rticular, Belize, future research should not only examine system-wide governance but also in stitutional governance. Research should focus on how institutional governance affect s financial and curricular decisionmaking at the institutional level, and how institut ional governance affects system-wide governance of higher education in Belize. Future st udies should also examine the role of the institutional leadership and how it affects the governance of higher education. Implications for Practice The results of this study lead to several implicat ions for improved governance and management processes in the higher education system of Belize. First, the government of Belize should establish a council of higher educati on that would act as a buffer between the Ministry of Education and higher education. Thi s council would be comprised of higher education professionals who would be respons ible to oversee higher education. Some of the councilÂ’s responsibility would be to re view and approve academic programs based on set criteria; make recommendations to the Ministry of Education for the funding of institutions; set policies for transfer and arti culation along with higher education,

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176 and establish a management information system to ma nage institutional and system data, Second, the Government of Belize and Ministry of Ed ucation should establish an effective and transparent funding formula for both recurring and capital expenditures for both junior colleges and UB. They should also estab lish a transparent and efficient mechanism for the allocation and disbursement of fi nances to the junior colleges and UB. The development of a financial aid system to improv e access to higher education in critical if the enrolment rate in higher education is to be increased. Third, the Government of Belize and the Ministry of Education should deve lop a national development plan which identifies the areas of priorities for the co untry to guide curriculum development in higher education. They should also offer incentives for institutions to offer low enrollment/high priority fields of study and ensure that CAPE, other curricula, and general education courses are aligned with national and human development needs. Finally, the Government of Belize and the Ministry of Education should offer more financial support to weaker institutions which may not be able to vie for stronger students and more qualified faculty. They should mi tigate or respond to the effects of regional market forces by providing more financial resources for the improvement of faculty and administratorsÂ’ qualifications, and for institutional strengthening. They should also develop and enforce policies which gove rn the establishment of both local and foreign higher education institutions in Belize and the rationalization of academic programs.

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192 Appendices

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193 Appendix A Invitation to Participate in the Study Dear Administrator: I am in the process of collecting data for my disse rtation entitled: A Case Study of Governance of Higher Education in Bel ize: Implications for finance and curricula in higher education. I would like to requ est your permission to include your institution as part of my study and would like to i nvite you to participate in the study. This research must be in compliance with USF IRB gu idelines; therefore, I must maintain all confidentiality in respect to data I collect. Thank you for your assistance at this crucial stage of my dissertation. Respectfully, Olda Hoare Doctoral Student University of South Florida

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194 Appendix B Interview Guide for Administrators 1. Under the current system, the government of Beli ze provides a portion of the funding for HE institutions. Can you describe the process b y which this funding is provided by GOB? 2. What is your understanding of how this funding i s calculated? 3. How is this grant used at your institution? 4. How do you decide how to use governmentÂ’s subve ntion? 5. What other source/s of revenue do you rely on t o cover your budget? 6. Under the current system of governance in HE, wh at do you think are the effects of this system on financial decision-making at your in stitution? 7. What do you think are the effects of this system on strategic planning at your institution? 8. At your institution, how do you decide which aca demic programs to offer? discontinue? 9. How is your curriculum related to human developm ent needs? 10. How does your curriculum reflect the national n eeds of Belize? 11. What significant curriculum changes have you ma de in the last five years? What or who stimulated those changes? 12. How does the relationship between your institut ion and government affect curriculum development at your institution? 13. How does this relationship affect the curriculu m changes at your institution? 14. Do you believe that the market has a role to pl ay in higher education in Belize? If so, what is that role? 15. How do market factors affect financial decision -making at your institution? 16. How do market factors affect curriculum decisio n-making at your institution? 17. How does globalization affect the future of you r institution?

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195 Appendix B Continued 18. How does globalization affect the future of hig her education in Belize? 19. What is your vision for higher education in Bel ize?

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196 Appendix C Interview Guide for Ministry of Education Officials 1. Under the current system the government provides a portion of funding for HE. How this funding is decided upon at the ministr yÂ’s level? At the national level? 2. You mentioned in your address to COBEC that there i s a need for a fixed funding formula? What is the importance of having s uch a formula? 3. HE education depends on both government subsidies a nd tuition and fees from students. Does the ministry have set tuition p olicies for HE in general? 4. What is the role of HE in Belize? 5. Does Belize have a national development plan? Is th ere a clear alignment between HE curriculum and the national development plan of Belize? 6. How satisfied are you with curriculum development in HE? 7. The task force on higher education and society (200 0)wrote that higher education is plagued by massive increases in enroll ments, controversy over its status as a public or private good, extremely i nadequate funding, corruption, outdated curricula, and inadequate and rigid governance structures (Holm-Nielson, 2001; Task Force on Highe r Education and Society [TFHES], 2000). To what extent is this a fair asses sment of HE in Belize? 8. How would you characterize the ministryÂ’s relation ship with HE? 9. Is this relationship being examined to make it mor e effective? 10. What is the governmentÂ’s view of HE: is it a public good or a private good? 11. Is there a role for the market in HE in Belize? 12. How do market factors affect governmentsÂ’ financial decision-making in respect to higher education? 13. How does globalization affect the future of HE in B elize? 14. How is the ministry preparing for the effects of CS ME on HE in Belize? 15. How does the relationship between HE and the minist ry affect HEÂ’s ability to be innovative in dealing with the effects of the gl obalization?

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197 Appendix C Continued 16. Good governance is created when there is a balance between institutional autonomy and institutional accountability. Have we created that balance? 17. What is your vision for HE in Belize?

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198 Appendix D IRB Approval Letter

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199 Appendix E Informed Consent to Participate in Research

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200 Appendix E Continued

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201 Appendix E Continued

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About the Author Olda Ramona Zetina Hoare is currently the Dean of S acred Heart Junior College in San Ignacio, Belize. She holds a Master of Educa tion in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida and a Bachelor of E ducation in English Education from the University of Belize, Belize. Olda has been an educator for the last twenty years at the secondary and tertiary levels. In 1999, Olda was ap pointed as the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at Sacred Heart Junior College, a position she held until 2003 when she left to pursue doctoral studies at University of So uth Florida. In 2007 she was appointed Dean of Sacred Heart Junior College. Olda represents her institution at ATLIB and COBEC She is interested in conducting further research in the areas of governa nce, transfer and articulation, and finance. Olda is married to Ismael Hoare and has th ree children: Alyssa, Ismael, and Kieran Hoare.


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