September 9, 2005

Only good can lie ahead

There had been much hype all throughout this year about the march toward the attainment of Universal Secondary Education and Monday marked the beginning of that new reality,

quietly and without fanfare. Monday saw 3,656 children proudly don their new uniforms as they entered this new phase of their scholastic life. {{more}}

Among those are many who would be stepping with a new sense of pride. Just one year ago, they may have been considered failures for not having been good enough in that Common Entrance Exam and been made to either repeat primary school or worse, face the prospect of becoming a dropout. A most scary thought for any child or their parents to contemplate. Now, thankfully, that has become a thing of the past.

Suddenly too, the horizon ahead shows a brighter light for these children. And it does not matter which of the schools they may have been placed in. With hard work and perseverance, success is within reach. Ahead, a brighter future beckons for these children of working people.

The route toward the achievement of Universal Secondary Education was one that required courage and decisiveness. The United Nations Millennium Goals specified the attainment of Universal Primary Education for developing or rather underdeveloped countries of the world. Here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines we took the bolder step of going further toward Secondary Education.

In the march toward this, the staff of the Ministry of Education must be commended for believing in the dream set out by an ambitious and visionary political leadership. Together, this hard work has paid off and whatever imperfections may dog the process along the way, we as a people have the capacity to work toward improving on them. Certainly the possibility exists that errors may be made, but they too are part of the learning process toward continued progress. There have been teachers who gave of their time to assist with remedial classes for children during their vacation. This effort is nothing short of revolutionary. They all deserve our praise.

The naysayers must now stand aside and let this process advance even if they are unwilling to support it. It is for the good of our nation, for the future of our children, for creating a better tomorrow.

Today we salute the march into Universal Secondary Education; we salute our children as they move forward toward a new day.

Only good can lie ahead.