January 7, 2011
Make the best of your school years


Message by Girlyn Miguel, Minister of Education
To mark the beginning of the new school term
Monday, January 3, 2011

Educators, parents, students, we are now at the verge of not just a new calendar year, but also at the beginning of a new school term, and it is an honour and a privilege for me to once again to serve as your Minister of Education. However, the term is beginning with sadness for students and teachers at the CW Prescod Primary School. We at the Ministry of Education are greatly saddened by the loss of yet another of our students. Heartfelt prayers and condolences are extended to the grandmother, parents, siblings, classmates, teachers and friends of twelve (12) year old Joeford Garraway who (it has been reported) drowned after being swept away in powerful currents at the Brighton Salt Pond Beach on Sunday, 26th December.{{more}}

I wish to reassure the teachers and students that counselors will be on hand on January 3rd to help them cope and manage the grief as we are aware that many students will have trouble dealing with the death of a classmate. I also wish at this juncture to appeal to our teachers, parents and other responsible adults to continue to stress the importance of safety measures and the value of preserving human life, even while out having fun on picnics. Perhaps it is an opportune time for us as a people to begin to think seriously of swimming lessons for our children and the placing of life guards at our beach/picnic sites. We trust that almighty God will give us all strength to cope in this period of bereavement. May those who have known and loved Joeford always cherish his memory.

Teachers, students, this school term will encompass a number of new initiatives, one of which is the “one laptop per student project”. In anticipation of the laptop initiative, I encourage our students to pursue technological competencies, explore the internet as a useful source of information for your homework and class assignments and projects. Use it safely and effectively to support your learning, your major objective should be to upgrade learning on a lifelong basis and to make use of all the devices available to you to do so.

These are exciting times in education as we at the Ministry of Education are striving to provide our students with a holistic education. With the philosophy of this Government that, No child be left behind” there are good opportunities now in the areas of Technology, Sports, Technical/Vocational subjects are exposed to a wide range of experiences, so they can make the most of their school years, and develop the skills and attitudes that will prepare them for the world of work or for further studies.

The second term has traditionally been viewed as a crucial one, when much new knowledge and skills are usually presented and acquired. Therefore, as Minister of Education, I think it is imperative, at this time to address all students, parents and those who are facilitators of leaning for our students, as we approach the New Year and the scholastic term.

Students, every effort is being made by the Ministry of Education to present you the opportunity, the gateway to access the necessary skills and knowledge you need to empower yourselves and help you realize your dreams. The choice is yours to make the most of this opportunity by ensuring you make a commitment to your studies. I enjoin you to stay focused and recognize this as a period of your life to dedicate yourselves to serious and consistent school work. You do have a responsibility to be motivated to learn, to be aware of how best you learn and to make effort to work collaboratively with others and to translate your learning into creativity and productivity.

St.Vincent and the Grenadines continues to depend on the educators and facilitators of learning for the education of our children at each stage, pre-primary, primary, secondary and post secondary levels. We at the Ministry of Education commend the dedicated efforts of those who would have given meaningful service. We implore you to consolidate on the gains made in education. We are however, cognizant of the fact that there are others who need to be more conscientious In their delivery of their duties and urge you to challenge yourselves to make the necessary change. We are unfortunately NOT receiving the desired outcomes, given the level of investment the Government has been making in education. Therefore, it is important that you as teachers do exhibit high levels of decorum, fairness, punctuality, regularity, accountability, honesty and patience.

Parents and Guardians, you are also integral to the education process. Part of your responsibility is to ensure that the children attend school regularly and punctually. Children need boundaries, guidance and support. Discipline, teaching and training must be part of your duty as mentors and custodians.

If we are to truly fulfill the principles of the Education Revolution, we must as stakeholders in education work collaboratively to ensure that our children have the necessary skills, knowledge-base, values, resources and guidance in order to maximize their potential. We must improve education, raise the levels of literacy, and numeracy as education is the vehicle out of poverty, the vehicle for national, social and economic development. Our children are the beneficiaries of our collective efforts.

As Minister of Education, I take pleasure in wishing all students and educators a productive school term and calendar year.