September 6, 2011
Minister Miguel wishes students, teachers a productive school year

Tue, Sept 6. 2011

Message by the Minister of Education Hon. Girlyn Miguel,

on the opening of the new school year 2011/2012

As we begin this new school year together, let me welcome back to school all new and returning students, teachers, administrators and support staff. I hope that everyone has had an enjoyable summer vacation, and I now urge you to begin this academic year with an eagerness to work hard and to do your best.{{more}}

I would like to commend the efforts of all the cleaners, the staff at BRAGSA, officials at the Ministry of Education, teachers, Heads and other stakeholders who have worked assiduously ensure the smooth preparation for the opening of schools this year.

Hundreds of our children will be experiencing the formal classroom for the first time, a new process which will open a new world of endless possibilities for them. However, for many of them this is a time of great anxiety. I therefore urge our teachers and parents to do everything possible to minimize anxiety by helping them to feel safe and secure. All students are going to look to you the teachers for guidance and inspiration, so be sensitive and alert to their needs.

While the present Education Landscape is generally challenging for us, this school year holds promise and excitement for students, teachers and administrators as we continue our thrust on Integrating ICT into teaching and learning, School leadership, School Inspection and Supervision.

I am cognizant of the fact that we face challenges in literacy and numeracy, thus we must redouble our efforts to ensure all students reach the required targets and standards for their grade levels, since education is the vehicle for national, social and economic development.

In an effort to raise student achievement and ensure student safety we will, this year, move towards the establishment of subject panels, beginning with the core areas. It is the ministry’s intention to help teachers adopt a more focused approach to teaching and learning at all levels. This should, in turn, result in improved overall performance at the CSEC Level.

Additionally, we will concentrate our efforts on the formation of National PTA as a means of tackling many of the social ills which continue to plague our children and young people. The research supports our call for parents’ involvement, since it is identified as a key factor in creating effective schools. Further, the research shows that when parents are meaningfully involved in their children’s education, the children’s performance improves.

Teachers, parents, students and support staff, may I remind you that you are all important links in the education chain and each has a role to play.

Parents, part of your responsibility is monitoring your children’s activities and providing guidance. I enjoin you to dialogue with your children’s teachers, support what he/she is doing at school and help to create a caring, positive school climate for all children. Teachers cannot do it without your support. We can only achieve our objectives through collaboration and partnership among home, schools and community.

Teachers, each academic year presents an opportunity for you to enhance your professional knowledge and skills base and to refine your teaching approaches to match your students’ learning styles and varying interest levels. I am aware that today’s teachers are expected to help the most diverse student population and all hardworking teachers are to be commended. I further urge you to demonstrate a tremendous measure of caring and warmth, thereby creating classroom environments where an expectation of high achievements exists for all students.

Students, you too have a responsibility to take charge of your own learning and behaviors. Let me emphasize, that regardless of your background, no matter which school you attend, hard work is necessary and it brings great reward. Completing homework assignments and involvement in extracurricular activities are also important dimensions of your school life. Students, while you may experience some challenges at school, I urge you to use your strengths to rise above the challenges and to create a balance in your schooling.

Part of the responsibility of Principals, Teachers and Administrative Personnel at our educational institutions is the monitoring and care of furniture and equipment. Government has spent $2 million between the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 school year on new furniture. I am therefore calling on all students to respect and care for their own possessions and those of other people.

The leadership of the Ministry of Education reaffirms its position to execute the mandate of the Government, to raise the level of education in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We must transform schools and empower students. Education must therefore be the vehicle to realize this mobility.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all the corporate bodies that have embraced the idea of being active partners with our ministry in educating the nation’s children. The Ministry of Education is grateful for your many initiatives and your unwavering commitment to the development of our blessed land.

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