Full Disclosure
November 11, 2005
A Forward Look on Education

Popular Education in the West Indies must at all times be considered as an instrument of social change. In the early developmental stages of our society, the education system in the main could be appropriately described as being both a function of religion and at best an instrument which propagated subservience with mere fanciful ambitions of creating a functional civilization.

Nonetheless, the passing of over 150 years since the inception of a formal Colonial type education brings me to today. In assessing the gains which we have been able to secure in most recent times by major current developments in the education system, the litmus test is still, whether those in authority have been able to mould an education system which can properly foster an advancement of our people. {{more}}

It appears that even those at “Club Pessimistic” would agree that there has been something rather “dramatic” taking place in our education system in recent times. The use of terms such as “dramatic” in place of the synonym – “revolutionary” is purely an engagement in semantics, since humorously “A rose by another name smells just as sweet”.

The efforts shown in developing an education package for St. Vincent and the Grenadines which is both relevant in substance and practicality, with the capability of addressing the needs of a modern democratic state must at all times take prominence in any prudent administrative system.

It appears well settled that our nation has finally attained levels of great success in its visionary approach to education which has been characterized by sound strategic planning. Having resided in the neighboring island of Barbados for sometime and paying keen interest to their education system certain comparisons were apparent.

At Cave Hill Campus one is able to fully appreciate the quality of scholars produced by varying islands in the region inclusive of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. There is no doubt today that Vincentian students are now better placed comparatively, to successfully compete academically with any student from any island in the region. This is by extension without any doubt an early harvesting of the rewards earned as a result of major capital injections into the modern education plan consistent with current government policy.

A New Day For All Teachers

It is within the context of this new education plan that the recent Collective Agreement between the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union and the Government is best placed.

Many of us either underestimate the efforts of our nation’s teachers or simply fail to take a moment to appreciate the daunting realities which are presented to classroom instructors on a daily basis. Teaching is a profession which was accorded the status of being a Ministry in itself by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. Teachers on many occasions are required to go way beyond the call of duty to ensure that the requisite knowledge to ensure that our society remains functional is imparted. Hence, such key agents in the administration process must at all times be counted as treasures of the most noble kind, since they are vitally important in ensuring that well intended policies of the Ministry of Education at one end are carefully transformed into classroom success at the other end.

The text of the recently signed Collective Agreement makes for interesting reading and each teacher should at least consider at minimum a cursory reading of its contents at the soonest possible date in order to fully appreciate the many issues which were addressed therein. Within the very comprehensive document are improvements relating to working conditions, general teachers’ welfare, job security, remuneration, matters relating to the issue of leave among many other benefits. These improvements for teachers is a clear acknowledgement of the importance of ensuring that the needs of teachers are well met if they are to function effectively in an attempt to effect positive changes in the education system.

We are living in an era where our nation is witnessing both the creation and use of a considerably revised version of an approach towards education. This new dispensation stands directly opposite to past half hearted attempts conducted with little vision. It is also contrary to a historical “massa” like approach which produced children as living evidence of the exploitation of our sisters under the guise of being “up-full”. Oh what a scar! However, History always finds these beautiful ways of correcting itself all in the name of renewed progress in the field of education.