Attaining high levels of sustainable growth, development
October 26, 2007

Attaining high levels of sustainable growth, development


Independence message 2007 by Hon. Girlyn Miguel, Minister of Education

I am indeed delighted to greet you on the occasion of the 28th Anniversary of Political Independence of our blessed land. Twenty-eight (28) years is indeed a very long time!! As a nation, we have certainly made a quantum leap along the path towards development. Our economic performance continues to be relatively good, with satisfactory growth, low inflation and improved balance of payments. {{more}}

I, therefore, urge you to use this occasion to reflect on our achievements as a nation in the field of Education. May I remind you that the Government of this country is concentrating its efforts on attaining high levels of sustainable growth and development, while at the same time reducing levels of poverty, increasing employment and raising social consciousness.

In this regard, therefore, every effort is being made to vigorously improve access, relevance, quality and efficiency at all levels of the Education system, in order to build human capital and raise the educational attainment of the population.

And so, we are seeking to urgently reform the pre-primary sub-sector by improving access, upgrading facilities, facilitating the development of the human resources, and reviewing and renewing the curricula in order to construct a more solid foundation for the children of this nation. In addition, our primary and secondary school students continue to be exposed to a modern range of instructional resources.

We are also concentrating our energies on the training of our teachers at the primary and secondary levels in order to improve their ability to deliver instruction. This is indeed so very necessary at this juncture of our development in light of our determination to provide the children of our fair isle with solid and meaningful learning opportunities. This is, therefore, the best time to be a teacher!!!

In addition, in order to also meet the demand for the desired high quality at the primary and secondary levels, we have designed the new National Curriculum and Assessment Framework that is based on an inter-related spiral of learning outcomes that progressively meet the developmental needs of all students, including those with special needs, as they move from grade to grade. Every child has the ability to achieve when provided with an appropriate, transparent plan for learning, a supportive environment and the basic tools. All students are, therefore, expected to gradually take responsibility for their own learning as they work independently and co-operatively with others.

Although much has been accomplished in Education during the last six (6) years, there is more work still to be done in our onward march towards the overall development of our blessed isle. Our students need, therefore, to immerse themselves in the waters of hard work, with improved focus and dedication to their studies. Our teachers must of necessity make a concerted effort to improve the quality of instruction that they deliver on a daily basis, ever mindful of the fact that it is through caring instruction and firm discipline as well as through the pursuit of the new and emerging trends that they would ever be able to raise the level of achievement of each student. Principals, too, must also revisit and renew their leadership styles and seek constantly to develop their particular schools, thereby creating environments of excellence.

I am aware that ill-discipline is raising its ugly head throughout the school system, and this is of immense concern to me as Minister of Education. We must, therefore, each play our part in order to guide our students along the path of good behaviour. In this regard, I urge parents, principals, teachers and the entire broader society to demonstrate enormous respect for the rule of law, embrace a zero tolerance approach to ill-discipline and become models of excellent behaviour at all times so that our students can emulate the established principles of good conduct. We must all practice what we preach!!!

And so, as we commemorate our 28th Anniversary of nationhood, let us all keep uppermost in our thoughts that our principal task in Education is to increase and strengthen our capacities. Let us not only strive to strengthen our abilities to transmit and receive knowledge and information, but also to understand and appreciate the need to go beyond that and use the knowledge and apply it to the many problems which we face.

I urge you all, therefore, to set very high standards. These are not the times for mediocrity. The attainment of excellence must be uppermost in your thoughts. And you must be prepared at all times to do more in less time, to manage time and other resources wisely. Let us, therefore, make every effort to surmount the challenges by finding creative ways to conquer them.

Hon. Minister of Education St Vincent and the Grenadines October 2007