January 22, 2010
Enhancements coming for teachers

The teaching profession here will be enhanced to the point where it becomes one of the most attractive careers that can be pursued by Vincentians.{{more}}

This view was expressed by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on Tuesday, January 19, 2009, while giving a breakdown of the 2010 Estimates.

To achieve this task, Gonsalves stated that 19 per cent of the Recurrent Budget will go towards Education.

To facilitate tertiary education and training opportunities at this level, some EC$12.5 million has been provided for this purpose.

Gonsalves said this is the most that has ever been provided for tertiary education in this country.

He said some of the funds will be utilized to ensure that the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Integrated Community College moves in the direction where it will offer Associate Degrees, as well as University Degrees. Funds will also be provided to cater for additional allowances for staff under the ambit of the College, until a pay structure can be formalized.

Meanwhile, some teachers across the state who have pursued tertiary level studies are to reap the benefits of their investment this year.

Government in its quest to improve the quality of education at the primary level plans to appoint 65 graduate teachers under the Primary Programme.

During the presentation of the Estimates, Prime Minister Gonsalves disclosed that these appointments will add a further EC$2.6 million to the expenditure.

Fifty-nine of the new appointees will be assigned to schools with populations of 200 or more students.

The initiative is also designed to have another set of university graduates being added to schools with populations over 200 to assist with the management of those institutions.

Gonsalves said when his administration came to office, there were only four graduate teachers teaching in primary schools. He said today, there are over 300 trained university graduates in the primary teaching system.

He added of the 61 primary schools, 33 of them are headed by principals who are university graduates.

The prime minister also used the opportunity to disclose that funds have been allocated to start nine additional early childhood education centres this year. Nine centres are already in operation. They will each be headed by a graduate teacher.

The prime minister said this move is to ensure that children throughout the state get the best early childhood education.

Gonsalves stated these ideas were discussed between the Ministry of Education and the leadership of the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union, which has supported the proposal with much enthusiasm.