Gonsalves writes paper outlining ULP’s education plan
September 7, 2010
Gonsalves writes paper outlining ULP’s education plan

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has written a 71-page document outlining the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) proposals for education, if it is elected to a third term in office.{{more}}

The paper, called “Lifting the Education Revolution to the Next Level”, will be circulated to Vincentians soon, Gonsalves said on Tuesday, August 31, at the official opening of the Union Island Secondary School.

“This is the blueprint for the next five years and beyond for education in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Gonsalves said to applause.

“To use the analogy of the seamen: A ship cannot sail with sealed orders. The captain must know what the orders are. And, every member of the crew must know what these orders are so that we can proceed to our proper destination,” he said.

Gonsalves did not elaborate on the contents of the document, but said the government has to consolidate access to education, address issues of affordability, and ensure that the education students receive have relevance for the local, regional and international job market.

He further spoke of addressing the quality of education, including addressing teaching, parenting, management in school and the overall education system, syllabus, and, issues of discipline and security in schools.

“That is a whole bundle of issues and I address all of them inside [this paper],” Gonsalves said.

He discussed the functions of education, saying that education is to train critical minds to receive and transmit universal culture and to train minds and hands for the nation’s production apparatus and to also compete regionally and internationally.

He further said education was about inculcating the tried and tested values of our Vincentian society, without being parochial and to train students and the population at large to have healthy minds and bodies.

Gonsalves further said his administration was working towards universal access to early childhood education by the end of this year or mid 2011 at the latest.

He spoke of plans to upgrade the Integrated Community College into a “local university”, offering degrees in teacher education and nursing education and associate degrees at the Department of Arts Science and Humanities.

He identified a need to pay attention to special education, saying that statistically, 10 per cent of the world’s students have a special education challenge.

Gonsalves spoke of one of his own sons who was dyslexic and struggled with reading although he has an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 149.

He further said more work needed to be done in the area of special education, describing it as one of the weakest area of the “Education Revolution”.

Gonsalves also spoke of plans to construct a hospitality institute on Union Island and student hostels at the Community College to house students from rural areas and from poor families. (KXC)