Dr Toney – Understand the past in order to anticipate the future
May 13, 2011
Dr Toney – Understand the past in order to anticipate the future

As the curtains came down on the Girls’ High School lecture series, lecturer number 13, Dr Joyce Toney said that she believes that there must be an understanding of the past, if we are to maneuver through the present in anticipation of the future.{{more}}

Toney spoke on the topic: “Education Excellence for Today’s Development Challenge” last Thursday, May 5, at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown.

She made the final delivery of the series, which was part of the school’s celebratory activities to mark its 100th anniversary of existence.

The United States based former GHS student said that this was one of the issues that must be addressed by the present generation as the future generation is being molded.

“We begin by understanding where we came from, education speaking; how we do it, and what must we do to maintain a foothold in the struggle for education excellence.”

Giving a brief history lesson, she pointed out that as recent as about 200 years ago, following the emancipation of slaves in the Caribbean, the freed men and women made every effort to embrace education for themselves and their children, a trend which has continued to be the highest priority of families up to this day.

“Today the authorities realize that any country that seeks to advance itself must pay attention to the education of its people.”

“Organizations and institutions that focus on economic development all emphasize the importance of education if we want to achieve a sustainable level of development in our society.”

Toney touched on the education gender gap between male and female students, saying that she is conscious of the responsibility to educate all young people, but she is also eager to see the strides that women have made in society to continue uninterrupted.

“Some may think that there is no necessity to address education for girls; after all there is so much discussion about the gender gap in the Caribbean and elsewhere.”

“There is a recognition that boys are falling behind in too many instances; girls are out performing boys in many areas.”

Toney also took the time to identify what she believed were characteristics that were vital to the development of a sensibly educated populace.

These include, but were not limited to: a return to the studies in humanities, ‘manners and behavior’, the proper use of the English language, training in the natural sciences and environmental preservation.

According to Toney, the mastering of these areas will present a ‘fine future’ for Vincentians.

“All of these areas will not come to mind immediately, especially when we are concerned with economic problems. I believe, however, that people who have these skills are more likely to succeed in life than those who don’t have them.”

The final lecture of the series was held in honor of the school’s longest servin Headmistress, Norma Keizer, who served at the school for 36 years, 15 of those as headmistress.