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Congrats to Petrus Gumbs and the STEM programme

Congrats to Petrus Gumbs and the STEM programme

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EDITOR: Now that exams are out of the way, I have to speak on an initiative that has taken place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and my mind would not allow me let this opportunity slip by.

I would like to express my profound congratulation to the young man Mr. Petrus Gumbs and his team at the STEMSVG organization.

I took an interest in his work when he received the $40,000.00 pryme grant and I tried to follow his development after but it was disrupted because of the pandemic and then his work showed up on my doorstep. I would proudly state that he is one of the people who are an asset in our country’s children academic development. I am from the “far” leeward side of the island and I would like to state that there is divide in the fair distribution of academic support for students across St.Vincent and the Grenadines. As rightfully mentioned by the honourable Camillo Gonsalves, education distribution is not equal here in SVG. Students living in the Grenadines, far Windward and Leeward are greatly impacted and more at a disadvantage compared to students who are living closer to the central areas of SVG. This is because of two reasons; most of the “qualified” teacher are hosted or placed at the perceived top schools in SVG thus students in these far areas are unable to gain access to these teachers and because of the great distances students have to travel to get home they are dependent on special transportation which prevents [them]from remaining after school to get the additional support that they need to excel academically.

Here is where I applaud the efforts of Mr. Gumbs and his team. Noting as mentioned that Mr.Gumbs was the recipients of one of pryme grant of forty thousand dollars, I am happy to see how it was put to use. Mr.Camillo Gonsalves stated that if it is only for one organization he is proud of the pryme initiative is the STEMSVG and from my perspective I quite agree with that sentiment.

Through this and maybe others supported he developed the STEMSVG Online Institute, a one of a kind here in SVG and facilitated by the local and regional teachers. I was not aware of the vision of Mr. Gumbs but I can clearly state that I am now vested in it because my children and some neighbours are enrolled in it for help in CPEA, CSEC and reading classes, all online. From the work that is being done, it is safe to say that Mr. Gumbs is working on bridging what we would call the digital divide that exists not only between the Windward and the Leeward but also in the Grenadines. This is due to the fact that students who are in my children classes are from Bequia, Mustique and one is from Matinique. Not to be critical, I [sought] the input of few persons on my job who have studied and still are still completing their studies so that they can review the platform that is being used by STEMSVG.

They were very surprised that this level of work is coming out of SVG and very impressed at the quality of the platform. They also mentioned this type of platform is what they are currently using with their online universities such as UWI Open Campus. This is when it was made clear why St.Martin’s Secondary took the lead in the Covid pandemic while the other institutions struggled and from a few written articles in the Vincentian paper, it would seem that Mr.Gumbs is the one that was very instrumental in the school taking that lead. I am elated that he decided to take that knowledge to the wider community of St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

I must also applaud the teachers who make up the STEMSVG team. They are very caring, helpful and very knowledgeable in what they are teaching and very effective in the manner they utilize online platform. I did ask one of the teachers after I noticed that my child is so involved in class about their training and to be told that they go through regular extensive training to be competent with the system. I am thankful for this initiative and the strength it took from the whole STEMSVG team to initiate and sustain such a move. SVG needs this, we the people in Leeward and I think I can speak for the Windward and the Grenadines as well in saying that our children need this. This comes on the heel of the amount of senseless killings that [have] recently plague our country. I am very happy seeing my child at home working with professionals and still receiving the help that they need to get past their challenges. I would like to finally encourage persons to let’s try our best to support this initiative as it is needed for some of our students and adults as well as we develop avenues that would support and develop our people in the future.

Far Leeward Parent