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Education tops list of priorities

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Education continues to be one of the major pillars of the Government’s policy agenda to transform the economic and social landscape of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Vincentians on Tuesday while delivering the 2006 Budget Estimates.

He said to this end, the Education Sector, broadly defined to include the School of Nursing, Liberty Lodge, the Learning Resource Centres, Training, contributions to the University of the West Indies and the National Institute of Technology, accounts for in excess of 22 per cent of the total current budget or $27.54 million.{{more}}

Dr. Gonsalves said in 2006 the thrust in Education is to consolidate the achievement of universal secondary education by expanding the curricula in a number of schools by introducing the sciences and preparing the Community College to become a fully autonomous agency as envisaged by the draft St.Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Bill.

“To this end, Teachers and Laboratory Assistants are provided for in the 2006 Estimates in the relevant schools and resources are allocated to enhance the administrative and teaching capacity at the College,” said Dr. Gonsalves.

Additionally, he said the National Institute of Technology is expected to continue to lead the way as the premier provider of IT education in the state.

Dr. Gonsalves disclosed that the 2006 capital investment programme for this sector is increasing by 2.5 per cent over 2005 and accounts for 16.6 per cent of the total capital budget.

Some of the main projects in the Education sector are: Education Support Project $5.30 million, the Computerization of Schools $2.67 million, the Peruvian Vale Primary School $0.59 million, Adult Literacy Crusade $1 million, Educational Improvement (STATVET) $0.68 million, OECS Education Development Project $2 million, Expansion of Secondary Schools $1.50 million, Book Loan Scheme $1.50 million, Purchase of furniture and equipment $0.70 million, Intermediate High School Support Project $0.60 million, Basic Education II $5.50 million, Upgrading of School Premises $0.70 million and National IT Bursaries Project $0.67 million.