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Communities called on to take care of schools


Tue, Sept 18, 2012

The Ministry of Education held a back to school press conference yesterday in which they touched on a wide range of issues pertaining to government’s education policy and the teaching and learning environment in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

During that press conference, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Nicole Bonadie-Baker, made an appeal for the wider society to become more involved as caretakers of schools in their communities.{{more}}

And so we should. A huge $134 million, or 17 per cent of the total budget of central government was allocated in 2012 to the education of our nation’s people. As a developing nation, it is within our interest to ensure that the investment pays the maximum dividend possible.

Bonadie-Baker also referred to a bygone era when school grounds were trimmed and cleaned by members of the community in preparation for the opening of school, rather than by prisoners as is the case today. We are not suggesting that we go back to this, but there is great merit in the parents of the students attending our nation’s schools playing their part in ensuring that the school plant is in state of readiness for the education of their children.

We must here commend the many parents and corporate citizens who have, and continue to make donations of furniture, fixtures, equipment and supplies. These partnerships are invaluable to our schools and should be sought out and nutured by our school administrators.

In her remarks yesterday, Bonadie-Baker also called on students, teachers and members of the wider community to take better care of the school furniture, which she says is sometimes destroyed not only by students, but members of the community when the schools are used for functions such as camps or for adult evening classes.

This year, the government has given approval for over $400,000 to be spent on school furniture. This is in addition to over $218,333 which has been approved for the replacement of the furniture and equipment destroyed by the fire at the Kingstown Government School last month. Clearly, the government cannnot and should not be expected to spend these huge sums on an annual basis, when there are so many other pressing needs in the education sector and the country as a whole. We call here too, on the local furniture manufacturers to ensure that we are given value for money when their goods are purchased.

The role of our students in ensuring that the nation’s investment is maximized does not end with them taking care of the physical plant. We expect them to make the best use of the opportunities given them to obtain an education and reward the nation by working to their full potential.