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Ollivierre maintains position on secondary school

Ollivierre maintains position on secondary school

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Parliamentary Representative for the Southern Grenadines Terrance Ollivierre is maintaining his position that a secondary school should be established on Canouan.{{more}}

He is, therefore, repeating his call for the government to sit with him and discuss the issue of secondary education on the Grenadine Island.

“Let’s sit down and trash it out,” Ollivierre told SEARCHLIGHT.

He was responding to the announcement made by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves that a proposal has been made to the developers of Canouan that they purchase a vessel at a cost of US$400,000 to transport students from Canouan to secondary schools on nearby islands and the mainland, and that they foot the monthly maintenance costs of the vessel, estimated at US$10,000.

Gonsalves, speaking at the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) Convention last Sunday, November 27, said the option of a vessel is the most viable solution to the issue, although he admitted that the construction of a secondary school on Canouan had been included in the ULP’s 2010 manifesto.

He concluded that based on the low numbers, constructing a modern facility and then having to staff it was not in the best interest of the developers.

Ollivierre, however, is of the view that based on the operation cost of the vessel, constructing a school on the island was the more feasible option.

He explained that the residents were asking for an institution which will facilitate the students’ education up to third form, and that there were persons willing to help, such as the US Peace Corps volunteers and other persons in the community.

There are 18 pupils in the Grade 6 class at the primary school, but Ollivierre said that the numbers were higher in previous years.

He further contended that once the school is fully staffed and equipped, the numbers would not remain the same.

“Because what people are looking at is that they have to send their children away because there is no secondary school there,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

Ollivierre further contended that a secondary school on the island will benefit more than just the students, as according to Ollivierre, the facility could be used for conducting evening

classes.

“The other thing is having a speed boat. How many trips per day will this be able to make?” he questioned, saying that even in the case of students in Bequia, some of the cost had to subsidized by the boat owners or the fare paid through sponsorship.

“So even if we are talking about access, we need to look at giving the student of the Grenadines the same opportunity in terms of cost factor that those on the mainland would have,” Ollivierre reasoned.

“It is not just let’s do this or let’s do that, but rather sit down and try come up with a solution – but for me, the best thing will be to construct the secondary school on the island,” he continued.

Canouan is a developing place, Ollivierre explained, and a skills training facility could have also been constructed for the residents on the island to further develop their skills.

Not having a secondary school on the island is also an issue for those workers from the mainland with children, Ollivierre said.

“They, too, have to leave Canouan and go to the mainland once they pass to go to secondary school,” he said, adding that having a school on the island would mean that workers would then be able to keep their children with them while they worked.

“So playing the numbers game, and especially when looking at the development of a people, I don’t think it is right to put a cost,” Ollivierre said. (DD)

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