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Government spends $22,000 to $29,000 to educate each child

Government spends $22,000 to $29,000 to educate each child


There is some concern among the officials at the Ministry of Education about the quality emanating from the education system.{{more}}

This was the view of Education Officer Keith Glasgow yesterday at the opening of a week-long Instructional Leadership workshop for head and senior teachers at Frenches House.

Glasgow said when the ministry officials examined the performance of examinations such as CXC and CAPE or the standardized tests such as the Common Entrance, or the tests administered at Grades 2 and 4, while there are some areas which show strength, there is a lag between the high performing institutions, the middle performing institutions and those that perform at the bottom.

“We invest millions of dollars in our education system. Sixteen per cent of our GDP (gross domestic product) is spent on education. We spend between $22,000 and $29,000 on educating every child in this country,” Glasgow said.

But the officials say the Ministry is not pleased with the results that they are getting from this investment.

“So there has to be some proper accounting,” he said.

This did not mean that he was putting the blame on teachers or head teachers, Glasgow said, but added that teachers have a role to play in ensuring that the performance of students is well accounted for and that there are gains in the education system.

“We are not on a witch hunt for principals: we want them to perform,” he said, adding that whenever an education officer visited a school, it was expected that they give an overall analysis of the things that the school was doing well and areas that warranted some improvement.

“We are going to help you.”

Maureen Williams, one of the organizers of the workshop said there was a call for standards and accountability for quality assessment and acceptable results.

“From reports compiled from school self-evaluations, inspections and observations, we have a picture of the present situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines, but there is generally a call for a greater level of monitoring,” Williams said.

This monitoring, the education official said, included teachers, skills and practices, curriculum coverage and how teachers were using instructional time.

“We want to observe student learning,” Williams said.

Among the workshop’s objectives, Williams explained, were to examine the role of the head teacher as instructional leader; to engage participants in activities that would allow them to examine the importance of monitoring and supervision at the school level; to critically look at the present system of monitoring and supervision; and to provide participants with an overview of the inspection process.

Chief Education Officer Louann Gilchrist said it was important to stage such a workshop so that policies at the Ministry level can be informed.

“We can’t be addressing problems unless we know what is happening on the ground,” she said, adding that there is a need for data to be collected and submitted, so that ministry officials have a better idea of what is going on.

Having such information was also crucial to measure themselves against what exists around the region.

She explained that assessment needed to be aligned with structure in order to achieve success.

The chief further explained that the data was vital as the ministry was about to embark on a number of programs. (DD)