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Measures in place to benefit students – Gilchrist

Measures in place to benefit students – Gilchrist

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Specific measures have been put in place at schools to support the attendance and retention of students.{{more}}

Last Thursday, in her address at the presentation ceremony for scholarships awarded by the Republic of China (Taiwan), chief education officer Lou-Anne Gilchrist disclosed that the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has developed strategies to foster students’ attendance and retention in school.

The strategies listed by Gilchrist included subsidized transportation systems, book loan schemes and school feeding programmes.

“For the secondary school students, you will be aware that there is subsidized transportation system. There is also the book loan scheme,” the chief education officer said. “The school feeding programme is meant to support the attendance of students at school and their retention in school. It is also meant to provide one third of the daily required nutrients for the children”.

Although Gilchrist acknowledged that some minor problems are encountered with such amenities, she encouraged parents to make use of them.

“I’m urging parents to make full use of the book loan scheme…I know that we encounter certain problems in terms of the availability of some texts, but please bear in mind that these facilities exist and that you are to make maximum use of the facilities,” she said.

Gilchrist also expressed concern for the feeding programmes in primary schools.

The chief education officer revealed that she had met a primary school student in Kingstown, who had visited a restaurant to buy a meal of one bake and saltfish. Gilchrist said when she asked the girl why she did not have her meals at school, the student replied that she did not like eating on the school feeding programme.

In her address, the chief education officer pleaded with head teachers to ensure that meals on the programme are desirable. She also asked that parents ensure that their children get a nutritious meal.

“It is very disheartening when I walk through town at midday and see primary school children walking the streets,” she said.

“I know that students have various preferences, but I’m appealing to the parents to ensure that if you are going to give your child a dollar to go down to town to buy a sweet drink and flour, you might as well make some juice with a little bit of sugar and give that child a sandwich.

“Principals, head teachers, I’m imploring you to make sure that the school feeding programme meals are wholesome and nutritious, palatable and presentable. Little ones, please, eat the meals at the school. Don’t go down town and buy the sweet drinks and the blue sweets and the purple things that you like to eat. Your nutrition is important”.

Furthermore, Gilchrist urged teachers to help their students to establish linkages between good nutrition, exercise and good performance in school. (BK)

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