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Successive governments made efforts to improve education

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07.DEC.10

Editor: I write in total disappointment with the untruth that is being perpetuated by the ruling ULP candidates when contrasting the progress made in education from 2001 to 2010 with the 1984-2001 era. It will be fair to say that all the governments since adult suffrage have made an effort to improve the education standards of our nation.{{more}}

The hallmark of the E. T. Joshua era is the standard “stone wall columns open hall schools” seen at Owia, Sandy Bay Langley Park, Lowmans Windward and Leeward, Calder, Belmont, Sion Hill, Lodge Village, Stony Ground, Layou, Barrouallie and Rose Hall. With the exception of Calder, all of these schools have had an addition during the NDP era. Some 27 of these primary schools have been improved upon between 1984 and 2001. The Milton Cato era is significantly marked by the introduction of junior/rural secondary schools.

During the 1984 – 2001 era, completely new schools were built at Sandy Bay, Greiggs, Chateaubelair, Kingstown (C.W. Prescod), Union Island, New Grounds, Georgetown, Campden Park, Marriaqua, Lauders and at Villa (the Community College). To be fair, the Byrea Primary School can be added since it was part of the Basic Education Project One, funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, which included three primary schools: Greiggs, which was completed before 2001; Sandy Bay, which was started before 2001; and Byrea, which started very early during the ULP’s first term in office. Having seen the ULP advert in the Friday, November 26, issue of The News,

I wonder about the merely four schools the ULP is crediting to

the NDP. I can add to this list, Editor, four Multi-Purpose

centres at Petit Bordel, Campden Park, Barroullie and Georgetown; plus a Business Centre at the Girls High School, an automotive workshop at the Technical College and a Home Economics Centre at Kingstown. So which four schools did the NDP construct, ULP?! I ask the ULP to name the four schools that the NDP built, please!!

I consider that the other lie to our people is that prior to 2005 only 40 percent of our children entered secondary schools and that 60 percent of them were put on the street. We all live here.

Prior to 2005, the students who failed the Common Entrance Examination were placed in many rural secondary schools and other private secondary schools based on their levels of performance. The relatively young were encouraged to remain for a second chance at the exams and those who were older were promoted to what was called then “senior school” in the primary school: Senior 1, 2 and 3.

The students who went on to senior school sat an examination at Senior 3 and if successful were placed at Form 2 in the secondary school. Again, depending on the performances of those who failed, many schools both public and private accepted them. The students who went on to “senior school” had opportunities to acquire a skill in Home Economics and Industrial Arts. Many primary schools had centres of instruction in these areas, and where these were absent the students went to the multi-purpose centres. The multi-purpose centres were located at Petit Bordel, Barroullie, Kingstown, Campden Park and Georgetown.

In many cases, where primary schools were not close to a

multi-purpose centre and did not have one on their compound they attended classes at a secondary school with such centres. For example, Calder school went to Carapan Secondary and later to Belmont Primary when a centre was added to Belmont.

One could go on and on detailing the works of the NDP in education between 1984 and 2001: the tremendous improvement in training primary school teachers, almost 100 percent of teachers were college trained; development of specific divisions to spearhead curricula, manage examinations, school feeding, early childhood education, school broadcasting, adult education and work related to UNESCO.

How therefore can educators like Mike Browne and Girlyn Miguel sit down and allow these falsehoods to be propagated to our people? I expect the Seventh Day Adventist candidate, Maxwell Charles, to be honest enough to distance himself from this dastardly lie!

I believe that two of the greatest travesties that have been committed against our people during this ‘education revolution’ era are:

(1) The forced ripening of our primary school students by entering them into secondary schools before they are adequately prepared. ‘Mission accomplished’ according to former Chief Education Officer Susan Dougan, when this was implemented in 2005, a statement made popular by George Bush relative to the premature victory trumpet during the Iraq War. How sad that these professionals allowed their better judgement to be subsumed by political considerations!

(2) Secondly and finally editor, I believe that the next travesty perpetuated against our people is that we have been robbed of a more balanced education programme in our schools. I speak of the downgrading of the technical/vocational programme in our schools. This is quite evident during this revolutionary period! Many of the multi-purpose centres are now run virtually as secondary schools to accommodate the larger intake – check the Centre at Petit Bordel.

As a former tech/voc teacher

I know what learning a skill to build something can do to build esteem and pride in oneself. This medium, the tech/voc programme, was used and still can be used as a platform to teach other areas of the primary and secondary school curriculum. May God help us!

A very concerned
past Tech/voc teacher

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