As the new school year began, Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert gave of her luck to the students, parents and educators in Saint Lucia. She posits the view that a new school year is a period which brings interest to parents, teachers and students as it does some level of anxiety. Moreover, she highlights that there are many changes to take place in the future within the education dimension in the country. Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert assures the students that they will one day, be exposed to an environment that allows them to fulfil their God given skills and talents, as she is already content will all the stakeholders that are prepared to work together along with the government.
In a social media post, Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert indicates that she wishes to take the necessary actions to ensure that students do subjects which will ensure that they get the necessary training, so that when they graduate, more jobs will be open to them, as we are a service oriented economy largely dependent on tourism and hospitality. She posits that;
“This academic year, I wish to indicate that there will be a special focus on technical vocational education and training. We have long lamented the fact that it appears that technical vocational education training is an area that is stigmatized in the main. Two years ago, when I first met with the TVET Council and my TVET Unit, I implored them to do more to correct some of the misconceptions. We must recognize that largely we are a service oriented economy and that means we are compelled to prepare our students, our graduates, to function in a service economy. A couple of months ago, I met with the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce and I was very encouraged by the quality of exchange and the level of interest and commitment which was evident. And in the conversations which I have had more recently with SALCC especially the DTEMS Dean and other colleagues from that department, we recognize that whereas we benefit from great collaboration with the private sector, there is still some room for improvement. And so I ask of the Chamber to continue to engage the SALCC and afford its students, not only those from DTEMS, but also those from the other departments, the opportunity of an apprenticeship so that they can get real life experience as part of their broader educational experience at SALCC.”
The Minister of Education also emphasizes on the issue of corporal punishment in school stating that;
“There has been a lot of conversation about corporal punishment in schools and whether we should consider the suspension or abolition. We are minded that notwithstanding that, there has been extensive training and sensitization for educators in the areas of safe schools and child friendly schools as well as positive behaviour modification. I am a strong advocate of positive approaches to behaviour modification and not punitive approaches and I am guided by my team as to how to implement a suspension of corporal punishment in the first instance, with a view to complete abolition in the long term.”
Additionally, Hon Dr. Gale Rigobert also applauds the students welfare team for the kind work that they have done over the summer to identify and equip students who come from economically challenged households and states that the Ministry of Education has also donated the necessary school supplies to the children in need. Also, she addresses that there will be a continuation of the school feeding program, with a view to expanding the program where necessary. Similarly, the school transportation subsidy program will continue for this academic school year.
Furthermore, she commends the students who performed exceptionally well in the common entrance, CSEC and CAPE examinations this year, 2018. She reveals that Saint Lucia CSEC results this year shows that we are performing better than the region’s average, and that there was an increase in the performance this year.
She concludes wishing everyone a productive school year and prays that every student, parent and educator will be imbued with the wisdom, patience, knowledge, compassion, understanding and fairness.