PM Douglas Says “Education System Must Benefit Students And The Nation”

Sandy Point High School - St. Kitts

Sandy Point High School – St. Kitts
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 01, 2009 (CUOPM)

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said Tuesday if St. Kitts and Nevis is to achieve its full potential, educational systems must begin to tap into the broad range of intelligences so that the full range of potential can be developed for the benefit of the students and the nation.

He said that a new Saddlers Secondary School which opens its doors at the start of the new school year next week will dramatically expand the training options and the life chances of young people.

“This school is a direct result of my government’s successful transformation of our economy over the past four years.  As our economy has become more complex, and as a broader range of skills has become necessary in this newly transformed economy, it is essential that our people, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, have the new and specific skills that this new economy demands.  It is, after all, essential that the people of St. Kitts and Nevis will be the ones who will receive the new and important income streams that these new investments bring,” said Prime Minister Douglas during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”

He discussed some of the ways in which his government is revising and refining the very concept of “education” in order to ensure that young people will have the greatest possible opportunity to develop into psychologically healthy, competent, informed, responsible, self-reliant, and professionally competitive adults.

“My government is placing great importance of our teachers expanding and upgrading their abilities to identify, and therefore arrange help for, children with emotional difficulties. We have now made sure that the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College now has the capability to train the nation’s teachers to recognize the warning signs that a child, for one reason or another, has emotional difficulties, and needs help.  In this day and age, the value of our teachers having this very important skill, I am sure, will be clear to all,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said that in addition his government is revising and refining the definition of “education.”

“In addition to instructing children in the areas of history and woodwork, mathematics and French, we believe that there must be greater emphasis on developing the humanity and the character of our children.  Mere skills acquisition is not enough in this 21st century.  And so, beginning this academic year, the Ministry of Education will be launching a new initiative that will facilitate greater interaction between the youth of our federation and the adults of our federation, in the form of after-school programmes,” said the Prime Minister.

He said that the programme has been designed specifically to calm, to strengthen, to uplift, and to encourage the young people to set their sights on a positive and upward path.

“This type of intergenerational interaction has great potential to shape the federation’s youth for the better, while, at the same time, bringing great meaning and human fulfillment into the lives of older nationals as well,” said Dr. Douglas.

With High and Primary schools officially open next week, Prime Minister Douglas reiterated the importance of hard work and perseverance.

“As the parents send their children out, they must remember their responsibility to encourage, to guide, and to support. And as the students return to school, the teachers must remember that children spend more of their waking hours in the presence of teachers than they do with their own parents.  And so, teachers have great power to shape our children ““ and therefore the nation.  Let us, therefore, all recognize our sacred responsibilities.  And as serious adults and patriots, let us go forward and meet them,” said Dr. Douglas.

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