Nevis Premier Delivers Speech On New Academic Year

Charlestown, Nevis
September 05, 2007

Good evening Nevisians and all those who are listening to Choice and NNC and VON.
Monday, the third of September all of the primary schools and the two high schools on Nevis commence the school new year. I must say that before the start of the school I met with most of school heads and at least one of the high school heads. We discussed a number of matters, including discipline in the schools and gang related crimes.  I express the need for the teachers to be vigilant and to work with the parents to encourage good discipline in their children and to also get them out of these gangs.
 
On the island of Nevis, it appears to me, that everywhere children in some primary schools and the high schools are becoming obsessed with the red ribbon movement and the blue ribbon movement. It makes no sense it leads to misbehaviour, it leads to fights and a breakdown in discipline. I am calling on the parents to work with the teachers to get the children to concentrate on work and to concentrate on good behaviour and stay away from these gangs.

I must remind you that one of the reasons why we did not have last lap for Culturama this year was because of a threat of a gang fight on the island of Nevis.  It must never happen again and while the police have their work to do and the church, we want the parents to give their support to the schools. The schools are very important in the life of the children and the teachers are most important. We also discussed academic standards, because it is important at a very early age that children must understand that they must not just pass but pass at the highest level. They must realise their fullest potential and again the parents must turn the T.V off and make sure their children do their homework and the teachers must teach as I know they have being doing.
 
I also must express some concerns about cleaning the classrooms and we must always make sure the children have chores and have duties because that in a way help form them, help them to build good habits and to have discipline and to have respect and with the business of littering is getting out of hand. Too many persons are using disposables and just dumping them. We want that to change, people must make sure that whatever they use are discarded properly and not just thrown in the road, the trenches or the bushes. I do believe that we should start this at the school. From time to time I have passed the schools and I am appalled at the amount of rubbish that is around, it does not speak well of the children, the teachers or for our society. Good habits begin at home, good habits continue in the schools we must make the children responsible for keeping their surroundings clean, they must also keep themselves tidy.
 
We also must discuss goals and standards because each headmaster and class teacher must set goals and standards. This is how we can get the outstanding performances that we have realised this year. I want to say this also, that the commencement of school was against the backdrop of outstanding performances of the two high schools. At the Gingerland High school for the first time, we had subject’s passes of 320 and at the Charlestown high school we had subject passes of 475. Most importantly you had more people than ever taking the CXC subjects and passing and my government is proud that it has insisted that more children participate and must enter for the exams and they have congratulated the teachers, parents the schools and the communities. I must particular commend Sasha Godet, Michele Slack and Adrian Jagdeo of the Charlestown Secondary and Jerri-Lee Bussue and Jacintha Lawrence of the Gingerland High School for their outstanding performances.  Again, as I have done recently, the teachers and the parents must all be congratulated and I do hope children who are preparing for exams for next year will take a lesson or a leaf out of the book of these outstanding students.
 
I must also say, I am pleased to report that the VOJN primary school and the Whitehall primary school are starting their school meal program. We are aware that many years ago every primary school had a school feeding program but that was abandon. The Nevis Reformation Party is once again reintroducing this in the schools and VOJN and Whitehall school is starting their programs this term. This is in addition to the St.Thomas primary school and the Ivor Walters primary schools who will continue the program from the past. The Nevis Reformation Party promises the people of Nevis, that their children in the primary schools will be exposed to free school text books.  We have ordered those books after discussions with the heads at the education department and some of the books have already been distributed. It is my understanding that the last shipments of books should be here late this month, by the end of September all the primary schools will have free books, which the children will work from. I am very happy for this and I anticipate over the next few months and certainly at the end of the year, we will see an increase and improved performance of the children because of the exposure of these books. I must also say that I am commending to the parents of these primary school children, the homework assistance program. The homework assistance program is already implemented in the VOJN Primary School, St. Thomas’ parish, in the St. John’s parish and parts of Gingerland. I am asking the primary school heads to embrace the programs and to work with the Social Affairs division of the Nevis Island Administration and to ensure that every school benefits from the homework assistance program.  It is my understanding that it works best when the teachers are involved and when they screen the children to determine which children need the most help in particular subject areas so it is important for me and for all of us that this program is utilised and that its successful. Again it will strengthen the children and enhance their academic performances at the primary level when they go to the high school.
 
I must say that I would now like to turn to the CAPE program”¦The CAPE exams, these exams are performed at the sixth form level and I must say to the people of Nevis that the first A students in the sixth form obtained an 86% pass. The outstanding student by far is Agiel Browne who had 4 ones and all for 5. I congratulate her and her parents and the teachers. I am also pleased to state that the children in the Inter group, that is 6A had a 91% pass in fact, their level of pass was higher than the first year students so I wish to say to the first year students you need to work harder this year, it is not good enough you must always be improving not falling down and if the 2nd year has set a standard you must seek to maintain that standard or better it. Even as I speak I must also announce very proudly of course that Monique Liburd, not only had the best results for the CAPE exams here on Nevis, but also for the state. She obtained 7 grade ones the only student to do so in St.Kitts and Nevis, we have every reason to be proud of her performance here in Nevis. She is a Nevisian, she was educated in the private primary schools in Nevis and she entered the sixth form and we should tell our children this is how every child should perform. I congratulate the teachers of the sixth form and her parents. Of course, Monique has been an exemplary student, very hard working, very thorough and she deserves every commendation for her outstanding performance. 
 
 I must end by saying this to all Nevisians, we have done outstandingly well last year and it could not have been done without the hard work of the teachers. Certainly the parents must have played their part. Again, I am encouraging the teachers to do their best this year and the parents to continue their hard work for the children to ensure that they do the studies. Children, you have your work cut out for you. You work hard and you do well. I end by saying, May God bless us all, Thank you and Good night! 

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