March 25, 2008
Hon. Premier Joseph Parry and Minister of Education in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) demonstrated confidence in the Department of Education’s (ED) new initiative to train students to assume leadership rolls and to cultivate more ethically abled teens attending schools on Nevis. He assured the Principal Education Officer Mrs. Jennifer Hodge that he would play a pivotal role during an upcoming training workshop slated for April.
Mrs. Hodge made the announcement in an exclusive interview with the Department of Information where she gave a recent interview to keep the public abreast of important matters taking place in the Primary and Secondary schools on Nevis.
“There’s another initiative that we’re going to implement. And in all this the Minister for Education, the Hon. Parry has been extremely supportive in as much that he said he wanted to be a part of it. So he will be giving a one hour presentation to interact with our young people and further more, to top it off, he will be hosting a cocktail for them on the 14, of April,” she said.
She further added, “We all have a concern about our young people in assuming leadership rolls. We have school councils in all of our schools. Dr. Bronte Gonsalves has been the success story of school counselors here on Nevis but we’ve taken it a bit further. We have a number of young people who are members of the executive in their respective schools so that’s one good way of building a cadre of young people.
We would set up a training workshop to expose them to some of the things, which I really believe that they don’t know. We would have topics like ethical behaviour and we would focus on informal and formal associations. We will be looking at protocol, as it is observed that some of our young people certainly do not know how to address people and how to wear appropriate dress attire for social occasions.”
Mrs. Hodge also spoke about another workshop to be conducted next term for Primary school teachers. She said there would be Professional Development training for all of the Primary Schools teachers, which would be organised into two zones, in order to achieve maximum input from teachers on the topics that would be discussed.
According to Mrs. Hodge, the Professional Development activities for the Primary school teachers involved a Generate Code of Ethics that was done by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Educational Reform Unit (ERU) based in St Lucia.
She also said there were some adjustments made to the ERU Generate Code of Ethics that would best guide teachers on Nevis, and “Raising the Standard” would be the theme for the upcoming workshop. It was further revealed that student’s assessment would be looked at, to raise the standard of Primary School students.
To dismiss any public concerns about workshops organised for Principals and Senior Management at the Department of Education, it was revealed they had their training done in January which lasted for two days. Topics like Curriculum and School Finance were dealt with and the evaluation for that workshop was said to be “very good”.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Hodge also informed the public about other remarkable activities that she felt were worth mentioning. Of major significance were the St. James Primary School’s successful Literary Day, the Violet Nicholls Social Studies and Science quiz and the recently held St John’s Primary School’s first ever Elocution Contest. She commended the HOPE Nevis organization of young people, who were instrumental in organising the contest which had encouraged students in many positive ways.
She further mentioned that another of the Department of Education’s thrust for the school year was to plan two major activities that would involve parents. The activities are an Easter Concert and a Musical Expo schedule for May 29. They would provide an avenue for parents to have a visible presence at the schools, whereby they would show a vested interest in their children.
Mrs. Hodge however advised parents to put ethical behaviour into perspective and to pursue after more amicable ways to resolve issues they may have with school officials. Evidently, she made the remark due to reports made about certain parents who were abusive to school officials on school premises.
The Education Officer closed the final chapter of the interview after she discussed the Green Paper issue, which she explained was a compilation of polices that would drive St Kitts and Nevis Education development over the next decade.
“The Green Paper has not been turned into a White Paper yet, it is in the discussion phase but what is happening right now, the various staff in each school will be discussing the issues in the paper. After which, we will have some open consultations where the public will be able to give their input and finally, it would go back to the House of Assembly and it will become a white paper. After it’s turned into a white paper, persons in the public would not say they didn’t have an opportunity to make an input,” she said.
Mrs. Hodge explained that Department of Education did not have a monopoly on ideas. She appealed to parents and persons interested in Education to attend the Public Consultations and thereby make a solid input to the Green Paper, which would later become policy.
Notwithstanding, Mrs. Hodge revealed that the Green Paper did not address disciplinary problems and the matter of discipline must become policy for the next decade.
Meanwhile, she reminded students that the following term would be mainly academics. She encouraged them to set goals and study for the upcoming examinations. She also reminded parents of their critical role concerning their children’s academic performance.