Minister of Education, National Reconciliation, Ecclesiastical Affairs, and Information, Hon. St. Clair Prince, stated that a revolution has indeed taken place in education in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Minister Prince was speaking earlier this week at a ceremony where the Taiwanese Ambassador H.E. Calvin Ho, on behalf of his Government and people, handed over scholarships to the tune of US$200,000 to 286 students of primary, secondary and post secondary institutions here.
Minister Prince said that “we have a change of mindset and a change in paradigm entirely when it comes to education in SVG.” The Education Minister said that people talk about education more than years gone by, and that people go to school with a particular aim in mind. “That’s a revolution” he said, adding that some can also refer to it as an evolution.
The Education Minister said “There are times when people went to school without even knowing what the outcome was going to be, and there were others who went to school knowing what the outcome was going to be, that is, in the banana fields, riversides, wherever. Nowadays, when a child goes to pre-school, parents start thinking about what kind of professional that person is going to be". According to Minister Prince, “It never used to happen, and that is what we call a revolution, in a number of ways”.
The Minister noted too that his Government understands education and its importance to the socio-economic development of SVG, and therefore, continues to invest in the sector. He pointed out that this year alone, forty-eight students were awarded with national scholarships. Recognising that some may say that’s only forty-eight, the Minister added “compare that with four and you see what happens.”
The ceremony at which Minister Prince spoke is an initiative of the Republic of China on Taiwan, which came out of a memorandum of understanding between both governments of which SVG has been on the receiving end since 1998. The Education Minister said that this program dove tails with the social outreach programs provided by the government through the social welfare assistance to needy students, and also the school feeding program.
The Taiwanese Ambassador will next week visit other locations to distribute bursaries beginning at the Bequia Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School on 13th November. The bursaries are given to financially challenged students in presentation ceremonies facilitated by the Ministry of Education. Following the presentation ceremony at the Methodist Church Hall on November 6th for school children in and around Kingstown, a similar exercise was held at the Central Leeward Secondary School 8th November for students on the leeward side of the country.