By Loshaun Dixon

Basseterre, St. Kitts-The Ministry of Education is looking at ways of curbing the number of high school drop outs in the federation and is targeting the use of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Minister of Education Shawn Richards while speaking publicly last week indicated that a current draft education sector strategy plan has various ways of addressing the issue.

“We spoke of TVET for example. It is hoped that with the expansion of the TVET programme within the schools that more males in particular would be inclined to stay in school because you have a wider array of subject that would peak their interest.

Richards explained that approximately 69% of those who enter first form actually graduate from secondary school.

“ If you have 1000 students entering it therefore means only 690 of those students graduate and next 310 would have dropped out some place.

“We have more than 1000 students entering first form so it means there is a significant amount who don’t graduate secondary school.”

The education Minister added that  they are hoping to use  the TVET programme to address that to some extent.

“We have also looked at the law…relative to education and there are questions whether the age should be moved from 16 or should it be increased.”

He added that they are also looking at retraining of teachers to ensure that they can pique the interest of the students.

It can’t be the same old thing. Technology has changed and so how do we use the very same technology the children are hooked into to deliver lessons within the classroom.

Richards further state they are looking at the management structure within the schools to try and find ways to expand it to include parents, students and other stakeholders.

“So rather than the management structure being comprised of just teachers at the school or teachers and persons from within the education department you have the expanded management structure all of the different stakeholders would then have an interest in what is happening at the schools.”

He stated that part of the sector strategy is to provide support services for students that go beyond the guidance counsellors.

“Apart from the guidance counsellors we are looking at that support structure in terms of helping students to cope. Do we nurses in all of the schools do we need persons do we need persons trained in psychology as part of that extra services.”

The deputy prime minister admitted that they may not be able to provide some of those services initially for every school but establish it in some school then expanding it.

He added that there is need for a more holistic curriculum at the Primary School level in terms of culture.

“We do believe if you begin to teach culture in school the students would have a greater appreciation for who they are for where they have come from and have a greater appreciation for other students.”

Richards also hoped that could help in curbing the crime situation in the federation.