St. Kitts-Nevis government seeks to further improve equitable access to education
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – As St. Kitts and Nevis boasts 100 percent universal access to education at all levels, the government, through the Ministry of Education, is doing more to ensure that all students, no matter the age, take advantage of the learning opportunities afforded to them.
“If we begin with early childhood education, we are making it a priority for every child to be enrolled in early education centers either at one of the 15 centers around the island and those over in Nevis or by a private provider,” said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education William Vincent Hodge during his appearance on “Working for You” Feb. 7, adding that there are more than 70 early childhood providers in St. Kitts who receive assistance from the government. “So, there is no reason for any child not to be at a daycare center or a preschool. In terms of increasing access, we are saying that going forward we want all of our 0-4 year olds to be stimulated early for learning.”
Hodge noted that there are no problems with access at the primary school level as students utilize any opportunity that is given to them to learn. However, he said that more needs to be done in the secondary schools.
“At the secondary level… we have to continue to make sure that our young people access the opportunities that are given to them,” he said, while noting that high school years are not to be taken for granted. “In terms of those kids who don’t feel like they want to do the academic stuff… here is where we are saying that we don’t want them to leave school at fourth form, but we want them to do that additional year of high school so that they can be better prepared to pursue technical and vocational education.”
He said that assistance is given to people through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Enhancement Programme. Hodge encouraged and invited interested people to visit the TVET office to get information as to how they can get a scholarship to study overseas.
“We are literally begging people to apply to do a degree in technical and vocational studies so they can come back to be instructors and facilitators of technical and vocational studies,” he said. “Nevis has already selected two and sent them off to UTech in Jamaica.”
The access to education for all forms part of the Education Sector Plan, which was launched in November 2017 under the theme “Education for all: embracing change, securing the future.” It is a road map for action for the next five years (2017-2021) and will guide investments in the sector and a lot of the Ministry of Education’s development activities.