by Donella Hosten
The Government of Grenada, through the Minister for Education, Hon Anthony Boatswain, is hoping to make students’ transition from home back to the classroom as seamless as possible.
The new school term, which is expected to commence 4 September 2017, has seen the government undertake quite a number of initiatives. According to Minister Boatswain, he has been assured by the ‘experts in the Ministry of Education’ that there will be no shortage of books for the commencement of this term, and they believe they will be able to meet the demands for the school year.
He said the government has extended close to $200,000 to purchase additional books, and approximately $35,000 to repair damaged ones.
Minister Boatswain also stated that ‘e-books will be featuring more prominently in the education system as we go forward.’ This was something promised by the NNP Administration when getting into office. To date, approximately 30 tablets have been distributed to the Hermitage Government School in St Patrick.
The Education Minister went on to praise his government stating that over 5,000 students in the public school system have received vouchers — to the tune of $1 million — to assist with the purchase of school uniforms.
He also commended Prime Minister Mitchell on his initiative to seek assistance from the diaspora to secure 7,000 – 10,000 school bags for students.
Additionally, the minister noted that during this time of year students attending the TA Marryshow Community College (TAMCC), St George’s University (SGU) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), receive ‘significant assistance’ from the government. This assistance includes, but is not limited to, transportation allowance and tuition fees.
However, during a local radio programme held on Wednesday, 23 August NDC’s Caretaker for St George South East, and former Minister for Education, Franka Bernadine stated that there is more to education than simply giving limited tablets and school bags. She urged the government to look at the reviews from St Kitts and Nevis, which showed the effects of the implementation of the said tablets in schools.
Bernadine insisted that the cost of books is overwhelming for parents. She mentioned the multiplicity of taxes on the backs of Grenadians. She condemned the government’s move of trying to get rid of school books, saying that school books must be included in the equation for the process of learning to take place.