Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, while paying homage to past policymakers and officials in education, has encouraged workers at the Ministry of Education not to let up as they carry the baton left by their predecessors.
Dr Mitchell has also called for openness between employees and leaders in the Ministry of Education and says bold moves must be made to bolster young people’s bid for higher learning.
“This is a relay, and we must recognise the contributions of the former Ministers of Education, Permanent Secretaries and Chief Education Officer, and thank them for it,” Dr Mitchell pointed out. “Now it is time for others to take the baton and continue the work because our children’s future is at stake.”
Addressing the workers last Friday, 11 May in the presence of Ministers Emmalin Pierre and Pamela Moses, as well as Permanent Secretaries Finley Jeffrey and Jacinta Joseph, the Prime Minister underscored the collective role that personnel in the Ministry of Education must play in supporting young people’s right to education and training.
Dr Mitchell also called on the staff to be open with education policy makers, whom he says, must also be open to ideas from staff. “Our ministers will make mistakes. They won’t have all the ideas. We are not perfect; so we will need your feedback in the decision-making process,” Dr Mitchell said.
“Your openness with the ministers, permanent secretaries and other policymakers will determine how successful the ministry is, ultimately. Communication is key. How you do it, not by gossiping etc, but by being open with our policymakers.”
In the open forum with the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Education’s staff was also encouraged to make suggestions on the way forward. Among the ideas floated included the need for a national library, the introduction of a Media Literacy Education Programme as well as the expansion of NEWLO and TAMCC to better serve young men, in particular, amid concerns that they have often been shut out of the education system.
“We cannot fail our students. Our young people are ambitious and need our support and guidance. Unless we take bold initiatives, we will not be able to give them what they need,” Dr Mitchell insisted.
“The decisions might be controversial, but we must do it. It isn’t business as usual. This isn’t about how I look as PM, or how the government looks. It is about each of us asking, what we are doing, how bold are we ensuring that we can maximise the opportunities for the young people that we are responsible for.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mitchell announced that his government would continue to look at regularising the status of remaining temporary teachers and consider the implementation of a substitute teacher system as well.
Also, the Prime Minister encouraged staff to offer recommendations on the best person to fill the vacant position of Chief Education Officer.