This time of year is always an important one for students throughout the country.
The primary school children have just completed the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) exams. The CSEC (CXC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) are also now underway and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) wishes all students success as they prepare for and sit these exams.
It is also an important time to reflect on what happens after examinations are completed. What are the available opportunities that can be pursued by young people as they complete this phase of their academic development? Many of the young people who left the school system one-year ago are still unemployed. This new group of graduates is joining them with little hope of finding meaningful opportunities or sustainable jobs. While several persons will move into tertiary education, many others will not have achieved the requirements for certification and so have limited options available to them.
The missed opportunity for TA Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) to become a full-fledged university through collaboration with the McMaster University Institutional Change Collaborative Project is an indictment on this present administration’s priority towards quality tertiary education. During the tenure of the previous NDC led-administration, education was a high priority and full advantage would have been taken of this opportunity to improve our educational system. Initiatives like these and the UWI Campus that the NDC was pursuing would make higher learning readily accessible to the average Grenadian. We cannot fathom why this seems to be lost on the current administration.
The policy on education by this government has failed the young people of Grenada in the last 25 years. Young people are today, still kept limited within the Imani Programme, unable to progress outside of receiving a monthly stipend and no important or certified skills. Many of them are not just unemployed, but are unemployable for today’s job market. Let us change this and begin the dialogue on where we are in our educational and vocational system and where we must go to improve the lives of our citizens.
The current impasse between the government and the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) is also a clear indication of the current administration’s lack of caring for our young people and for those who care for and nurture them. The NNP does not appreciate the important role played by teachers in the development of our children. Our education system is failing in so many different ways. Even the schools’ physical infrastructure is crumbling before our very eyes. The need for basic maintenance and upkeep is clearly evident but not given priority. While we speak of economic growth and prosperity in the country, our children are unable to learn adequately due to the poor state and condition of our schools.
The government must give greater priority to improving our educational system. It is critical and must not just be pretty words but tangible actions and positive results. Resources from the Citizens By Investment Program (CBI) should be directed to address these developmental issues rather than being channeled in the Prime Minister’s Ministry to be distributed ways that only yield political mileage and not real people development. It is time that we focus more on human development to ensure that we have a generation of citizens capable of meeting the needs of our developing small island economy. It is time to truly put our people first.