The Ministry of Education launched its STAR Intervention Programme on 3 September 2020, at the Grenville Secondary School.
14 male students from that school are now the first participants in the pilot of this remedial programme, which engages students who are at-risk of not completing school, due to behavioural, academic and psychological issues.
STAR means Study, Try, Aim and Reach. The programme aims to have students achieve the goals that they set for themselves. Speaking at the launch, Permanent Secretary, Kevin Andall, emphasised the importance of supporting young people and the rewards to be gained later down the road. He said, “Every single one of you young men here have somebody sitting by your side, saying to you that ‘I am here,’ – like my grandmother – to ensure that you travel down the right pathway, to success.”
STAR is a 6-month programme that consists of a 3-week live in camp, followed by academic, physical and psychological support away from the school plant, for 4 days per week. On day 5, students will return to the school. The programme provides support not just for students, but also parents, the community and the school.
Kathy Ann James, District 3 Education Officer, explained that the programme will be supported by various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Social Development, Housing and Community Development, the Ministry of Youth Development, Sports, Culture and the Arts and the Royal Grenada Police Force.
James said, “The students will be well taken care of. What is required from parents is that they ensure that the children attend the programme and they provide the support for the programme.”
Education Minister, Hon. Emmalin Pierre said programmes like these are her favourite, given their capacity to change lives. She was pleased with the favourable response from her government colleagues, who supported the programme, once presented. “At that time, it was not just students of this school. There were students from another school included, but we decided, based on Covid-19; based on some financial challenges that we have, we are going to restrict the pilot to one school at this time. So, this first 6 months will be one school. Immediately after, we are going to be expanding,” she said. “This school is indeed fortunate – that you are going to be leading this initiative, which I am confident, without a shadow of a doubt, this morning, that it will be a success,” Minister Pierre said.
Coordinator of the STAR Intervention Programme, Dr Neals Chitan, is a Grenadian who has lived and worked in Canada for many years in the area of motivational speaking, as the owner and president of Motiv-8 for Change International. He is an international crime reduction consultant, with a doctorate in social and behavioural sciences. “All we want to do is re-brand your son,” Chitan said. “I look forward to seeing you; the team is looking forward to seeing you next week, as we start the process of rebranding.” Dr Chitan anticipates positive behaviour change.
Principal of the Grenville Secondary School, Ronald Ettienne, expressed his appreciation for the STAR Programme, its goal of helping at-risk youth and thanked the stakeholders involved. Ettienne said, “It is my heartfelt belief that this programme will be a massive, massive success.”
Ministry of Education
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