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Consultations on controversial 'additional school year' begin today

- First consultation meeting to be held @ Catholic Community Centre in Virgin Gorda from 6:00pm.
The public, from today June 19, 2019, will be given an opportunity to make their input into the decision whether to shelve or keep the additional school year controversially instituted into public secondary schools by the former Minister for Education Mr Myron V. Walwyn. Photo: VINO
The then Minister for Education Mr Myron V. Walwyn, who was largely criticised for playing politics with the education system during his tenure, was lambasted for making what persons considered an unnecessary change when he controversially introduced the additional year into public secondary schools. Photo: VINO/File
The then Minister for Education Mr Myron V. Walwyn, who was largely criticised for playing politics with the education system during his tenure, was lambasted for making what persons considered an unnecessary change when he controversially introduced the additional year into public secondary schools. Photo: VINO/File
Current Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) had told reporters on April 18, 2019 that he already had discussions on the subject of the additional school year with the key players in the Education Ministry and the public could have expected an announcement soon. Photo: VINO/File
Current Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) had told reporters on April 18, 2019 that he already had discussions on the subject of the additional school year with the key players in the Education Ministry and the public could have expected an announcement soon. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The public, from today June 19, 2019, will be given an opportunity to make their input into the decision whether to shelve or keep the additional school year controversially instituted into public secondary schools by the former Minister for Education Mr Myron V. Walwyn.

The first of two consultation meetings announced will be held at the Catholic Community Centre in Virgin Gorda from 6:00pm.

According to the Department of Information, officials from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports, Fisheries and Agriculture will be hosting the public consultations to discuss the “Additional Year”. Parents, guardians and interested persons are invited to attend these meetings.

‘Guinea pigs’

The introduction of Grade 12 by the then National Democratic Party (NDP) administration was seen as a rather controversial one and had received much criticism from various stakeholders, including parents and teachers.

Mr Walwyn, who was largely criticised for playing politics with the education system, was lambasted for making what persons considered an unnecessary change and that it was done hastily, including that there were not enough teachers for the extra year and lack of facility to house the students, who had to temporarily occupy a space at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) before the September 2017 hurricanes.

Former Principal of ESHS Mrs Sandy M. Underhill had even admitted that students felt they were being targeted as guinea pigs. “It has been a long six years and what a year it was. A year of immense change that made you feel like you were being targeted as guinea pigs to be taken to the slaughter….Mrs Underhill had stated on June 22, 2017, during the graduation ceremony for the first batch of Grade 12 students.

And current Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) had told reporters on April 18, 2019 that he already had discussions on the subject with the key players in the Education Ministry. “And you can expect that a decision can be made on that very soon, I will have an announcement on that soon, as it pertains to the additional school year.”

Meanwhile, the next consultative meeting will be held at the Althea Scatliffe Primary School Courtyard on Thursday June 20, 2019 from 6:00pm.

14 Responses to “Consultations on controversial 'additional school year' begin today”

  • watching (19/06/2019, 17:03) Like (29) Dislike (7) Reply
    definitely was not carefully thought out. I am for the removal of this burden to the kids
  • Yes (19/06/2019, 20:24) Like (12) Dislike (15) Reply
    Just like we rid the country of funny man, we should rid the high schools of the 6th grade
  • WOWW (19/06/2019, 21:13) Like (1) Dislike (24) Reply
    Only make island people do 6 forms.
  • Outlaw (19/06/2019, 21:28) Like (10) Dislike (7) Reply
    @watching. I am in total agreement. Get rid of that extra year.
  • VIP voter (19/06/2019, 22:39) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
    It’s should have gone out with walwin
  • Teacher (20/06/2019, 04:48) Like (18) Dislike (4) Reply
    As a teacher in the system, I recommend moving the additional year to the primary schools. There it will serve as a bridge to usher the students into the changes /challenges they will meet in high school. It could be the perfect opportunity to streamline students into the technical or academic pathway.
  • PoliTRIX (20/06/2019, 06:53) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    "Make it happen!!". These were words that the former Minister of Education liked to use even when he knew it was impossible.
    The additional school year was put in place without us being ready for it and without even facilities to host the children. This, if we remember well, forced us to bus the children daily to and from the college for one whole year at the expense of the tax payers. Teachers were not properly trained, they lacked resources and most of all, they had no input in what was happening.
    The programme was also not properly thought out and so u have children being forced to spend an extra year doing over subjects that they already pass with ones and twos in CXC.
    CAPE also was an afterthought and so a few brilliant students are given a chance to write one or two units each year. Unfortunately, the powers that be lied to the children and their parents. They were told that the children would be able to finish up their CAPE subjects at the college. That never happened and so u have the children basically completing half of a subject. In the rest of the Caribbean, children graduate in 5th form and then have the option to go unto 6th form where they spend two years doing 6-8 CAPE units (3 or 4 advanced subjects) that qualify them for university not a Community College.
    Unfortunately also, the children are forced to attend school even during CXC because they have to gain credits to graduate. (Note: Accreditation has died a natural death).
    Note also: This happens nowhere else in the Caribbean. Once CXC starts, children can focus fully on passing their exams. Talk to children and their teachers and u will hear the pressure they are under.
    We are Caribbean, this ridiculous credit system does not make sense here especially when u have CXC. The whole system is a farce and some of the same ones who were tasked with making it happen know it very well but they dared not object.
    Thanks to Dr. Wheatley for opening up this controversial issue so that we can stop pretending and do what's best for the children and not what's best for politicians.
  • Prestigious. I'm foe it (20/06/2019, 07:16) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    The 12 grade or 6 form as called in the Caribbean is a prestigious achievement only the brightest make it. Once you come from 6 form good Jobs come easily. I'm talking about other part of the Caribbean.. So 12 grade or 6 form is necessary but shouldn't be compulsory it should be a letter of admittance from the department for those with great discipline and an interest in higher learning...The Goal is to achieve an A grade average in 3 subject of the student choice
  • Jordana (20/06/2019, 08:29) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    I am very please to see that meeting are being held to ascertain persons feelings/opinion on this matter.. Please Minister of Education don’t be like the former Ed. Minister MW keeping meetings knowing that the parents opinions didn’t matter for he already knew those meetings were all a sham for he already had his mind made up.. MW sat in those meetings with his team and LIED to us the parents for he didn’t deliver on what he proposed that 6th form would entail.. that extra year was a total waste of the children and parents time.. I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF THAT EXTRA YEAR.. oh wait MW. LIED. And said that the extra year was to prepare the students for the work force and that the curriculum would foster this.. ALL LIES.. yes children have graduated in the past at a very young age but many have and so
    what?.. I also don’t agree with targeting it on at the primary school level.. though I am not in favor of it I would still say if that extra year was in fact teaching them the skills to be more productive as they leave high school eg: mentoring courses, teaching them how to write Resumes’ or workforce classes then yes I’d be open to that but Not another year of class 5.. waste of time!!. And please Minister if your ultimate decision is yes after hearing the voices of the people, please sort out CAPE as it relates to the number of CXCs one need to be enrolled to be placed in CAPE classes and also this Dual- Enrollment business!!.. I lived through all of this additional year nightmare with my child as other parents have..if a well thought out 6th grade plan to better equip them going forward was created with the public’s input i’m open to it but if not PLEASE GET RID of that extra year.. IF IT’S NOT
    BROKEN WHY FIX IT!
  • Jordana (20/06/2019, 10:08) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    @ PoliTRIX ..I AGREE WITH U 1000%. Not a 100.. Everything u said is true.. u hit that nail right in its head.. I wish the Now Education Minister would read these blogs for He will get the “real” truth of how everything went down..
  • Quiet Warrior (20/06/2019, 10:39) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Change should not be made for change sake; change should not be made simply because one has the authority/power to do so; change should not be made simply because an initiative was put in place by the Opposition. Change should be made because it improves a process, it improves value, it creates progress…….etc. Did the extra year better prepare students for a tertiary education? Did the extra year better prepare students for the world of work? Did the extra year resulted in more mature students? Has enough time elapse to produce data that points towards either progress or failure? The VIP government has been in power less than 4 months so has enough time elapse to effectively evaluate this programme? The people give VIP a mandate for change but if you effect change bad, you get it bad. Slow and steady wins the race (hare and tortoise fable).

    Developed countries ( ie, US, Singapore..etc) have the extra year of school. Is it adding value in these countries? Yes. Singapore is always at the top or near the top in educational achievement. In any evident, the extra year should not be slaughtered on the altar of just tribal politics.
  • Lait 521 (20/06/2019, 12:17) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    I say kill the 6th grade while you at it, get rid of all MVW left overs like the CEO, the PS and the man head girl
  • Charley Rose (20/06/2019, 16:08) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think hat there should be a clearly define goal in mind when we are dealing with the Sixth Form in the secondary schools. The Sixth Form in other Caribbean countries is for students who would like to sit the CAPE examination. before entering university and being exempted from some classes. In our case when the minister Walwyn introduced the additional year in secondary school he did not explain that was his motive, because only some of the students would have had the capabilities to write the CAPE Examination.

    While some students would have had the abilities to write that examination, others would have had to wait an entire school year without doing anything substantial. Furthermore the parents had to finance their students for that year and wait for graduation. The country is in need of professionals and the sooner the students who are equip try to enter collages and universities and perform wel and returnl, it would be better for them to fill the vacancies in the work force.


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