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Hon Wheatley to make decision on Grade 12 ‘soon’

- Apologies to students & teachers for ‘unfit’ conditions @ ESHS
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has said an announcement is soon to come as it relates to the additional school year instituted by the former controversial Minister for Education Myron V. Walwyn back in September 2015. Photo: VINO
Former controversial Minister for Education Myron V. Walwyn was criticised for making what persons considered an unnecessary change of adding an extra school year for students 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. Photo: VINO/File
Former controversial Minister for Education Myron V. Walwyn was criticised for making what persons considered an unnecessary change of adding an extra school year for students 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. Photo: VINO/File
Students of Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) are currently housed at the Old Clarence Thomas Building in Pasea Estate. Photo: VINO/File
Students of Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) are currently housed at the Old Clarence Thomas Building in Pasea Estate. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- An announcement is soon to come as it relates to the additional school year instituted by the former controversial Minister for Education Myron V. Walwyn back in September 2015.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) told reporters yesterday April 18, 2019 that he has 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.”

The occasion was the contract signing ceremony which saw contracts being awarded to four local contracting companies for the refurbishing of the Elmore Stoutt High School L- shaped building with the intention of having it completed in time for the September 2019 new academic school year.

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.

Former Principal of ESHS Mrs Sandy M. Underhill had even admitted that studentsfelt 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.

Mr Walwyn was criticised 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.

Current situation has psychological effect on students- Hon Wheatley

Meanwhile, as part of the process for moving from a state of recovery, Honourable Wheatley said he has advised Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry Dr Marcia Potter to get all the stakeholders together, “So that we can discuss the concepts for the school.”

“Of course I have some very firm ideas in terms of what I would like to see but I w ant to speak to the administrators, I want to speak to the teachers, I want to speak to the principals ….the parents…the students and ensure that we have a concept that can help firmly establish our education system going into the future.

He added, “I am pleased that the Premier [Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1)] has added a commitment in terms of time because we want to get out of this perpetual state of recovery because it has psychological effects on the children.”

“We want to move from recovery into an educational state of excellence that will help to facilitate our economy and facilitate a harmonious sustainable development in this territory.

‘I apologise’

“When I look at the situation that the students and the teachers have had to face since the hurricanes, all I can say from the bottom of my heart is that I apologise to you. I apologise for you for the inadequate conditions that are really not fit to work in and to learn in but you have committed yourselves to the future of this territory which is the children.”

13 Responses to “Hon Wheatley to make decision on Grade 12 ‘soon’”

  • pat (19/04/2019, 13:31) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    A minister that cares
  • Axe it!!! (19/04/2019, 14:52) Like (31) Dislike (2) Reply
    If you ask me it's a waste...please bring back 5 years for high school and not 6!!! Or make it optional like other countries. In my opinion not much people would participate in optional and hence it.wouod be a waste of.money. and what's with this grade nonsense. Can we please return to the British way of class 1 2 3 etc Form 1 2 3 etx. We are NOT a territory of America. Please!!!
  • PT (19/04/2019, 14:54) Like (20) Dislike (9) Reply
    I look forward to the said discussions. I am in support of the removal of 12th Grade.
  • Outlaw (19/04/2019, 17:38) Like (20) Dislike (2) Reply
    Thank you so very much sir. What a young man, apologized for something that is not his fault. This speaks volume of his nature. The people of this territory really made a wise choice on February 25. Lets continue to see progress going forward.
  • i from here (19/04/2019, 19:41) Like (16) Dislike (8) Reply
    Anything funny man touch should be killed next up iis the national song and dress they were not done by us
    • fair is fair (19/04/2019, 22:09) Like (3) Dislike (13) Reply
      A lot of what was wrong in education and culture needs addressing and restructuring however the territorial song and dress was one of the former ministers finer moments
      Let’s leave those in place please
      • @fair is fair (20/04/2019, 07:26) Like (3) Dislike (6) Reply
        Right?! Lol I read that comment like what!? yuh gone too far now Biggs. We don’t have any beef with the song or dress. Let’s stick to education.
        • @ Fair (20/04/2019, 18:43) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
          The locals who wanted the atiguna gone have serious issues with that song and dress trust me
  • Quiet Warrior (20/04/2019, 13:48) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    On 25 Feb 2019, the VIP won the general election going away with an 8-5 drumming of the opposition. The VIP turned out the NDP after two consecutive terms. Whether it was fatigue, lack of fiduciary responsibility, disappointment, despair, poor governance, disconnection from the people, lil man vs elite, poor financial management.......etc, the election was a mandate for change. But change should not be made just for the sake of change. Change should be structured, planned, add value.........etc. IMO too much discrete change is occuring without a full grasp of the current situation. I’m no disciple of the METU, in fact I have never spoken to the minister, but his approach to managing things and leading people is encouraging. It may sound like a broken record but the territory needs a central/national development plan.

    Moreover, the VI is a resource-poor country. Like most of the region, it moved from a mono- economy——agriculture——to basically another mono-economy—-tourism/service economy. For the long-term the BVI has to diversify its economy. Education will be a core component in that economic diversification. As such, adding an additional grade adds value to the educational process. Is the additional grade lowering the quality of education? No. The additional grade will more effectively prepare graduates for higher education, world of work.......etc. A good idea is a good idea regardless of whom engineered it. Give Jack Jack’s jacket. In Caribbean politics, there is this destructive and divisive habit of gutting good programmes, processes.....etc just because they were engineered by people of a diffrent political persuasion. This practice is dysfunctional and retards progress. Let’s not slaughter what is good on the altar of political differences. The MEC needs to focus on strengthening the education core. The outer bands can be look at later. Shakespeare: Striving to better , oft we mar what is well. Commit to the refinement of an idea that’s how you end up with something valuable. Mistakes will happen . Missteps will occur. However, it is the momentum that makes a difference, and ensuring that time is not wasted waxing over the little tings that would end up moving the needle(Forbes). We must focus on the process, not so much on the end result. We cannot be focusing on the weeds while the forest burn.
  • Damon (20/04/2019, 16:03) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    @quiet warrior. I applaud you for what you’ve said inclusive of how having the 6th Grade can be benificial to the territory.. this will only be benificial if the students are given courses as they do in other Caribbean islands.. when MVW the then minister added that form he called a meeting in the cultural center rush rush lied to all of us parents at to what that 6th form would entail... all the kids did in that 6th form was the same crap they did in 5th form.. so in case u didn’t know this I’m enlightening u to it.keeping it would be a waste of time if it’s the same thing the kids would have learned in 5th form.. I also believe that it should be optional and not mandatory in that high school is for a period of 5 yrs.. Min. Wheatley I applaud u for ur willingness to listen to the parents n students as well for we all matter.. not another year of 5th form work..I know for a fact that we were Lied to by the then MEC and his ministry for I lived through that extra year torture.. so please Mr. Minister give great thought..
    • Quiet Warrior (20/04/2019, 19:13) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      @Damon, agree that if students are being taught the same subject matter at the same level in both the 5th and 6th forms, then adding an extra grade is just a show and add little to no value to the educational process. As noted above, an extra year in high school or wherever in the educational pipeline will better prepare graduates to enter tertiary educational institutions, world of work....etc. All students receive at least 12 years of basic education, ie, 1-12. Clearly, if an additional year is added to the educational pipeline, then the syllabus should have been restructured. The syllabus should have been structured as a building block from 1st grade to 6th grade.
  • Damon (21/04/2019, 10:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ quiet warrior.. yes I do concur re: the 6th form needing to be restructured If added..what I did forget to mention was that the then MEC and his ministry did add CAPE subjects and permitted student to do CXCs in 5th form but here’s the kicker: the parents were NEVER told that the students needed “X number” of CXC subjects to enter the CAPE program until the day of school registration.. and all u got was a stupid apology and blaming this person that person for dropping the ball to inform parents before kids began setting the CXCs..this CXC system also has flaws.. good intentions but not a well thought
    out grade 6 plan.. our Education system need a complete overhaul and I pray Minister Wheatley turn over every stone..but yes we r in agreement..
  • CAPE (23/04/2019, 09:22) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Cape is important, why remove 6th form and get rid of itt? It's A levels, not that most people here care for that. If they had a choice school leaving would be their best choice. We should be elevating the education system not tearing it down. Some kids actually want to become doctors, engineers, pilots etc, hence they appreciate higher education.


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