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Mixed reaction continues on additional school year

- as final fifth form graduates
Graduating students of the Elmore Stout High School (ESHS) went into the history books yesterday, June 25, 2015 as they were the final batch of fifth form students to graduate in the Virgin Islands public school system. Photo: VINO
Many parents are of the opinion that a sixth form should have been optional and, like many other sister Caribbean countries where there is sixth form, it should be for 'A' levels. Photo: VINO
Many parents are of the opinion that a sixth form should have been optional and, like many other sister Caribbean countries where there is sixth form, it should be for 'A' levels. Photo: VINO
"We are not adding sixth form as it is known in other Caribbean countries or the United Kingdom. What we are doing is adding an additional year to the school lifecycle in order to give our students the time needed to complete the curriculum and hence allow them to be ready when they leave the secondary level to go on to tertiary education or the world of work," Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn had said back in September 2014 as he sought to bring clarity to the additional school year. Photo: VINO
ESHS's Creightanya R. Brewley and Rhevaun L. Sprauve placed 2nd and 3rd respectively at the 2015 National School Leaving Exams. Photo: VINO
ESHS's Creightanya R. Brewley and Rhevaun L. Sprauve placed 2nd and 3rd respectively at the 2015 National School Leaving Exams. Photo: VINO
A number of legislators and their wives were present at the graduation ceremony. Photo: VINO
A number of legislators and their wives were present at the graduation ceremony. Photo: VINO
Among the audience at the ESHS graduation were past students of the school, including Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8). Photo: VINO
Among the audience at the ESHS graduation were past students of the school, including Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8). Photo: VINO
Remembering their high school days? Past students of the Elmore Stoutt High School at the ESHS graduation ceremony on Thursday June 25, 2015. Photo: VINO
Remembering their high school days? Past students of the Elmore Stoutt High School at the ESHS graduation ceremony on Thursday June 25, 2015. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Graduating students of the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) went into the history books yesterday, June 25, 2015 as they were the final batch of fifth form students to graduate in the Virgin Islands public school system.

Today the realities of an additional school year is even clearer in the heads of parents whose students are going into the fifth form come September, the beginning of the 2015 - 2016 academic year.

In giving remarks and reports at the graduation ceremony at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex, both the Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn and Acting Principal Ms Sandy M. Underhill reminded that the additional school year begins this September, 2015.

Not everyone looking forward to additional school year

For many of those parents it has been a long and well planned out year as they were well ready to see their children move on to college or other higher level of learning. They were, however, left with no choice but to shift those plans for 2017 as with the additional school year there will be no graduation after completing fifth form but rather at the end of completing the sixth form.

"This thing we cannot do anything about it now, the Minister made his decision, we were not given the opportunity to study this and agree or disagree it was just thrown on us and we have to accept it," said a parent last evening June 25, 2015 while at the ESHS graduation.

It was a view shared by several other parents. "This is going to be one more hard year for us as parents, already it's a challenge having our kids in that school, especially with all the bad eggs sticking on the clothes of children who want to learn, it's going to be really tough. This needed more discussion and the minister needed to examine it more carefully especially from the small man's level," added another parent.

‘A Levels, CXC better options’

It was a general census among the parents that a sixth form should have been optional and, like many other sister Caribbean countries where there is sixth form, it should be for 'A' levels. "That's what makes sense. And what would make more sense is for them to cut out the School Leaving Examination and let the kids put all their energies into doing CXC which is a Caribbean examination. School leaving can only get them to HLSCC but CXC can get them anywhere in the Caribbean," opined Ms Delma Gracio-Stevens.

"With CXC many of them can go further their studies in Guyana, Trinidad, and Barbados. Those countries have top of the line tertiary schools and even CXC gets them in good colleges and universities in the [United] States," added Ms Gracio-Stevens.

"Another thing we needed to look at is that one year is like keeping them back more than pushing them forward because that year would have been the completion of their first year at college. Look at some of the kids’ age, look at cost of living going up and up, look at salaries not increasing, look at resorts closing down, these things adding more burden on parents," added the woman.

About the additional school year

"We are not adding sixth form as it is known in other Caribbean countries or the United Kingdom. What we are doing is adding an additional year to the school lifecycle in order to give our students the time needed to complete the curriculum and hence allow them to be ready when they leave the secondary level to go on to tertiary education or the world of work," Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn had said back in September 2014 as he sought to bring clarity to the additional school year.

He had also explained that the initiative within the school system will result in children having thirteen years of schooling instead of twelve, from Kindergarten through Grade 12.

At that time he had said he was aware that there would be some issues that would come with the additional year including space, additional teachers and need for more resources; however, he assured they would have discussed these potential issues and put measures in place to address them.

Hon Walwyn had also said the Ministry of Education and the Education of Department did hold consultations with the public, teachers and principals on the additional year.

15 Responses to “Mixed reaction continues on additional school year”

  • vip (26/06/2015, 10:05) Like (54) Dislike (16) Reply
    That's what they voted for when they voted NDP, so they will get what they bargain for.
  • virgin gorda (26/06/2015, 10:10) Like (118) Dislike (23) Reply
    Myron has killed education
    • @ Virgin Gorda (26/06/2015, 11:12) Like (16) Dislike (8) Reply
      and you fools voted he back so hush ayo trap
    • RedStorm (28/06/2015, 22:29) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      It would have been more facts presented towards your statement. We short change our children, and when educated and sensible people try to help, we call fowl. I wish I had a 6 form in my days. Whether it would have been for work skills or achieving A Levels, I would be more appreciative. Today, many youth go into work place, from dress to mannerism there is problems. Attitude is another. I believe with the exposure of the Minister he has done a vast excellent job in his Ministry. Compare to the last two years of some of the children emerging from the high school, very excellent and calm in their self control. I had two students who work with me last year for the work initiatives, they learn a lot. They were asked to write what motivates them, I was astonish to see it was not the money, but the willingness to learn and to do things the efficient way. I say stay in school and learn what is there to learn it will put you above the rest.
  • ha ha woo (26/06/2015, 11:00) Like (13) Dislike (4) Reply
    lol @ them being happy to graduate school. U think the hard part over? WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD. no more easter, simmer and christmas vacations. LMAOOOOoo
    • uhh.. (26/06/2015, 12:00) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      You do know that this was a high school graduation right?... They still have college left to go
      • ha ha woo (26/06/2015, 12:43) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        Yes i know but, you do know that not all are going to go to college right?
  • truth be told (26/06/2015, 12:10) Like (4) Dislike (9) Reply
    The reality is having CXC is not beneficial to everyone. I agree it should have been option. Many students continue there studies in either the US or UK. CXC is useless there
    • 2 cents (26/06/2015, 21:14) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
      @ truth be told, Wrong, many schools in the US ask for CXC. It is a regionally recognized certificate. Also with 12 grades instead of 11,(K-12 verses Stage 1 to 5th Form) it will help the ESHS to become accredited. The old ways does not always mean the right way. Change is always hard, but without change there can be no progress.
      • Not really (28/06/2015, 20:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Many of our students in the BVI have ventured off to university without CXCs. I for one am I graduate of the class of 2013, I did 6 CXCs and none of the universities in the United States cared and did not even bother to ask me for them. There was only one school that I applied to that stated thastatedt CXC would be accepted from Caribbean schools. Only one! Of the 8 schools that I applied to. And it was not a neccesity. CXCs are a waste. And we should be having our students doing higher exams. Such as the SATs or ACTs so that they would be able to go off to university without the need of HLSCC. Even with CXCs a students t cannot get into an american university without some sorry of tertiary work or the SAT/ACT exam.

        I do not understand why we continue to be fooled by these ministries who claim CXCs makes it easier for students or adding a extra grade makes it easier. It makes no difference with us implementing the SAT exams. Even a student who graduates from a US high school without doing these exams will not get in. CXC is nothing compared to those exams. And the minister plans on taking out the school leaving exam is preposterous. For it is well known that the school leaving exams is harder than the CXC examinations. We should be working to get our school leaving exams regionally recognized and not lower our standards for credentials that are only worth something in the Caribbean.
  • Buff-Baff (26/06/2015, 13:05) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    I wonder if folks realize that sixth form is a 2-year program? Those who are quarreling about an additional year, seem to be happy with 2 years instead! Also, sixth form entrance requirement used to be 4 GCE or CXC subjects. Therefore, only the best of the students would be able to make it to sixth form. After 2 years and completing the 3 required subjects at Cape or A'Level, what next? HLSCC is following the USA model of education (and is now accredited by a USA body). Most of the students from the BVI eventually study in the USA where a grade 12 education is required; many of those graduating each year were born somewhere in the USA, and would be better off studying there, since they may be eligible for financial aid assistance. I think that the Ministry of Education is doing the right thing.
  • enough (26/06/2015, 13:27) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    Another year should not be added to high school; another year should have been added to primary school given the students time to mature while they complete what can be first form work. As a parent of a student in high school what I would like to see is the PLAN but no one seem to have that. All we are being told is that it will happen. This is not the way a country is run there should be constant communication with the PEOPLE before a decision is made. Are we no longer in a democratic society. Oh wait!!! It is a done deal!!!!
  • attitude and diplomacy (26/06/2015, 14:13) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    work is not all about how much education one have, its now a lot more than that,---attitude, experience, diplomacy, etc......if they are going to use the extra year to teach attitude and diplomacy it worth it...if not, a waste of time
  • oooo really (26/06/2015, 16:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    What the parents of the current students at the Elmore Stoutt High school should be doing is coming together as a united front. That extra year should have been added to the incoming first Form students not added at the top. Mr. MINISTER may be on the right tract but he is doing it the wrong way. One would wonder what would happen if the students and their parents utilize their democratic rights. Perhaps those students should just not show up to school at the beginning of the upcoming school year. What about those parents along with their children organise a March from the gates of Elmore Stoutt High School to the Central Administration complex on the first day of school. Wow what a way to make your voices heard and create change. The time has come where we should be a part of the solution. Remember when the parents and students of the Ivan Dawson School took to the streets and stood on the steps of Central Administration. Their voices were heard. PARENTS AND STUDENT of Elmore Stoutt High let your Voices and concerns be heard.
  • the teacher (29/06/2015, 08:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am not agree at all.


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