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Fri 19th Aug 2011

ULP regime not complying with Article 26 of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights

Article 26 of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, says everyone has the right to education and that this education shall be free and compulsory.

The ULP regime should be giving all children free education, including free books and free uniforms. Many poor parents have complained bitterly to the Leader of SVG Green Party, Ivan O'Neal, that the SVG Welfare Unit has blatantly refused to help them with books and uniforms.

This means that poor parents cannot afford to send their children to school. This is oppression and denying the children of the poor the opportunity of high paid jobs and a life of prosperity. It is wicked that the ULP regime is willing to sacrifice the education of the children of the poor, but grants multi-million dollar tax and customs duty exemptions to the extremely rich of Mustique and Canouan resorts.

The ULP regime is turning a blind eye on Taiwan's fishing companies which cream off hundreds of millions of dollars annually, using SVG's deep sea fish licence. Taiwan has about 115 fishing vessels registered with offshore companies to avoid paying taxes to the SVG Treasury. It is immoral and a slap in the face to the children of the poor. This money could fund their education and pay for books and uniforms.

Education is the way forward for the children of SVG, not mass tourism. Vincentian parents don't want their children to clean up after tourists. For the 2011 Budget, Gonsalves cut $20 million out of the education budget. SVG Green Party says they should have added $20 million not taken it out.

We must give all children free education from preschool to university and focus education more on science and technology. This will give Vincentian children the opportunity of a life of prosperity.

Key findings from research in the UK, have shown that over a working life the average graduate will earn around 23% more than his/her equivalent holding two or more A levels, whereas chemistry and physics graduates will earn on average over 30% more during their working lifetimes than A level holders.

The higher education body, Universities UK, reported in 2005 that the graduate premium for engineering graduates over a working lifetime to be $879,884 and for maths graduates to be $966,996, whereas an arts graduate can expect only an additional $137,976.

For science, technology, engineering and maths graduates, it is easier to get good pay and a graduate-level job. Research suggests that employers place a higher value on graduates offering a technical or mathematically-based degree. Graduates with weaker numeracy skills tend to fare worse than their more numerate peers.

In the ULP regime's best effort to provide education, they delivered a total disaster: in the 2011 Common Entrance Exam over 56% of boys did not pass and 1016 children did not pass. Many children did not even sit the CEE.

It is a gross social injustice to leave the children of the poor behind; they need a good education. A good quality education cannot operate in isolation though. The weak SVG economy is also damaging our children's future.

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