Fri 28th Sep 2012

Will St. Vincent and the Grenadines be declared a dunce nation by 2025?

Gonsalves' incompetence is turning our country into a dunce nation. SVG has witnessed three significant warnings of education crashing under PM Gonsalves rule.

In 2011, SVG suffered its worst Common Entrance Exam results in history, with 1116 children of the poor and 56% of males failing. In 2012, the Director of Planning in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning revealed that some children got as low as 5% in some subjects in the 2012 CEE. Also in 2012, SVG suffered very poor performances in Maths and English CSEC examinations.

In 2011, we were given assurances that measures will be put in place to correct the problems in education. In 2012, we were given the same empty assurances by the Ministry of Education, that policies were being put in place to correct the serious problems in education. At a press conference in September 2012, the Chief Education Officer explained that the Education Ministry is developing strategies to mitigate against having such poor education results. However, nothing has changed.

SVG Green Party sees four major problems with education in SVG.

Firstly, there is a gross under-investment in education by the ULP regime, only $28 million a year. The yearly education budget should be $200 million. This money will be created by abolishing the blanket tax and customs duty exemptions to Mustique, Canouan and Taiwan.

Secondly, education results by individual school should be made public, so scientific study can find problem areas in SVG. Sweeping poor results under the carpet and doing nothing does not help our children in the long-term.

Thirdly, education cannot improve under a weak economy. Gonsalves' dumbonomics leaves households without money for food and electricity. Children cannot learn on an empty belly or do homework in the dark.

Fourthly, the Education Ministry has no answers to the education problems in SVG. This is shameful.

Since 2001, we have seen that Gonsalves management of the economy using dumbonomics has created high unemployment, increased poverty and rampant crime. The ULP regime is failing our children. We need a better education system for our children or SVG will become a dunce nation.

A Green Government will invest $200 million in education every year, provide free education from pre-school to university and build three science and technology universities.

China realises the importance of education and it is estimated that by 2030, China will have 200 million college graduates - more than the entire U.S. workforce.

In Australia, the number of advanced maths students dropped by 25 per cent between 1995 and 2008. The Australian Academy of Science says Australia has growing shortages in the workforce of young people with maths and science skills and that Australia's robust economic future depends upon innovation. They say Australia needs people with mathematical skills to drive the economy forward.

Likewise, it is critical that SVG has experts in mathematics and science.

Mathematics and science will bring innovation to SVG and make our economy a surplus economy. A country doesn't create revenue by politicians beating their chest, but from entrepreneurs running businesses and bringing innovation.

How can our children run businesses and create innovation if the ULP regime is making SVG a dunce nation? SVG needs experts in mathematics and science to drive the economy forward.

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