Fri 23rd Sep 2016
SVG Green Party agrees with the Honourable Member of Parliament for Southern Grenadines, that there is an alarmingly high number of secondary school repeaters. The children who end up in the secondary school repeaters program are from poor and disadvantaged families.
The high number of repeaters is evidence of the failure of the ULP regime education system. Table 1 shows that, since coming to office in 2001, the ULP regime has consistently under invested in education. They are deliberately condemning children from poor families to a life of poverty.
The consequence of this long-term under investment in education has also been many children leaving school before school leaving age, many children leaving school with no qualifications and many children unable to gain employment after school.
According to Mr Ivan O’Neal BSc hons, MSc, MBA, education in SVG is being driven in to the ground. The Honourable Member of Parliament for Southern Grenadines, said on SVGBC TV on Wednesday 14 September 2016, that in one class of the secondary school in Union Island, only one child passed the school exam. This is shockingly bad.
Both Gonsalves and the Minister of Education should resign for this failure.
The United Nations calls on developing countries to spend 20% of their annual budget on education. Leader of SVG Green Party, Mr Ivan O’Neal, believes that education in SVG is in such a bad state that more than 20% of the annual budget should be put in to education.
SVG needs to adopt Singapore’s education development model at independence and put huge amounts of money in to education and provide real high-quality, free education from pre-school to university. The focus must be on pre-school and primary education.
In its first year of independence, Singapore allotted 59 per cent of the annual education budget on primary education, 27 per cent on secondary education and 14 per cent on higher education. Table 2 shows the annual expenditure on education between 1959 and 1967.
Singapore is a World Bank success model. Having a highly educated population has attracted massive amounts of direct foreign investment for Singapore, created a strong economy and a rich society.
Between 2001 and 2016, education investment as a percentage of the budget has dropped from 5.16% to 1.27% in SVG. This is a 75% decrease. Over the same period, Gonsalves shamefully received a salary increase of 37%, up from EC$105,228 to EC$144,669. He looks after himself while the children of SVG suffer.
The bottom line – as usual – is that SVG is losing about EC$3 billion every year in tax exemptions given to Taiwan and the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan. If we had that money, there would few, rather than hundreds, of secondary school repeaters and few, rather than thousands, of our children failing school exams.
It is important that we change direction and adopt a new, fair tax system, so that we have enough revenue to provide a high-quality education for all our children from preschool to university.