THE Chamber of Commerce is all Gung Ho following a discussion last week with the Minister of Education
According to the Chamber, “Dr. Gale T. Rigobert chose to engage intimately and frankly” with Members of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture on Wednesday 28th March at the Bay Gardens Hotel, “without the cameras and a prepared script”.
In a press release yesterday, the Chamber said, “Rather than making the usual speech, the Education Minister started out by confessing that neither she nor her Ministry possess all the answers and she was interested in dialoguing with all stakeholders to better understand the various, needs, expectations and realities facing the Education Sector.
“Indicating the lack of desire to be part of the blame game, she urged attendees to appreciate the need for significant changes and improvements within the education system and moreover a need to build on what currently exists with the goal of having all Saint Lucians to benefit from a better education system.”
The Dialogue took on issues such as: the elitist nature of the education system, the need for more second chance opportunities, the dubious perception that ‘technical subject did not require a sound academic foundation,’ as well as the need for more soft skills to be taught.
Other issues discussed included: the need to (a) move away from teaching by rote, (b) introduce digital technology, such as robotics and coding, (c) give greater support to NVQ’s and CVQ’s and (d) encourage and develop creative thinking, problem solving, conflict resolution skills, innovation, (e) develop abilities to work in teams and effective communication skills.
The Dialogue also identified issues such as: the importance to improve class rooms and school infrastructure, as well as reposition school plant and use infrastructure more efficiently and rationalize resource allocation as well.
The Chamber says, “The link between disadvantaged socio economic background, poor education opportunities and crime was raised. This was linked to the need and efforts for the education and related services working together to produce better citizens through broad based program, referred to as “wrap around” programs which government has identified funding for.
“There was also a call for the programs to work with persons already out of the school system who interacted directly with the students like parents and guardians.”
“The Dialogue was wide ranging, frank and deep, with the private sector singling out the need for closer integration of the education system and process to the business community as part of the ongoing conversation.”
The private sector also called for a better understanding and knowledge of the Education Strategy and the expected outcomes and deliverables.
The Chamber says the minister “also called on the Chamber to work with the Government in putting in place a better organized internship program and finding ways to get more firms to participate in providing job experience opportunities for young persons.”
The Dialogue concluded with the Minister indicating her willingness to continue engaging the Chamber and her Ministry promised to share some critical documents with the Chamber.
The Chamber, for its part, thanked the Minister for her time and for her engaging interaction with members and pledged to work with its members to continue to broaden the private sectors involvement in the education process.