THE Ministry of Education is committed to addressing the concerns of school principals. Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Dr. Gale Rigobert underscored these intentions during an address to the National Principals Association’s 35th Annual Education Conference which was held at the Coconut Bay Resort in Vieux-Fort last week.
The two- day conference was held under the theme: “The 21st Century Principal: Towards a Solution Oriented Approach.’
“I am more than committed to work with you to ensure we address the challenges in the education sector and make sure we are true to the theme…,” Dr.Rigobert said, adding that the principals also have an important role to play in ensuring that their concerns are addressed.
Referring to the theme of the conference, Dr.Rigobert, who described the teaching profession as a noble one, said for the solutions to be effective, principals must not shy away from their challenges and responsibilities.
According to the minister, she is confident that at the end of their negotiations with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), they will secure significant resources to address the concerns of teachers.
She called on the principals to have a frank and open discussion on the issues of concern to them during the conference.
“I beg of you to depersonalize the conversions you are about to have today…” she urged the principals.
Dr.Rigobert also called on them to give their best amidst negativity and insults, and leave a legacy which Saint Lucians will boast of.
“Do more for your country…” she implored all in attendance on the occasion.
According to the minister, the hallmark of a great teacher is not only to ensure that the students acquire the knowledge he or she imparts to them, but more importantly, to enable the students to surpass expectation at every opportunity.
Dr.Rigobert exhorted the principals to appreciate the work of talented and hard working individuals in the society.
“I beg of you to relinquish the traditional cultural habit of hitting talented people on their heads,” the minister said.
She added: “We have a responsibility to the future generation to ensure that they are equipped to carry out the work of nation building because those before us were committed to doing so.”
In a brief interview with this reporter during the conference, President of the National Principals Association, Pauline Antoine Prospere said the principals are facing a myriad of problems, but added that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“One of our major challenges is a lack of support for teachers and principals. You can’t be educating teachers and principals and not have support on the ground—the support that will carry the initiatives through,” she explained.
Prospere said the Ministry of Education has introduced a number of initiatives to address some of their concerns. She identified some of them as training for principals and programmes to improve instructions in schools.
“The primary schools in particular will be getting some support,” she said.