St Lucia prime minister proposes overhaul of regional education system

CASTRIES, St.Lucia, Thursday June 27, 2013 – Prime Minister Kenny Anthony is proposing major changes to the regional educational system in order to reduce the growing problem of unemployment among young people.

He made the recommendations in an address to over 150 youth attending a regional conference hosted by the Caribbean Youth Empowerment Programme which highlights challenges facing youth at risk in the region, at a three day conference Thursday.

Anthony contends that training is not the sole responsibility of the state and cited the need to make better use of the available learning institutions.

He called for targeted interventions to help young people in the acqusition of skills that combine training with employment.

“As far as I am concerned if students stay in school longer, perhaps an additional two years in post secondary school education, then the employment rate would most likely decline,” he suggested.

The Prime Minister lamented that there were hundreds of under-skilled school drop outs, who cannot obtain gainful employment. In this regard he outlined changes to be implemented in the education system and called for more accountability from the learning institutions.

“We must not be afraid of change in the education system: curriculum, technology and the delivery of technology cannot simply remain stagnant.There must be a new level of accountability, expected from the schools and agencies charged with administering the delivery of education. There must also be a willingness to experiment in areas where we continue to record failures.”.

The Prime Minister  said the schools can do more for the development of communities by convening after school programmes and ensuring increased instruction time for students in the fields of maths and science. He reiterated that education is a major investment for all Caribbean governments and must the objective of producing well educated citizens must be achieved.

The  Caribbean Youth Empowerment Programme launched in 2008 with support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), seeks to tackle the problem of rising youth employment which translates into increase numbers of youth, who are unproductive, alienated from society and more likely to pursue negative behaviour like involvement in gangs and substance abuse. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample