Back To School Address 2022 | Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley | Minister of Education

Basseterre: St. Kitts, Monday, September 05, 2022: Addressing the nation on the eve of the reopening of school, Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley announced a new set of Covid-19 safety protocols.

“While we are still faced with the effects of Covid-19, our country is slowly moving to the endemic stage which has led to the updating of the Covid-19 protocols at our schools,” he said.

Sanitization upon entry into the school grounds remains mandatory.

“All persons seeking access to our educational institutions must sanitize their hands upon entry”, announced the Minister.

Addressing the discomfort of mask wearing, Minister Hanley enunciated,” The wearing of a mask is now optional but strongly encouraged in enclosed spaces”.

Dr. Hanley continued, “To avoid the spread of Covid-19, students and teachers who are experiencing flu like symptoms should seek the help of a medical professional prior to their return to campus. This can help limit the number of interruptions in teaching and learning.”

The minister commended both teachers and students for the resilience shown during the last two years in the height of the pandemic.

Minister Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley also announced leadership restructuring across the education sector, in his back to school address.

The first change of personnel disclosed by the minister was that of the Permanent Secretary’s (PS) post. Conveying appreciation for the work done by the outgoing PS. Mr. William Vincent Hodge, and congratulating the newly appointed PS Mrs. Lisa-Romayne Archibald-Pistana.

Minister Hanley stated, “I would like to thank Mr. William Vincent Hodge for his guidance, hard work and direction as permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education over the past six years. We are extremely grateful and value the contribution he has made to the education fraternity. With this being said I am pleased to announce our new Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Mrs. Lisa-Romayne Archibald-Pistana.”

PS Hodge will continue to work with Mrs Pistana for the time being.

Teachers at the primary school level also transitioned into leadership positions.

Minister Hanley disclosed, “Ms. Jamillah Bristol is the new Head Teacher of Beach Allen Primary School. Mr. Javan Cannonier has assumed the post of Deputy Head Teacher at the Cayon Primary School. Ms. Ulukia Bryan has accepted the post of Deputy Head Teacher at the Dieppe Bay Primary School.”

Minister Hanley congratulated these individuals for their appointment to leadership positions and expressed confidence in their ability to be collaborative and transformational leaders in carrying out of the education goals for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Dr. Hanley continued, “As the Minister of Education, this year is a significant one for me as I embark upon a journey to re-assess, re-imagine and redefine education as we know it. Quality education is a fundamental right to which every human being should have access. Citizens and residents, it is my intention to ensure that the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis continues to lead in the area of education.”

He added, “The Ministry of Education’s goals for the 2022-2023 academic year focuses on inclusivity and equity. We intend to provide every child equitable access to quality education in a safe child friendly environment.”

The goals outlined will enable the minister to deliver on his promise to provide teachers with an imperative of ‘C.A.R.E’ under the ‘New Deal’ initiative.

“Therefore, as the Minister of Education, I aim to heed the call from our teachers for greater ‘C.A.R.E’ by: Increasing the number of teaching assistants in our schools; improving our professional development model to incorporate more TVET related fields and Learning Disabilities courses. Professional Development needs to be more personalized, competency based and accessible anytime or anywhere.”

Focusing on infrastructural development, Minister Hanley continued “Rebuilding Basseterre High School and converting all of our high schools into centres of excellence; renovating Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School; expanding our maintenance unit to incorporate skilled trade persons who will ensure the continued maintenance of our school plants”.

The sixth goal outlined by Minister Hanley concentrated on the use of technology as a mechanism to enhance the teaching and learning experience by making it “interactive and fun”.

Additionally, the minister promised to “strengthen the TVET sector through the provision of certification at the end of the training period.” The Acronym C.A.R.E. stands for Community, Attention, Respect and Equity among and for all teachers.

It was proposed by teachers’ advocate Ms. Micheleina Charles-Hazelle in remarks at the opening ceremony of Summer Workshops for Teachers. Since then, the Ministry of Education has embraced the recommendations of Ms. Charles-Hazelle emphasizing that they go hand in hand with aspects the ministry’s project to professionalize the teaching force and re-imagine and redefine education throughout the island.

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