Following an improvement in the country’s overall academic performance from 74.6 percent in 2013 to 76.1 percent in 2014 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams, education officials are expecting the same upward trend to continue for 2014-15 school year which begins on Monday.
Acting Chief Education Officer, Melena Fontaine, said at the first national principal’s meeting on Friday morning that she can feel the year’s success in her bones.
“Welcome to the start for what I feel is going to be a very successful school year,” she said at the meeting which took place at Garraway Hotel. “As the senior citizens would say, ‘I can feel it in my bones.’I could feel it because as I interacted with the principals and teachers over the past two weeks in preparation for the opening of school, I got a sense of purpose, a sense of commitment, of dedication, of ownership and of wanting to do the best that our students can succeed.”
She said in all school there were increases both big and small and “We are going to continue looking for those increases and we want all our schools to come on board.”
She pointed out that in order to succeed, a greater degree of engagement is needed by all, adding that a more concentrated effort is needed for the analysing of results and adjusting the school’s improvement plan to address challenges.
Fontaine said the ministry of education will be doing its part in the process.
Meantime, Fontaine has pledged the ministry of education’s zero tolerance towards child abuse.
“I would not feel comfortable ending my opening remarks without mentioning our zero tolerance on all forms of child abuse,” Fontaine said. “Our schools are expected to be protective environments for our students … it follows that they must feel safe at all times.”
She said all measures must be put in place, “to ensure that we encourage the practice of positive discipline and I will promote respect, responsibility and tolerance among other positive character traits.”
She stated that all principals have been trained on the principles and practices of child-friendly schools and she expect to see the evidence of those trainings reflected in each school.