Following a series of consultations about whether the additional school year should be continued Minister for Education and Culture, Dr. The Hon.Natalio Wheatley announced that a final decision on the matter will be delivered by mid-July.
The Minister commenced public consultation on the additional year that was implemented in public secondary schools a few years ago with an effort to ascertain whether the community was in favor of shortening the high school years.
In addition to meetings with the various education stakeholders, public meetings were held. One such meeting took place on Tortola on 20 June and featured views, feedback and comments from a wide cross section of the Territory that was in attendance.
In a radio interview this week Hon. Wheatley noted that persons were both for and against the year: “Persons gave information which led me to believe that the additional year was a benefit to some students. Other persons who were able to give information basically led me to the conclusion that some students need to leave.”
In order to arrive at the final decision Hon. Wheatley said that a proposal was put on the table for discussion which suggested that that students who were advanced and were able to qualify leave school after 11th grade and the students who needed the additional time could stay for the 12th year. “I think that this is the right balance and most persons at the meeting seems to agree with that,” he said.
The Minister explained that even though the consultation was wide, he thinks that figures should be garnered to further inform the decision: “I haven’t made a decision, but the feedback in both meetings was very favorable, but I decided to do a bit more consultation. It was recommended to consult with the faculty of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and also to find some information about how the students perform at the college, their grades, so we can have some statistics to back up the decision.”
“I am going to … get that information and I will consult with the faculty. Then I will be satisfied that I consulted broadly and I had a good basis for making the decision,” Hon. Wheatley noted.