At Large Candidate for the National Democratic Party and former Principal of the Elmore Stoutt High School Sandy Underhill said that residents of the BVI should be very concerned that a member of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) has promised to get rid of the additional school year which, she said, has done well for the Territory’s education system.
During the 21 January NDP Radio program Underhill criticized the mention that was made by VIP Ninth District candidate that the additional school year will be abolished under a VIP government.
In noting her disagreement with that announcement Underhill said: “It should concern the entire public where the direction of education will go if in the wrong hands [because]we’ve made a lot of progress. For example you hear me talk a lot about CXC or CSEC results and I will continue to talk about it because it is very important. It was strenuous on teachers to go through a curriculum considering how the calendar was set up, it didn’t allow you the time that you needed …and this would have contributed to the decision for the additional year,” she said.
She further suggested that the additional school year was a major contributor to the success the Territory recorded in the CSEC examinations.
In noting what the Opposition has said about the additional year the NDP candidate said: “We have to be very concerned about a new government taking a leadership role and we’ve heard it, I heard it at the debate in Virgin Gorda. I am very frightened if the first thing you are going to do is to get rid of the additional year, then let me just say this we are going to regress in our education system; and that should concern our people very deeply.”
She said the current success of the education system is something all should be proud of and it should stay that way.
Wheatley Wants Extra Year Gone
During the Ninth District debate held on 9 January the VIP candidate promised to relook at the additional school year that was implemented by the current government. Wheatley told the audience: “As a former educator and from talking to other educators the first thing I would do is review that extra school year in the secondary schools. Research shows that the best place for intervention is in the formative years early childhood and primary school.”
“I would propose putting those resources there instead. Our local results show that there is no significant difference between the private schools that don’t do the sixth year and the public schools that do the sixth year. It only cost the parents a lot of money,” he added.