An effort has been made to change, somehow, the country’s education curriculum through the awarding of scholarships to 18 Saint Lucians involved in the various sectors of education in the country.
The scholarships, awarded under the Education Quality Improvement Project (EQIP) of the Department of Education, will see the scholarship holders pursuing studies in areas ranging from social work and school counselling to special education, curriculum and instruction, music and drama.
This is the first year EQIP in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank has granted scholarships for targeted areas within the education sector.
A core component of this project entails investment in teacher professional development in varied areas of specialization.
Ten of the awardees will be pursuing studies that will enhance the teaching of primary school students. Two awardees will pursue a Master of Education in Gifted Learners, which is an area the education sector at this time is not adequately capable of addressing as noted by a Department of Education officer.
Another scholarship holder will study Curriculum and Instruction with a view to enhancing the provisions for special education in Saint Lucia. Two candidates will be pursuing Masters of Science in School Counselling and Social Work, and one each for attainment of a Bachelor of Arts in Drama in Education, Bachelor of Arts in Education and Bachelor of Arts in Music Education.
Education Minister Dr. Gale Rigobert, who met the scholarship holders yesterday, told them her Ministry has the highest expectation that they will excel and do themselves and the nation proud.
“For years we have lamented some of the inadequacies or weaknesses in the system and we seldom advise when we have exerted effort to correct those inadequacies and shortcomings. Apart from celebrating the fact that we have distinguished scholars who will be pursuing the respected areas of study highlighted, we need also to say that this is a significant effort in responding to not only the existing needs in the sector (Education) but the emerging needs as well,” Rigobert said.
According to the Minister, her Ministry is moving away from a universal one size fits all curriculum, to one that caters for students with various talents, inclusive of those who are gifted and who may have learning difficulties in an effort to ensure that no child is left behind.
“This is our first step in ensuring that we not only do the theoretical exercise of revamping and re-packaging our course offerings but that our curriculum development officers and our teachers are well trained in the art of curriculum development,” Minister Rigobert said.
Some of the scholarship holders will be leaving Saint Lucia this month, while others will set off on their journey of educational advancement in September.
The Caribbean Development Bank is the funding partner for EQIP. The scholarships are funded through a loan and grant component between the bank and the Government of Saint Lucia.