Minister for Education and Culture, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn has stated that the education system in the Virgin Islands was designed to produce global citizens.
The Minister was one of five panelists at the ‘Vini Kozé,’ the first in a six part series of public education events hosted by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Honourable Walwyn said, “[The changes in education are] designed for the benefit of the students…[Government] tried to make education more relevant to life, to work, and to [ensure] we produce students who can function not only in the local environment, but also to be very good global citizens.”
Honourable Walwyn spoke about a number of initiatives, including the Youth Employment Service (YES). He said YES began as a result of the complaints of youth who were not able to find work.
The Minister said Government had to decide on the issues facing the education system and, “whether or not it is adequately preparing students to be able to assume certain responsibilities in the community.”
“That was the thought pattern we used to develop policies to ensure we provide an education system that properly equips our students to make a living for themselves…We also found out that we didn’t have an unemployment problem as much as we had a skills problem. We found that youth lacked the skills needed to be employed,” Honourable Walwyn added.
To that end, Honourable Walwyn said the Government revamped the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies and formed a stronger relationship with the business community to ensure students were being equipped with skills for the current job market.
YES connects unemployed youth between ages 16 and 30 with job opportunities. The programme also prepares youth for employment by recommending skill development through training or formal education.
Vini Kozé, which means ‘Come Chat’ in Creole, was held at Tortola Pier Park on Friday, January 14 under the theme, “Education: Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders Today”.
Other panelists included CXC Registrar, Mr. Glenroy Cumberbatch; Founder of St. Kitts International Academy, Ms. Dale Amory; OECS student and education advocate, Jarnickae Wilson; and grassroots representative and teenage mom, Ms. Lyndel Smith.