BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (EMU) — The Ministry of Education welcomed a new addition to its fleet of Hyundai School Buses when His Excellency Park Dong-sil Ambassador of the Republic of Korea handed the bus over on Wednesday March 19.
Honorary Consul of the Republic of Korea Mr. Thomas Williams in chairing the event stated that thirty years after forging strong diplomatic ties with the Republic of Korea, the Federation’s Education sector was still benefitting exponentially from the “Hyundai Highway”; an affectionately dubbed description of Korea’s continuous contribution of Hyundai school buses to St. Kitts and Nevis.
“There is nothing that can match the multiplier effect of our (Korea) efforts in Education. The buses which have been contributed over the years have taken many of our intellectuals and academics to higher heights, said Mr. Williams. “I have, from my nineteen years of experience in Education, seen the development of many youth from throughout the country who have taken the ‘Hyundai Highway’ from Home to School.“
Chief Education Officer Ms. Clarice Cotton was exuberant in her expression of gratitude for the new bus revealing that the use of school bus transportation was one element of a progressive Education strategy, employed by St. Kitts and Nevis years ago, being the first country in the Eastern Caribbean to provide Universal Secondary Education.
She further revealed that prior to that stipulation only an elite few would gain access to secondary Education. “The Bus system assisted children in attending secondary school and provided many benefits for parents and students alike,” said the Chief Education Officer. “These,” she said, “included greater security and supervision of children being transported to school and savings on the cost of transportation.”
The Chief Education Officer as she thanked Ambassador Dong-sil, also expressed gratitude to the committed school bus drivers who had had to be creative in transporting children to school earlier this year when a few of the existing buses broke down.
In response, His Excellency Ambassador Park Dong-sil confirmed his country’s commitment to good relations with the Federation emphasizing the long standing nature of the relationship. “Korea was the first country which recognized the nationhood of St. Kitts and Nevis on that day of your declaration of Independence.”
The ambassador also promised to do all in his power to ensure that the Federation gets another school bus later this year.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Patrice Nisbett reflecting on the significant benefits of bilateral relations between St. Kitts and Nevis and The Republic of Korea expressed appreciation and well wishes to His Excellency Ambassador Park Dong-sil whose tenure in this region is nearing completion.
“Your efforts in fostering and consolidating bi-lateral relations have been extra-ordinary because of your dedication and cooperation on behalf of your government with our non-resident Ambassador His Excellency Errol Maynard and Honorary Consul Mr. Thomas Williams as well as The Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Today we receive a 45 passenger school bus to enhance the fleet that we are currently utilizing. Coincidently buses already in the existing fleet were donated by the republic of Korea.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs further highlighted that cooperation and support transcends tangible grant aid and includes support in the multilateral arena for countries like the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of Korea that are challenged by adversities such as climate change.
Hon Patrice Nisbett further informed that in recent times the republic of Korea has offered training in the area of Information Technology, specifically; E Government, Language development, Climate Change Mitigation and Tourism.