Charlestown-Nevis- A brief but very significant ceremony was held at the Education Department in Nevis, on Friday 7th October.
It was the handing over ceremony of some much needed micro science kits by the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) to the Education Department, for use in the Primary and Secondary schools on the island.
The ceremony was ably chaired by Education Officer responsible for Sciences, Mr. Shefton Liburd who noted that one of the products put in place by his Department, is equipping schools for success in sciences. He pointed out that the acquisition of the kits will give the students a hands on approach to the learning of science.
He thanked BNTF and the UNESCO for assisting in the project and stated that the kits were geared to the following subjects: Biology, Integrated Science; Basic and Advanced Chemistry and basic Physics. He also pointed out that all of the Primary and Secondary schools on the island, will benefit from the use of the kits.
His counterpart in St. Kitts, Mr. Alston Strawn, who is the Science Coordinator at the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU), then gave an overview of the project.
He stated that in order for the nation to remain sustainable, heavy investment must be placed in Science, Technology and Mathematics. He indicated that Science and Technology are on the curriculum in all of the schools but that most of the Primary schools do not have the required lab space and necessary equipment. As a result, a lot of children lose interest in the sciences, by the time they get to Secondary school.
He then elaborated on the three phases of the project:
- Expose teachers to micro science kits training. This was commenced compliments of UNESCO.
- Fifteen schools across the federation were selected for a pilot project.
- Full-fledged implementation of the program.
He revealed that the Education Department had acquired 545 micro science kits for use in 15 schools in the Federation.
The kits will be used to teach Science and Technology in the Primary schools and Integrated Science, Biology, Physics and Chemistry in the Secondary schools.
As a result, the Education Department is expecting to see gains in terms of improvement in passes in these areas. A strict evaluation and monitoring process will also be put in place.
Coordinator of BNTF on Nevis, Mr. Alsted Pemberton, explained that his institution started in 1979 and is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank-95% and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis-5%.
The program seeks to provide resources to poor communities in order to improve access to basic services; enhance employment and reduce social vulnerability. Effectively, this will serve to increase productivity and income of unemployed and under employed persons and improve the general standard of living.
He further stated that the BNTF had acquired funding for the project, to the tune of US 39,559.00 or EC 106,613.00.
The kits cost EC 53,709.68 and the balance of the money will be used in the training of Teachers and in the monitoring and evaluation process of the project.
He was happy to report that BNTF has also received approval to implement four other projects:
- STEP UP-a literacy program
- Bathroom renovations at the Jocelyn Liburd Primary School
- Additional class rooms at the Gingerland Secondary School
- Construction of a lunch room at the Cecely Browne Integrated School (CBIS)
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Mr. Keith Glasgow, then officially handed over the kits to Permanent Secretary in The Ministry of Education, Mr. Wakeley Daniel. In making the presentation, he stated that learning by doing is essential and praised all of the parties involved in the project.
Mr. Daniel in turn, handed over the kits to an overjoyed Principal Education officer, Mrs. Palsy Wilkin, who stated that she was afraid that the community had lost that long time aspect of teaching, when the students learnt by touching and doing things. She stated that success starts with a basic foundation and so the use of the kits in the Primary school, will give the students there a basic grounding until they got to the Secondary school.
She thanked all of the individuals who played key roles in making the project a reality.
The various representatives of the six schools involved in the pilot project, then collected the kits for their respective schools.
Mr. Shefton Liburd then elaborated on the distribution of the kits:
St. Thomas’ -21
He pointed out that the recommended ratio was one kit to five students.
Mrs. Sharielle Hanley-Merchant then delivered the vote of thanks.