Leader of the opposition Dr Godwin Friday has criticized the current government’s approach of appointing graduates to their right positions and employing some through the government’s Support for Education and Training (SET) programme.
Launched in March 2014 with 106 graduates from universities and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community
College, The SET programme began with an EC$1.5 million budget funded by Petrocaribe and a number of Caribbean governments. Under the programme, graduates are attached to central government and statutory agencies.
Participants who graduated with A’ Level and associate degree qualifications received a stipend of EC$1,100 per
month, and those with university degrees received EC$2,200.
Dr Friday’s criticism of not appointing graduates quickly and pushing some through the SET programme came in an
interview Friday afternoon, days after the issue was raised at a joint press conference by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU) and the Public Service Union (PSU).
At the joint press conference at the SVGTU’s headquarters at Mc Kie’s Hill, SVGTU president Wendy Bynoe stated:
“We have questioned that as well because we think, to us, it’s austerity measures.”
The union’s president said that some of the teachers who have a degree are appointed as Teacher 1. She noted that a teacher with a degree is “certainly a graduate teacher” and that “there are a number of teachers who arebelow their grade level and stay there for a number of years.”
Dr Friday in his interview said that “teachers should be appointed as teachers.”
“And what we would do, is certainly teachers who are qualified and have the requisite training to become teachers
they shouldn’t have to wait two-three years to be appointed. They should be appointed to their position when they
return. Because, we encourage them to go and study, to upgrade themselves and to get better qualifications, better
skills to come and teach our children. When they come back they should be promoted pretty much immediately,” Dr
The Leader of the Opposition also stated: “As to persons who are being put into the SET programme, this is not a
solution to the unemployment situation in the country. It’s an opportunity for people to get some on-the-job training
and so on – that’s quite a different matter. But, when it becomes a substitute for finding work for people then it’s
unacceptable, it’s not the way to go.”
Government authorities have said that the aim of the SET programme is to provide aplatform for recent graduates
of recognised universities and the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, for them to obtain
relevant work experience within the public sector and other areas for future employment and that it is for a period of