The education system in SVG is still failing children from poor families, as most of these children miss out on valuable pre-school education. The ULP regime’s so-called ‘education revolution’ has failed. Many children of the poor do not do as well as they could do at secondary school, because they have been denied a solid foundation of education and learning at the pre-school level.
We need more pre-schools in SVG. Every child should have the opportunity to get a good start (at the pre-school level) to their educational journey. The lack of pre-schools is perpetuating the gap between the educational achievements of children from poor families compared to children of more wealthy families.
It has been well documented that pre-schools help children to grow and develop in many different ways.
Firstly, they help children to socialise and meet both other children and adults. This is a very important stage in a child’s personal development. Secondly, they help children to learn through play and games. They can learn things like counting, sorting, colours and numbers whilst they are playing.
In the UK, all children aged three and four years old are eligible for a free pre-school place. The government has a duty to ensure that enough places are available for all three and four-year-olds.
Children in SVG are being left behind because of the lack of pre-schools. Compared to children in the UK, most children in SVG are being denied a solid foundation to their education. It should be the duty of the SVG government to ensure that there are enough pre-school places available for all three and four-year-olds, provided free of charge.
Research in the UK shows that a pre-schooled child has more chance of getting better exam results, and ultimately, earning higher wages. The Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary (EPPSE) research shows children who go to pre-school are projected to earn EC$108,000 more during their career than those who do not.
Sam Gyimah, former UK Education and Childcare Minister, said ‘Before they have even worn their school uniform for the first time, a child’s life chances are being decided. Early education not only sets a child off on the right foot at school, but has effects that last right into the workplace. No child should start school behind their peers’.
Preschool is a crucial period in the development of children. Children whose parents cannot afford to send them to preschool are being left behind in education. Preschool should be free, as many poor parents cannot afford school fees, school uniforms, school books and other school equipment for their children.
SVG can acquire about 2 billion dollars a year in revenue overnight, by taking back our fish licence from Taiwan and setting up our own tuna fishing and canning industry. We could then invest 1 billion dollars a year in providing our children with world-class, high-quality education from pre-school to university, free of charge.
Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal, BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, believes that education is the means to eradicating poverty, creating employment and reducing crime. Education empowers the individual and society as a whole. Our present education system is inadequate. Education is a universal right – we mustn’t fail the children of the poor any longer!