Nineteen (19) students will go down in history as the first to receive secondary education on the island of Canouan.
On September 2, the start of the new school year, Minister of Education, St. Clair Jimmy Prince, along with parliamentary representative for the Southern Grenadines, Terrance Ollivierre and Director of Grenadines Affairs, Edwin Snagg, as well as other officials from the Ministry of Education went to Canouan to share the historic moment with the community.
Addressing a brief ceremony held at the temporary location for the school, Mr. Ollivierre said it was a very emotional time for him as for years the people of Canouan have been struggling and pleading for this to happen. He urged the parents to support the children to ensure that the school could be ranked among the best in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the future. He also thanked the government and the investors for making this dream a reality.
Mr. Snagg in his remarks said although pleads were made for years and some may think that it took a long time for secondary education to come to Canouan, he believes that this is the right time. He made special mention of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves for having the political will to take such a bold step. “Is one thing to talk about it, is another thing to implement it,” he said.
In response to criticisms of the decision to start a secondary school on the island as a waste of resources Mr. Snagg said: “There are many other areas in which resources are wasted; there is no wasted resource when it comes to children.” He also commended the investors for partnering with the government in making this a reality.
Minister Prince also described the moment as emotional, adding that it is also historic and significant as it is the first time that the option of receiving secondary education on the island is open to the people of Canouan.
“First time in the history of education in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that you are having a secondary school on Canouan, first time in the history of Canouan you are having a secondary school. It is significant because you the students are the vanguards of secondary education here in this country. Thank you very much for being a part of history,” he said.
Mr Prince said that the introduction of secondary education on the island of Canouan is part of the education revolution being carried out by the government. “The amount of money spent in bringing you secondary education here can’t be too much. It is a beautiful pillar of this education revolution,” he told the gathering.
He said no thanks is too great for Mr. Archille Pastor Ris who represents the developer, Andrea Pignataro for making this wish possible.
The minister said as major stakeholders on the island, they have accepted their corporate responsibility by partnering with the government in assuring that the youngsters on Canouan get a secondary education.
According to him, education is a right in this country and government is spending over 130 million dollars this year on education alone and more will be spent as they have nearly 50 scholarships to hand out to students.
The school building, currently under construction is expected to be completed early next year and will also provide other areas of learning for the general public.