The Senior Communications Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, Nicole Mc Donald, has said that the government of Saint Lucia was taken aback by recent comments from Saint Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU) President, Julian Monrose and has accused him of attempting to sow discord.
Monrose this week indicated that, among other things, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet sought to ridicule the professional qualifications of teachers, by indicating recently that the problem with the education system is that teachers are not sufficiently qualified.
‘I want to state categorically that the Prime Minister in no way by his comments in pointing out a deficiency in our education system, meant to ridicule teachers as Mr. Monrose has decided to state,’ Nicole Mc Donald asserted.
She expressed the view that the comments from the SLTU President were mischievious.
‘He is definitely trying to create some kind of discord by the way he interpreted the statements,’ Mc Donald said.
She asserted that there are issues with the local education system as all Saint Lucians are aware.
‘We know that the issues with our education system are multi-faceted and involve not just our teachers, they involve the actual physical structure of our schools, the learning environment and the curriculum,’ the Senior Communications Officer observed.
She said that the government continues to be devoted to reviewing, revamping and restructuring the education system.
‘This entails what we have said from the beginning, formulating a new curriculum – a new way forward, changing the way our students learn and also working with our teachers in terms of training opportunities and we must recognise a deficiency,’ Mc Donald remarked.
‘We have all seen the statistics in terms of the pass rate of our students going down, especially when it comes to our male students. These are things that our teachers and the government have to pay attention to,’ she told reporters.
Mc Donald observed that the problems cannot be addressed if people hide, shy away from them, or take offence.
‘We have to work on all these problems that are the root causes of some of the things that we are experiencing in our country today, including the crime situation,’ she explained.
Mc Donald asserted that education is one of the core areas which, if not addressed, can contribute to the increase in crime.
She said Prime Minister Chastanet’s comments regarding education were very clear in pointing out the deficiencies of the teaching system overall.
Mc Donald said Chastanet has always spoken ‘glowingly’ about ‘our teachers’ .
She declared that Chastanet has also spoken up on behalf of teachers in terms of the salaries that they receive and their working conditions.
Mc Donald recalled that ‘from the beginning’ the Allen Chastanet administration has always lamented over the state of schools in Saint Lucia.
She said the government has already committed to fixing several schools around the Island, although not having a new curriculum.
The Senior Communications Officer disclosed that in 2017, the government spent over one million dollars to fix some learning institutions.