REMARKS BY MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, CULTURE, YOUTH AFFAIRS, FISHERIES AND AGRICULTURE
HONOURABLE NATALIO D. WHEATLEY
THE GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION WORKSHOP (GCED)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2019
As Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture it gives me great pleasure today to applaud UNESCO’s efforts in guiding the Education 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals. In particular Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) today where we have been charged along with the rest of the World to “ensure that all learners are provided with the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”
We know that Global Citizenship Education encompasses learning on the cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural levels and while we are extremely excited about our learners reaching their educational goals through these avenues, we are elated by the work that has already been done by our educators to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goal 4 is achieved. As a past educator I am aware of the challenges that trainers face in energizing some
students to achieve but am also cognizant of their capabilities and of how rewarding it is when they achieve at the highest levels.
Some of our Milestones in education that prove that we are committed to growth, development and building a stronger educational system are that we continue our professional days for teaching staff where time is given to professional instruction for teachers. While we have good reading skills across the Territory, our quest is to implement programs to ensure that it reaches an exceptional level.
We held a successful Reading Is Fun Week a few weeks ago where reading was encouraged and cemented our quest of building reading skills for our students. Reading throughout the year will continue to be a priority. We are now teaching our students French and this is a move in the right direction, especially with the expansion of the tourism industry. We rave at that fact that our students in Grade 12 have completed six or more Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams, inclusive of Math and English and those full-time students who are eligible to study Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) subjects as an equivalent college course.
We experienced many challenges after Hurricanes Irma and Maria where many of our students were displaced and were not functioning in a full eight hour day of school. We have now remedied that situation and are building on just being greater than we were before. We are remedying the rebuilding of schools one school at a time as was seen with the recent completion of Elmore Stoutt High School L shaped building. We have also continued to move into some of our other schools which were damaged and are now better than before.
I have mentioned just a few of these milestones because they are all critical in advancing Global Citizenship Education in this Territory and addressing the Sustainable Development Goal 4. I will close in saying that Sustainable Development Goal 4 is not just about eensuring inclusive and equitable quality education. It is not just about promoting lifelong learning opportunities for our students and; it is not just about the role of business as it relates to education. For the BVI Sustainable Development Goal 4 is fundamentally important for the achievement of sustainable development in the future of these Islands and our people.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank UNESCO and our facilitators from overseas, Ms. Latoya Swaby Anderson and Ms. Romina Kasman for sharing and also to congratulate the BVI National Commission for UNESCO Secretary General, Dr. Allison Flax-Archer for the work that she continues to do at the BVI Secretariat. After this workshop, we hope to be better equipped to address initiatives that can be utilized in advancing the goals and strategies that will propel the Sustainable Development Goal 4.