Information Officer II
Ministry of Education and Culture
Phone: 468-3107 Ext 3353
Minister for Education and Culture, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn has said that special needs education is number one on his ministry’s agenda and that he expects to see some significant progress made in this area.
Honourable Walwyn in his remarks at the Third Annual Book in the Park said he was very pleased to see that the differently abled students are being challenged and reiterated that the Government is doing what is necessary to “ensure that they have the opportunity to live a life of fullness, just like all of us”.
Minister Walwyn applauded the initiative with the Vanguard School in Florida, where Government has committed to sending two or three persons on scholarship each year, and stated that he has seen a transformation with the students from BVI who are pursuing studies at the institution.
While commenting on Book in the Park, Honourable Walwyn said, “Truth be told, we all have disabilities in one form or another. These students just learn differently. This is just an example of how they learn…but it doesn’t mean that they can’t do their best, it doesn’t mean that they cannot reach their fullest potential. It certainly behooves the Government to try our best to ensure they have a place in this society.”
Honourable Walwyn commended the school’s principal and education officers for their work and congratulated the members of the private sector who contributed to the event.
Principal, Mrs. Vansittart Huggins explained that student enrolment at the centre is predominantly male, stating, “It is our task to create an environment to promote their interest in reading and development of learning skills. To this end, reading will provide male oriented learning opportunities. We want them to have the adventures of exploring books.”
Mrs. Huggins said Book in the Park exposes the students to literature through listening to and watching videos about the story. She added that the students with special needs are advocating inclusion in every possible aspect.
Special Needs Education Officer, Mrs. Charisse Bynoe-Thomas stated that the Book in the Park is a different approach to literacy. She said it is active and creative, and will enhance the achievement of the students involved.
Mrs. Bynoe-Thomas said that having special needs is no barrier to literacy, and that there is no excuse to ensuring that all areas of our student population is literate, adding, “This is precisely why I lend my full support behind Book in the Park, which is a programme designed to support Reading is Fun Week.”
The education officer also said that at the beginning of the school year, the Minister charged educators with ensuring that inclusion becomes a part of the educational system and by extension the way of life. She added, “I pledge to support this process by working closely with all stakeholders to make this a reality.”
The Third Annual Book in the Park event at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park, saw students of the Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre and volunteers dramatising the story titled, ‘Alton, the Jolly Postman and other People’s Letters’ as part of the activities for Reading is Fun Week.
The Ministry of Education and Culture is committed to creating a “Culture of Excellence” in all the Territory’s educational institutions.