STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE SHARIE B. DE CASTRO
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, YOUTH AFFAIRS & SPORTS
SEVENTH SITTING OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE FOURTH
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
TUESDAY, 25TH OCTOBER, 2022
UPDATE ON SECONDARY SUMMER SCHOOL 2022
Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to update this Honourable House on the Secondary Summer School Initiative, 2022. Before giving the results, I would like to give a brief background. There was a total of two hundred and twenty-two (224) students enrolled in Grade 12 at public secondary schools. Of the total, one hundred and sixty-eight (168) students or seventy-give percent (75%) were successful and fifty-six (56) or twenty-five percent (25%) were unsuccessful in completing their secondary level graduation requirements.
With about twenty-five percent (25%) of the graduating class not meeting graduation requirements, this was cause for concern. On close examination of the students’ results, it was noted that the majority of these Grade 12 students were missing one or two components of the graduation requirements, either credits in a subject or subjects, failing one subject for the Exit Proficiency Examination (EPE) or a combination of both. It was therefore determined that running a summer school programme for four weeks for the month of July where students could have a concentrated time to work on the one or two areas would be beneficial. It would give the students the opportunity to complete their high school journey and receive their secondary school diploma rather than return to secondary school for another year.
Against that backdrop, the four-week intensive session for the students in the various subject areas began on July 5, 2022. The summer school programme was opened to students not only in Grade 12 but all students in both Grades 11 and 12 of the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS), the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS) and the Bregado Flax Educational Centre (BFEC) Secondary Division, requiring credits in two or less subjects, in need of passing the EPE or a combination of one credit subject and one EPE subject. The students from VISTS and ESHS attended sessions at the ESHS campus in Pasea Estate. On Virgin Gorda, sessions were held at BFEC Secondary. Giving the Grade 11 students the opportunity, allowed them to begin recovering credits at an earlier stage and it put these students in a better position when they entered Grade 12.
Madam Speaker, students had to register and along with their parents, sign a commitment form to attend all sessions and to comply with all the expectations for the summer school. There were thirty (30) students enrolled in English, eight (8) in Mathematics, seventeen (17) in Business subjects, seventeen (17) in social sciences, fourteen (14) in the sciences, nine (9) in technical subjects, one (1) in Physical Education, three (3) in EPE English and ninety (90) in EPE Mathematics.
Madam Speaker, fifteen (15) teachers provided intense intervention in the selected subject areas at the secondary level. Of the one hundred and eighty-nine (189) students registered, one hundred and thirty-seven (137) students attended and completed the sessions as scheduled. Fourteen (14) students attended from Bregado Flax Educational Centre in Virgin Gorda, twenty-two (22) students attended from the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies and one hundred and one (101) students attended from the Elmore Stoutt High School.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased that the Ministry was able to run this summer school programme and the students who took advantage of the opportunity of the summer sessions and those who took their work seriously for the duration of the classes, were successful. I applaud the students Madam Speaker. I also take this opportunity to commend the fifteen (15) teachers who took the time to engage these students and guide them towards their success.
From the Elmore Stoutt High School, sixty-three (63) students did classes for the Exit Proficiency Exam (EPE) and forty-two (42) students were successful. For the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies, nine (9) students did the EPE and five (5) students were successful and from the Bregado Flax Educational Centre Secondary Division, fourteen (14) students did the EPE and ten (10) students were successful. This amounts to a sixty-six percent (66%) pass rate for the Exit Proficiency Exam Summer Sitting. The majority of the students needed to pass the Exit Proficiency Exam in Mathematics.
Madam Speaker, there were forty-two (42) students from the Elmore Stoutt High School and the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies who attended summer school because they were failing one or two subjects for the school year. Of the forty-two (42) students, thirty-six (36) students were successful in passing the subjects that they were registered for. This shows an eighty-five percent (85%) success rate for students’ credit recovery.
Madam Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, there were fifty-six (56) Grade 12 students at the end of last school year who were unsuccessful in completing their secondary level graduation requirements. I am so pleased to share that because of the summer school programme, forty-two (42) of those students were able to successfully complete their graduation requirements and were able to receive their high school diploma by the end of the summer. This included thirty-five (35) students from the Elmore Stoutt High School, three (3) students from the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies and four (4) students from the Bregado Flax Educational Center Secondary Division. Madam Speaker, I commend these amazing young people for their diligence and perseverance and I wish them well in their continued educational pursuits and out in the world of work.
Madam Speaker, what was a new initiative this year with the summer school programme was to engage students from Grade 11 in summer classes. In the past, the summer session accommodated Grade 12 students only. This year, grade 11 students were also able to utilize this concentrated period of time to focus on successfully completing a credit or EPE requirement. I see this as a step in the right direction. As we move forward with reform, the updated policy for credit recovery and summer programmes will reflect this adjustment.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports remains steadfast in its commitment to the development of the Territory’s youth. This initiative is just one of the many ways we seek to support our students’ needs and help them to achieve their God-given potential.
Thank you Madam Speaker.