STATEMENT BY HON. SHARIE B. DE CASTRO
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, YOUTH AFFAIRS AND SPORTS
FOURTH SITTING OF THE FIFTH SESSION OF
THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
EDUCATION WEEK 2023
From March 13th to March 19th 2023, the Territory will pause to honour and celebrate the advancements made, and etch out solutions to the challenges faced in our Education system. Education Week 2023 will be celebrated under the theme “Virgin Islands Education: Moving Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead”.
At the start of this academic year, the Ministry of Education endeavoured to reimagine education in the Territory. The acronym S.T.E.A.M., which represents Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics - five key areas that comprise the movement in education to modernize pedagogical practices and foster the development of critical thinking, creativity, innovation and communication skills - is the driving force behind this reformation.
Through a plethora of activities and initiatives, like Innovation Week 2022, ongoing and targeted professional development for teachers, adjustment of time allotted for the teaching of Mathematics, securing additional funding for the procurement of technical resources and the training of new and aspiring school leaders, as Minister for Education, I say with pride that we are truly moving full S.T.E.A.M. ahead. I am both proud and excited to relay the events planned for Education Week 2023.
The week will begin with a short opening ceremony for the National Science Fair and STEAM Extravaganza which aims to showcase our students’ projects in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics scheduled for Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th March. The fair will also showcase artwork created by our students and feature performances to showcase their talents in dance, theatre, singing, and music. The public is invited to visit the National Science Fair at the Multipurpose Sports Complex on Tuesday 14th March from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
A feature of the week will take place on Monday 13th March from 6:00 p.m. at the Eileen L. Parsons Auditorium at HLSCC. At this town hall meeting style event - Reimagining Education in the Virgin Islands - local and regional experts will discuss the way forward for education in the territory.
The public is invited to attend this hallmark event where we will openly discuss the challenges faced by the sector and explore viable solutions. Specially invited guests include the Director General of the OECS, Dr. Diddacus Jules, the Minister of Education and Social Development of Anguilla, Hon. Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers and Dr. Jonte Myers, Professor of Special Education at Georgia State University.
On Wednesday 15th March, we invite the public to join us at the New Testament Church Hall from 10:00 a.m. to witness the finals of one of the best debate series our secondary students have put on. Elmore Stoutt High School and Claudia Creque Educational Centre will face off over the moot “Education without the inclusion of liberal arts is a threat to humanity.” At this event, we will also see the Impromptu Speech competition by several secondary students.
Innovation Day for Senior Students will also be held on Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.. Secondary Schools have been invited to bring a cohort of students from grades 10 - 12 to experience a day of robotics, engineering, technology, critical thinking and innovation. This event will also be held at the Multipurpose Sports Complex.
Thursday is devoted to our pre-primary students as we will have the Book Parade and the Pre-primary Games. Preschools and grades K-2 of our public and private primary schools are looking forward to showcasing books that they have read, enjoyed and recreated. The parade will begin at 9:00 a.m. and proceed from the Noel Lloyd Park to the A.O. Shirley Grounds. The Pre-primary Games, featuring students from grades K and 1 will be held in the Multipurpose Sports Complex from 11:00 a.m.
On Friday 17th March, our teachers will participate in the S.T.E.A.Mazing Race. This is a fun-filled event with thought-provoking challenges centred around the tenets of S.T.E.A.M. Several schools will participate in the event which kicks off from the Queen Elizabeth II Park at 1:00 p.m. sharp.
During the week, three parenting sessions will be held at our various secondary schools. These sessions are intended to support the development of positive parenting skills, and foster stronger parent/child relationships. On Tuesday 14th, the session will be held at VISTS and BFEC and on Thursday 16th, the session will be held at ESHS. All sessions will begin at 5:00 p.m., and we invite parents of the various secondary schools to attend.
One of the newest activities added to the week is the Education Week Community Outreach Project in support of the Family Support Network. Schools have been asked to collect one non-perishable food item from each student and staff member. These items will be donated to Family Support Network (FSN) on behalf of the Ministry of Education and its schools.
During the course of the week, schools will also host several activities to celebrate the successes in local education.
On Sunday 19th March, we will close out the week with an afternoon of celebration for all educators. Retirees from 2022, and those persons who have indicated their intent to retire at the end of this school year will be honoured at this event.
The celebration of Education Week is possible because of the hard work of our education officers and other support staff in the Ministry of Education, as well as the support received from the community for the various events. The Ministry of Education appreciates the support of its sponsors for this year’s education week activities and invites the public to get involved as we continue to move Virgin Islands Education full S.T.E.A.M. ahead.