#Providenciales, October 12, 2018 – Turks and Caicos – I am delighted to join the global community as we observe the International Day of the Girl Child using the theme With Her: A Skilled Girl Force. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting the empowerment of girls and the unique fulfillment of their human rights.
On 19 December 2011, the United Nations adopted a resolution to declare 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child. Since 2012, the day has been celebrated around the world. As Minister with responsibility for youth affairs, I support all efforts being made to promote, educate and agitate for the girl child. While we celebrate the fact that 71.4% of our Permanent Secretaries are females and females hold several key positions in the country, namely the Chief Justice, Premier, Deputy Governor and Attorney General, I acknowledge that there is still much work to be done so that girls are able to maximize their full potential.
We have taken the necessary steps to integrate skills education in the revised curriculum for Infant I to Grade 2 and will include these skills as the curriculum is being developed for Grade 3 to Grade 6. I agree with Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, that ‘we need to equip girls with transferable and lifelong skills such as critical thinking, creativity and digital awareness.’ This is what we hope to achieve through the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) and the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) programmes. Our children will have a range of pathways and choices through which they will develop the necessary skills and competencies to transition smoothly in a world of work driven by technology and innovation. Through child safeguarding, the child-friendly school framework and the Caribbean safe school initiative we will create an environment in which our children can thrive.
Through the Youth Listening Tours we gave our young people an opportunity to express themselves and share their concerns. During the sessions girls across the Turks and Caicos Islands were not afraid to share their views and contribute to a national dialogue about the issues affecting them and the changes they would like to see. The well-being of young people, especially the girl child, is important to me. Let this International Day of the Girl Child be a reminder to all of us to make sure that our girls develop the skills they need to fully participate in the workforce.