#Providenciales, July 17, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – Government school teachers, parents and Ministry of Education staff will experience a greater investment in skills development due to the goals identified in the Education Sector Plan 2018-2022.
One of the key objectives of the Plan aims to improve the effectiveness of Governance, Leadership and Management at sectoral and institutional levels. Instituting a Board of Governors and establishing an Education Management Information System (OpenEMIS) throughout the entire public and private school system are the chief targets as the Ministry of Education moves towards the accomplishment of SI #2.
The Education Sector Plan indicates that : “Many schools do not have a strong and effective Governance system with an active Board of Governors or Parent/ Teachers Association. It is important that Boards of Governors are established for enhanced community ownership, oversight, strategic planning, administrative support, performance monitoring and resource mobilisation.”
Some of the goals of the Education Sector Plan 2018-2022 call for the revision of the Education Ordinance to provide for school governing bodies; to develop a standard Board of Governors constitution as a guideline to be adopted in public schools; to develop a public school Board of Governors/Management Handbook; to appoint Boards of Governors in Public Schools/school cluster; to offer sound and transparent governance of the education system and to develop and approve the Education Regulations. It is also envisaged that there will be strengthening and improvement of the Education Advisory Committee (EAC).
Greater scrutiny of the education profession and its professionals are key to achievingthe objectives of the Education Sector Plan 2018-2022. Restructuring, revisioning and developing will work in tandem to execute the strategy. The Education Sector Plan obligates the Ministry of Education to: “Strengthen the capacity of key units within the Ministry and Department of Education to effectively discharge their roles and responsibilities. This has included strengthening the capacity, role and responsibilities of the: Policy and Planning Unit, Curriculum Development Unit, Registrar of Examinations Unit and Early Childhood Unit.”
The Education Management Information System, OpenEMIS, is likely to be among the most notable revolutions toward improving education in the Turks and Caicos Islands. With the support of the European Union through the EDF 11 funding, consultants have been hired to engineer software and provide expert advice on the use of data for managing education reform.
In the continued roll out of the information system there has been training to manage the software and manipulating comprehensive statistical data for best understanding of the Education Sector, its actors, its beneficiaries and their performances. The Ministry of Education, as with each of its eight Strategic Imperatives is monitoring the activities for fully realizing this strategy.
“Improving the Education System in the TCI…..Together we can do it”
MP’s Graduate with Parliamentary Governance Certificates
January 18, 2022 – The Caribbean Democrat Union (CDU), in partnership with the Conservatives Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Programme, held an Online Graduation Ceremony on Friday January 14th 2022 for fifteen (15) Members of Parliament who successfully completed a one year certificate programme in Parliamentary Governance with McGill University in Canada.
This professional development certificate programme is recognized by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and provided MP’s with important theoretical and practical knowledge in executing their roles and responsibilities as legislators. Sponsorship for the MP’s was provided by the Conservatives WFD Programme.
The successful graduates included:
- Tracy Panton– MP Albert, UDP, Belize
- Shyne Barrow – MP, Mesopotamia, UDP, Belize
- Senator Hon. Sheena Pitts – UDP, Belize
- Kerensia Morrison – MP St. Catherine North Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
- Tova Hamilton – MP, Trelawny Northern, JLP, Jamaica
- Dr. Michelle Charles – MP, St. Thomas Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
- Tamika Davis – MP, Hanover Western, JLP, Jamaica
- Rhoda Crawford – MP, Manchester Central, JLP, Jamaica
- Anne Marie Vaz – MP, Portland Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
- Krstyal Lee – MP, St. Anne North Western, JLP, Jamaica
- Robert Miller – MP St. Catherine South Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
- Heroy Clarke – MP, St. James Central, JLP, Jamaica
- Dwight Sibblies – MP, Clarendon Northern, JLP, Jamaica
- Morland Wilson – MP, Westmoreland Western, JLP, Jamaica
- Senator Hon. Shevern John – NDP, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
The Online Graduation Ceremony was attended by The Most Hon. Andrew Holness Prime Minister of Jamaica, Maria Miller Conservative MP UK, Dr. Hon. Godwin Friday Leader of the Opposition St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Patrick Faber Leader of the Opposition Belize, Carola Weil Dean of Continuing Studies McGill University, Nick Francis Secretary General CDU, and other officials from the UK Conservative Party’s International Department and Faculty and Staff from McGill University.
Mr. Nick Francis in his remarks at the ceremony noted that this initiative was birthed through greater engagement and consultation with stakeholders in the region in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and he was grateful to the administrators at McGill University for partnering with the CDU and the Conservatives WFD Programme to make this online training possible.
Hon. Patrick Faber and Dr. Hon. Godwin Friday extended congratulations to the graduates and expressed gratitude to the Conservatives WFD Programme, the CDU and McGill University on this successful collaboration to enhance parliamentary democracy in their respective countries.
A second cohort of trainees will commence the Parliamentary Governance Certificate with McGill University in March of this year and will include young prospective MP’s.
Dean of Continuing Studies at McGill University Carola Weil extended congratulations to the fifteen (15) MP’s for successfully completing the yearlong certificate programme in Parliamentary Governance and noted that this was an “important step towards the continuation of good governance and democracy around the world”
In addressing the graduates at the ceremony, Prime Minster the Most Hon. Andrew Holness noted his expectations that the training received will help to inform their advocacy, guide their involvement in policy development, and “contribute to a new cadre of political representatives that will always strive for the highest standards of excellence in governance, in parliamentary practice, and in political representation.”
Conservative MP Maria Miller UK in a pre-recorded message to the graduates (the majority being new female MP’s) noted that in light of the challenges facing women in politics, “the Conservative WFD Programme is committed to strengthening democracy by creating a much more inclusive, accountable and transparent political system.”
Press Release: CDU
Education Minister announces Platinum Partnerships for internet and tablet program amidst COVID surge
By Shaniek Smith
#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – Schools did not resume in person learning in the Turks and Caicos on January 4, instead it was back to virtual classes for 7,400 children in the British overseas territory due to an omicron-driven surge in Covid-19 infections.
It was announced on the New Year’s Day holiday for TCI, January 3 in a press conference hosted by Rachel Taylor, the Minister of Education, and attended by Jamell Robinson, Minister of Health and supported by Premier Washington Misick, who was also at the live event.
In a promised update, parents got the not-so-good-news, virtual classes would resume at least until the end of January due to the surge and staff shortages being experienced. Turks and Caicos, up to Thursday January 14 had over 800 active cases, five new deaths and a 600 per cent increase in hospitalisations. The Minister said the decision was in the interest of safety.
The Minister also promised to get devices and internet to students in order for them to participate in learning during this virtual-only season. The press conference on January 13, welcomed partners Flow, Digicel and the Pine Cay Project.
In her address, chair of the Pine Cay Project, Marie Landel, said that an urgent call from Dr. Carlton Mills, a member of their board of trustees revealed that about 750 students would be without internet connection and devices.
The Pine Cay Project responded to that information and has agreed to pay for internet for 30 days students, with its partner in the initiative, DigicelTCI. It is an $18,000 investment in education continuity for hundreds of children.
“We had strong discussions on what we should do with the money that we collect every year, so yesterday we agreed to the funding in emergency situation of 300 internet connections and devices that are going to help the students in need, and we’re very proud to be able to act quickly,” Landel expressed.
Additionally, the Marketing Manager at Digicel TCI, Mr Drexler Smith, said Digicel has partnered with the Ministry of Education to provide about 1,000 tablets for public schools. Smith added that 75 MiFi devices valued at 7,000 dollars were provided; they come with free data services for up to three months for students in need.
Digicel has also created a special education plan for e-learning with specific zero-rated sites and applications. The company partnered with Pine Cay and other private entities in this regard. Various schools and educational facilities in South Caicos, Five Cays, and Providenciales have benefitted from laptops, data plans, MiFi’s, and e-learning kits.
Marketing Executive Flow TCI, Darron Hilaire, also shared the contributions Flow made to the education sector since the pandemic.
“Within the last three years, Flow TCI, through our charitable foundation, would have donated $130,000 worth of ICT equipment to 2 schools respectively in Grand Turk and in Providenciales for the outfitting of the new computer labs to help facilitate the ministry’s vision to foster an efficient e-learning environment for students,” he said.
Mr. Hilaire added that within the first year of the pandemic, Flow responded to requests from the Ministry to increase the bandwidth to public schools in the TCI. Hilaire said Flow home internet speed doubles automatically at no cost to its customers in early July.
He said that within the last 60 days, Flow TCI announced a recent donation of $25,000 dollars to two schools in North Caicos and one in Providenciales. The donation was in aid of increasing connectivity and infrastructural upgrades.
“As we come to the end of this phase of the project, our objective is to look at doing the same for other schools in the second phase of the projects to further arm our schools with the access to technology to provide the best quality education to students,” Hilaire added.
Amanyara Resort, not present at the press event, was said to be working on additional laptops for hundreds of children despite having already donated to several schools in Providenciales.
Minister Rachel Taylor and her team, including Eugene Grant, ICT Education Officer at the Ministry of Education and Mark Garland, Deputy Director of Education thanked the donors; they were labelled Platinum Partners by the Minister.
Government apologizes to Churches for NEW Covid-19 Testing rule
#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – The TCI Government is apologizing for including the Church in a new raft of restrictions which mandates unvaccinated congregants be tested in order to be allowed to attend church events however, there is no change in the rule. The rule is now delayed start for another two weeks following an announcement issued by the Ministry of Health on Thursday evening.
The apology came from Premier Washington Misick in a statement late Wednesday, where he apologized for bunching the church in with restaurants, lounges, bars and discotheques which also have to follow the regulation.
Church pastors speaking with Magnetic Media expressed shock at the announcement which was revealed, on Tuesday, as a cabinet approved decision which also includes mandatory testing for the unvaccinated to attend funerals.
While there has been no official statement from the Turks and Caicos Islands Christian Council or the Pastors Fraternity it was clear that some of the church community seemed prepared to stand firmly against the measure.
The Premier has promised that there will be consultation going forward; beckoning to Churches to comply with the temporary rule which he said would help to curb the latest surge of COVID-19 cases.
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