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TCI Gov’t Allocates $4 Million to Daycare, Afterschool & Feeding Programs 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2023 – School lunches will soon come at no cost to some students thanks to just one program in the suite of social support approved by Cabinet to stand alongside the new Minimum
Wage increase.

The three programs; a National School Nutrition Program; National Day Care Program and an After School Program; will cost the government $4 million and apply to varying groups of TCI residents.

The National School Nutrition Program

Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education explained that this program would be accessible in all public schools and piloted in two private institutions but not all students will get the free lunches. Edgar Howell, Director of Education explained the temporary selection process determining who would qualify for meals. Parameters included:

  • All students irrespective of their nationality and social background including children who live in foster care, state homes or children who live in families that receive benefits from the department of social development;
  • Children whose parents live below the poverty line;
  • Children who teachers, guidance counsellors and other school administrators have observed do not bring a packed lunch or do not have money to purchase lunch at school and;
  • Children who have consistently demonstrated that they do not have access to a balanced meal or nutritious lunch or snack.

National Daycare Program

This Program will only be available to Belonger families in the Turks and Caicos with children – 3 years old  – who have an annual income below $25,000 or below the minimum wage.

Unemployed parents who can show evidence of being registered with the Labour Department will also qualify. Foster care cases and wards of the state and the children of teachers will also benefit.

Taylor maintained that legislative amendments would be undertaken to ensure that the Centres were up to par and care was standardised across the country. In addition to that, a course to qualify daycare operators and caregivers will soon be offered by the TCI Community College, also in an effort to standardise care.

The After School Program

Open to all teachers and students of public schools across the islands, this program will depend on present and retired teachers to operate it, with an extra $500 on paychecks as their incentive. Interested students will have to register for the program which will be 2 hours long beginning directly after the end of school and lasting until 5 pm each day

“It will not only cater to academic support but will be varied in its delivery” Howell explained  “we will deliver music and drama; sports and cultural classes; debate and public speaking training”

The program will run from Mondays to Thursdays weekly and all facilitators will have to take part in a mandatory child safeguarding program before they can begin teaching.

All programs are scheduled to begin with the advent of the next school year; which is September 2023.

Education

MEMBERS OF THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ATTEND ASCD 2024 CONFERENCE

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The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Education proudly announces the successful participation of its esteemed members at the prestigious Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) 2024 conference in Washington DC. The delegation, comprised of Education Officers, Principals, and specialized teacher groups, showcased their dedication to excellence in education and commitment to staying abreast of cutting-edge methodologies.

The conference, held from March 22-25th 2024 served as a platform for educators worldwide to converge, exchange ideas, and delve into the latest trends shaping the educational landscape. Among the driving topics that garnered significant attention were Universal Design for Learning (UDL), differentiation strategies, and the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in educational practices.

The delegation from the Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Education had an enriching experience at the ASCD 2024 conference, participating in discussions and workshops on Early Childhood, School Safety, UDL, differentiation, and AI technology has equipped them with invaluable insights and tools to enhance teaching and learning outcomes in their schools.

The conference provided a forum for educators to explore innovative approaches to curriculum development, instructional design, and student engagement. Members of the delegation seized the opportunity to network with international counterparts, fostering collaborations that will further enrich the educational landscape of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The ASCD 2024 conference was said to be a truly enlightening experience. The team returned home inspired and empowered to implement new strategies that will cater to the diverse needs of our students while harnessing the potential new skills and technology to personalize learning experiences.

Hon Taylor Minister of Education added ” I commend and fully support our teachers’ participation in the ASCD 2024 conference. Investing in professional development opportunities like this not only enhances the skills and knowledge of our educators but also contributes significantly to the ongoing development of our human capital. The returns on this investment directly impact our educational landscape, fostering a more dynamic and effective learning environment for all stakeholders involved.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Education extends its gratitude to ASCD for organizing a dynamic and impactful conference and looks forward to continued collaboration with educators worldwide to shape the future of education.

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Caribbean News

Media Release: St. Nicholas University Champions Diversity in Caribbean Veterinary Medicine

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St. Nicholas University School of Veterinary Medicine (SNU) is implementing a targeted initiative to increase diversity within the veterinary profession in the Caribbean, focusing on attracting and supporting students from the Caricom region. This effort addresses a documented and drastic lack of diversity in the regional field, where Caribbean, Black, and Minority individuals – often from lower-income communities – are significantly under-represented. This under-representation can limit access to veterinary care for diverse communities.

SNU has established several programs to address this disparity. Their Veterinary Medicine Scholarship Program offers financial assistance specifically to Caricom students with academic merit and a demonstrated commitment to serving under-served communities.

Additionally, the university’s Mentorship Program pairs incoming Caribbean students with experienced Caribbean faculty members, providing them with guidance and support throughout their academic journey. These programs are resonating with students from under-represented backgrounds. An Aboriginal/Black student from the USA, Will B., exemplifies this. “After graduating from SNU I plan on returning to the U.S and starting an outreach program in an effort to show under-represented groups in my community that becoming a veterinarian is possible with universities like SNU, no matter how unlikely it may seem in their world” – he explains.

SNU’s commitment extends to faculty recruitment. The university actively seeks to recruit and retain Caribbean faculty members, creating a learning environment that reflects the real world of veterinary medicine.

This dedication to diversity has garnered international recognition. Recently, a delegation from the Jamaica Veterinary Board (JVB) visited SNU in Dominica to assess the program. “I see an emerging university that is propelling change for our region. We are impressed by SNU’s focus on inclusion, and that is the message that will be taken back to our board and to the Government of Jamaica” said Dr. Mattocks, a JVB representative. This assessment will help simplify St. Nicholas University graduates register as veterinary professionals back home.

“We are working to increase the number of veterinarians willing to serve in under-served communities,” says Dr. Naderkhani, President of St. Nicholas University. “We also emphasize additional qualities in our future veterinarians, such as compassion for animals. This, in turn, can contribute to improved veterinary care quality in various low-income communities.”

SNU students volunteering at St. Nicholas Animal Rescue to send rescued dogs on a Wings of Rescue flight to their new homes.

Despite ongoing efforts, SNU acknowledges the persistent challenges regarding diversity and inclusion within the veterinary profession. Systemic barriers, such as limited access to educational resources and financial constraints, can disproportionately impact students from many Caribbean backgrounds. The university recognizes the need for collaborative efforts to address these issues and works with external organizations to dismantle these barriers.

St. Nicholas University believes that a diverse and inclusive veterinary profession is essential to providing exceptional care for all animals and their companions. Through its commitment to attracting and supporting Caricom students, fostering a diverse faculty, and partnering with relevant organizations, the university strives to be a leader in promoting positive change within the field.

With the application period for the September 2024 class now open, St. Nicholas University invites passionate Caricom students to explore their veterinary dreams. To apply, visit www.snu.vet.


End of Release.

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Caribbean News

Jamaica teacher shortage 

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TeacherShortage#Jamaica#England, April 5 – Schools in England have increased the recruitment for qualified teachers from countries outside of Europe including Jamaica, worsening the country’s shortage in teachers, according to reports. Statistics show that in 2023, 1,100 work visas were issued to qualified secondary school teachers for England, more than the five hundred and fifty five issued in 2022 and the two hundred and five in 2021. From Jamaica alone, there were four hundred and eighty six qualified teachers in 2023, twice as many compared to 2022. Head teacher and President of the Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA), Leighton Johnson, reportedly highlighted that teacher shortages have been so severe to where positions were unfilled for more than a year and where retired, untrained and even teachers on vacation, were hired.

 

 

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