PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos, September 9, 2023 — With a country’s capacity to grow its own food strongly aligned to its development and national security, the Sandals Foundation has joined the Ministry of Education and the Department of Agriculture on its food security programme, ‘Let It Grow’, which will see the establishment of farms at all public and private schools in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
On Tuesday, August 29, Government officials and private sector representatives joined administrators at the Clement Howell High School as they launched the first school hydroponics system that will provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge that will foster not only an interest in agriculture but position the sector as a feasible alternative career choice.
“The Department of Education within the Ministry of Education is embarking on a project that seeks to establish farms in all public and private schools,” said Minister of Education Hon. Rachel Taylor
“This interdisciplinary approach, Hon. Taylor continued, “will help students learn how to produce their food and care for animals through farming while considering business opportunities in the field of Agriculture Science. Students will learn how to become self- sufficient, self-reliant, and value team and collaborative work.”
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation expressed delight at the newly established hydroponics system noting, “For the past few years, the Sandals Foundation has doubled down on its efforts to build the capacity of key community and educational organisations to grow more of their own food. This hydroponics system we hope will allow for more fresh fruits and vegetables for the school cafeteria while also having students learn new techniques while recognizing the value and reward of growing what they eat.”
Hydroponics farming technique provides for the growing of plants using a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil. The technology is especially advantageous in Turks and Caicos where soil types vary, significantly limiting produce output.
Shanta Seymour, Principal at the Clement Howell High School, says the hydroponics serve to lift the curriculum offering of the institution as Agricultural Sciences can be taught with a practical component. “We are grateful for the partnership from Sandals Foundation, the Beaches Turks and Caicos and the ministry of education. Public and private partnership within the educational landscape is inevitable and this event today is testament of the positive fruits that can be produced from this project which started with just a dream.”
The Clement Howell High hydroponics technology forms part of a wider investment of the Sandals Foundation-which includes the provision of irrigation systems, fertilizer, seed, soil and other agricultural input across 17 primary and high schools. The overall agricultural infrastructure is valued at some US $23,000 and was made possible through part support of the philanthropic organization’s partner – Coca Cola Latin America.
12 of the targeted 17 schools have already received support through Sandals Foundation including Thelma Lightbourne Primary, Shining Star Preparatory, and Louise Garland Thomas High School which all received irrigation systems; Iris Stubbs Primary and Marjorie Basden High schools which have received soil; and H.J. Robinson High, and Charles Hubert James Primary which have both received fertilizer.
Header: Elisann Delancy, from the Ministry of Education prepares to cut the ribbon for the opening of the hydroponic project while representatives from the Clement Howell High school, the Ministry of Education and the Sandals Foundation look on.
1st insert: Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, shares an overview of the project and the Foundation’s involvement in the grand opening of the hydroponic system at the Clement Howell High School.
2nd insert: Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation Heidi Clarke (left) and Hon. Rachel Taylor (centre) give a listening ear to Ministry of Agriculture Extension Officer Mario Smith shares with them information on the plants within the hydroponic shade house.
TCI Education Minister Celebrates World Teachers Day and Reaffirms Commitment to Reversing Teacher shortage
#TurksandCaicosIslands, October 5, 2023 –
On this auspicious occasion of World Teachers Day, marked on Thursday October 5, I, as the Minister of Education of the Turks and Caicos, extends my warmest greetings and heartfelt appreciation to all the dedicated teachers who tirelessly contribute to shaping the minds of our future generations.
This year’s theme, “The Teachers We Need for the Education We Want: The Global Imperative to Reverse the Teacher Shortage,” highlights the critical need to address the shortage of teachers and ensure an education system that meets the needs of our students.
Teachers are the pillars of our society, shaping the minds and futures of our children. They play a vital role in nurturing their potential, instilling values, and equipping them with the skills necessary to thrive in an evolving world. However, we are faced with the challenge of a teacher shortage, which demands urgent attention and proactive measures.
Acknowledging the importance of this issue, the Ministry of Education is committed to reversing the teacher shortage and enhancing the quality of education in the Turks and Caicos Islands. We recognize that investing in our teachers is paramount to achieving the education system we desire.
To address this challenge, the Ministry of Education has developed a comprehensive strategy aimed at recruiting, training, and retaining highly qualified teachers. We are working closely with the Office of the Deputy Governor, educational institutions, professional organizations, and stakeholders to create a supportive environment that encourages teachers to excel in their profession.
The Ministry is implementing various initiatives to attract talented individuals to the teaching profession, including competitive recruitment campaigns, scholarships, and professional development opportunities. We are also enhancing teacher training programs to ensure that educators receive the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver high-quality education to our students.
On this World Teachers Day, we express our deepest gratitude to all the teachers in the Turks and Caicos Islands for their unwavering dedication, passion, and commitment to our students. Your tireless efforts are shaping the future leaders of our nation, and we commend you for your valuable contributions.
As we celebrate World Teachers Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to the teachers we need for the education we want. Their role is indispensable, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that they have the resources, support, and recognition they deserve.
Once again, Happy World Teachers Day to all the remarkable teachers across the Turks and Caicos Islands. Your glow is essential to shaping the education we desire.
Refurbished Kitchen at Ianthe Pratt Primary School to Enhance Meal Programme
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, October 5, 2023— For the start of the academic 2022-2023 school year, kitchen staff, teachers and students of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School walked into their newly refurbished kitchen, compliments of the Sandals Foundation and Beaches Turks and Caicos resort. Wooden countertops, shelves and tables were replaced by stainless steel counters and shelves, old appliances substituted for new, more energy efficient ones, an exhaust fan installed and electrical rewiring of the entire kitchen done.
General Manager, James McAnally, Manager of Technical Services of Sandals Resorts International (SRI), Wendy Fay, Public Relations Manager, Orville Morgan and Assistant Project Manager Costley Mullings, supervisor of the Kitchen Renovation project, visited the school to memorialize the handing over of the kitchen.
Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation Heidi Clarke shared, “this project was born out of the desire for the leaders of this school to increase its capacity to meet the nutritional needs of the student population with the right facilities and equipment that would make food preparation more efficient and hygienic. We are happy with the outcome of the upgrades and our ability to assist in this critical contribution to the holistic education of students.”
McAnally and principal, Neekimo King, had the pleasure of serving some of the senior students of the school. Students were treated to a healthy snack of an assortment of fruits and delicious pastries.
Principal King and Vice Principal, Porsha Saunders seized the opportunity to thank Mr. McAnally for having sanctioned the kitchen project along with many other donations that the school has received throughout the years assured that the Sandals Foundation will follow through with other projects.
“We take every commitment we make to a school seriously and are committed to partnering with learning institutions to provide forthe holistic educational needs of children. Our commitment from the Sandals Foundation is to continue our partnership with schools and communities throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands. The educational and nutritional needs of the children here continue to be one of our major focus, and the culmination of this project is one of our major contribution to our community,” McAnally assured her.
King in responding to the gesture from the Sandals Foundation and the resort noted: “The gift of this renovated kitchen is sincerely appreciated because we know that the costing of getting this done was a tidy sum. Every student and teacher have can attest to the benefit that this partnership continues to do for us as a school. Thank you Sandals Foundation and Beaches Turks and Caicos.”
Wendy Fay, Manager of Technical Services of Sandals Resorts International assessed the work that had been done and immediately set out on a school tour to determine the infrastructural needs of the school. As Fay and Costley measured and conferred, it was evident that they were passionate about enhancing the aesthetic appearance of the institution while making the safety of the students their priority.
And so it should be. Our children deserve the very best learning facilities as brilliant learning environments help foster brilliant minds.
TCI Special Needs Center Still Not Ready says Education Minister
#TurksandCaicos, September 11, 2023 – After promises of a September 2022 opening which was then pushed to January 2023 the Special Needs Centre for Providenciales is still unfinished leaving local students without that designated space as the school year begins.
Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, made the revelation in a press conference on August 31st ahead of the opening of the new academic year.
Over $ 900,000 was set aside for infrastructural upgrades and another $1.3 million was budgeted for staffing and consultancy. That appears to be ongoing, however, as Taylor said the government anticipated being in possession of the consultant’s report by the end of 2023 prolonging the establishment of the centre.
The school, she had said, is expected to be developed at the former Abundant Life school buildings; now a year after missing its first deadline, the Special Needs Centre remains inexplicably unfinished.
The minister did not detail what caused the holdup in the press conference; and has not replied to questions to her Ministry in the aftermath of the press event to give a national report..
“All public schools now have a special needs teacher and in some instances two teachers for larger schools.”
So far a speech and learning pathologist has been hired but the search is still on for professionals to fill a laundry list of positions, from Director of the centre to autism specialized teachers and more.
Omitted though was information on whether the government had the capacity to house all the special needs students in need of care. In 2022 the government struggled to place a number of social needs students in public school because of a lack of space. Some parents were forced to place their children in private schools or outside of the country which meant additional expenses and emotional strains on these families.
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