|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
Part I : Descriptive Section
The Government of Anguilla perceives education as one of the most important vehicles through which a nation achieves economic and social development. It perceives education as an essential ingredient for enhancing the quality of life for the people of Anguilla, for developing and sustaining their personal growth and self-realization, and for achieving economic and social well being.
This perception of the importance of education is based on the belief that all human beings have a right to education, an education that will help them to be productive members of society as well as to be enlightened enough to enjoy the benefits of society.
The Government, in keeping to its remit for education, has assumed responsibility for education at the primary and secondary levels, for adult and continuing education programmes, and for continuous human resource development of a well qualified staff of educators to successfully implement the systems instructional programmes. The Government has also pledged its support to Early Childhood Education through subsidies and the training of teachers.
Expressed in the goals for education is Governments commitment to promoting equity in the nations development:
i Provide all citizens of Anguilla with opportunities for acquiring knowledge, skills, attitudes and values for meaningful participation in nation development and a satisfying adult life;
ii Develop a sense of self respect, self worth, self esteem, and a spirit of self reliance;
iii Acquire the capacity for critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making;
iv Adhere to principles of democracy, justice, peace and accountability;
v Enhance the development of national pride, national spirit and national identity while at the same time emphasizing the interdependence of the nations of the world;
vi Develop an awareness and appreciation for the preservation of Anguillas national resources and a commitment to keeping a safe and healthy environment;
vii Develop an understanding of the role of the individual within the family, and the role of the family within the society;
viii Appreciate and tolerate the differences of individuals whether they be religious beliefs, opinions, ethnic or cultural backgrounds;
ix Develop pride in our heritage, and an awareness and appreciation of the Arts and Culture as essential to a meaningful and satisfying life;
x Place a premium on striving towards excellence;
xi Develop a commitment to lifelong learning;
xii Live productive lives in a rapidly changing technological and scientific era.
1. POLICY FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
(a) Access to Early Childhood Education
Pre-schools are privately owned, but it is Governments responsibility to ensure that the nations young children are exposed to appropriate learning outcomes. Consequently, Government has facilitated the early childhood education process by granting subsidies to privately run schools, developing criteria for the establishment of such schools, and conducting training programmes for pre-school teachers.
Although there are no pre-schools in some areas of the island, children still have access to an early childhood education programme as Anguilla is small and it is not very difficult to get from one place to the other. Attendance at pre-school therefore is almost universal, and support from the parents, who also receive training in parenting skills, is excellent.
(b) Curriculum Reform
Early Childhood Education allows young children to acquire the pre-requisites for formal learning. It forms a link between home and school and aims at improving parenting skills. Thus the pre-school curriculum will be structured to meet the needs of the total development of the young child.
In continuing its support for the development of a standard curriculum, Government has put in operation regulations for the setting of aims and standards, training of teachers in the use of the curriculum, and mandate that all teachers attached to pre-schools be exposed to at least basic training in Early Childhood Education.
To ensure adherence to the regulations, and the proper functioning of pre-schools, Government has appointed a curriculum officer, Early Childhood Education, with responsibilities for developmental activities at this level.
2. POLICY FOR PRIMARY EDUCATION
(a) Access to Education
There is, and has been universal primary education in Anguilla for many years, because primary education is compulsory. Access to Primary Education caters to pupils ages 5 11 years and is high at the point of entry. If statistics of Primary Education show a small decline in the number of students in the higher grades this may be due to students who are repeating a class and not to dropping out from school.
(b) Curriculum Development: Renewal and Reform
There will be provision for a common curriculum for primary education. This consists of a core curriculum Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies and a co-curriculum of foundation subjects to include: the expressive arts of music, drama, art and dance, physical education, technology including craft and design. Thus in reviewing the curriculum, more attention will be paid to offering opportunities for exposure to the expressive arts.
Over the past ten years more emphasis has been placed on personal and social education with the heightening of Life Skills, Family Life and Drug Education; and the introduction of Guidance and Counselling. Environmental Education has also been infused in all areas of the curriculum. The approach used for the introduction of these additions to the common curriculum is a preventive approach. Because of the social ills and the number of social problems that beset todays society, these areas are necessary for inclusion in the primary curriculum.
There is need to develop, as soon as possible, a policy for the implementation of all relevant aspects of information technology across the education system, to train the teachers in the uses of the appropriate resources and to ensure that they are effectively and efficiently maintained.
(c) Reading Recovery
To counteract the number of reading difficulties that some children still encounter, the Government has introduced the Reading Recovery programme which is a school based intervention designed to reduce literacy problems within an education system. It is an early intervention, giving children who have particular difficulties in reading and writing in their first year in primary school, a period of intensive individual help.
The objective of this programme is not only to improve reading and writing skills, but to help the children to develop more effective literacy strategies so that they will be able to continue to work at the average level of their classmates and to progress satisfactorily in their own schools instruction programme.
To date, one teacher has been trained at Masters level as a Reading Recovery Tutor, and eight teachers have been trained on the local level. Reading Recovery will provide the teachers with a very good model for developing more accountability in working with special needs children. With this early intervention programme, Government foresees the improvement in learning achievement and the eradication of all forms of illiteracy in the society.
(d) Special Education
As mentioned in "universal access to, and completion of primary education by the year 2000", there is provision for children with moderate and severe learning difficulties. This is a segregated provision for these children, whereas in many countries around the world there is a trend towards "inclusive education" for children with special needs. The Government, in keeping with its overall goal of promoting equity, will move to retain the children in regular classrooms, and itinerate the staff to work with them and their teachers in the regular classrooms. To ensure that this happens the co-ordinator for special needs has been exposed to training in Education Psychology and would have received first-hand experience with "Inclusive Education".
(e) Specialist Services
In keeping with its policy to provide educational opportunities for all, without exception, the Government is facilitating the training of specialist teachers to cater to the children with mental retardation, hearing impairment, visual impairment, speech impairment and Spanish speaking students. The Government will ensure that Special Education continues to provide improved facilities and programmes for children with special needs and that the impetus and momentum in these programmes are continued.
3. IMPROVEMENT IN LEARNING ACHIEVEMENT
The Government of Anguilla has been looking rather closely at both the paradigm in the perception of Education as a determining factor in the success of international productivity and competitiveness and ultimately human development and at its own education system and its ability to respond to the new imperatives of education. In doing so, it has set up processes to address the qualitative and quantitative problems that beset the efficient delivery of quality education.
(a) Test of Standards
The Test of Standards, introduced in the Primary Sector of Education in 1992 for Grades 3, 5 and 6, has as its main objective the establishment of performance norms. This assessment became necessary in the absence of the Common Entrance Test when The Comprehensive System of Education was introduced in 1986.
The Test of Standards serves many purposes which are in keeping with Governments perception of what its education system should do. Over the years it has:
(b) Special Education
While the goals of education are the same for all children, the help that individual children need in progressing towards these goals is different. The Government of Anguilla recognises that within the education system there are children with special needs. These needs include those children with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities, social and emotional difficulties on one side of the spectrum and the talented and gifted on the other.
In keeping with the policy of providing equal access to educational opportunity, government has accepted the responsibility to provide access to education through a specially modified or extended curriculum, through the modification of the physical environment, and through special teaching methodologies and multi-professional support. Special provision has been made for children with learning difficulties, through the following programmes, but whereover possible, these children will be fully integrated into the mainstream of the social life of the school:
Recognising the importance of providing opportunities to all, without exception, the Government is determined to develop a curriculum that is tailored to meet the needs of pupils with varying degrees of learning difficulty and make provision for those who are slightly handicapped. The Government is also committed to meeting the needs of those children who are gifted and high achievers.
All teachers will be exposed to training in Special Needs Education in order to meet the needs of children with mild learning disabilities who are in the mainstream classes as well as those who are gifted and/or talented.
(c) Physical Accessibility
Government recognises the importance of the teaching/learning process being undertaken in a physical environment that is safe, secure and healthy, conducive to learning, and accessible to all learners. Consequently, all schools will be purpose-built. For the construction of such buildings, government will ensure that the input of education personnel be an important determining factor.
There will be in place a functioning maintenance programme to ensure that school plant is properly maintained in order to maximise the life expectancy of buildings and the equipment, and to minimise threats to the health and safety of school personnel and other users.
Institutions will be geographically located to accommodate students throughout the island
In the event that it is inappropriate to build such schools, Government is committed to provide transportation to the respective schools.
There will be adequate and appropriate facilities for the teaching of Science, Technical and Vocational Education and equitable distribution of learning resources according to agreed criteria.
In collaboration with the community, the surroundings will be landscaped and beautified, playground facilities will be upgraded, and the entire premises secured and protected against destructive agencies.
Special provision will be made for the physically handicapped to access schools building and related facilities.
(d) Curriculum Development: Reform and Renewal
The curriculum is the instrument through which our mores, values and fabric of society are passed on from one generation to another, and as such, curriculum reform and renewal is pivotal to the development and sustainability of the society. Government's policy is guided by the need to respond to the demands for qualitative improvements. The curriculum will be so designed that the children will acquire the relevant knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and beliefs so that they can make meaningful contributions to the social, economic and cultural development of Anguilla.
(i) Early Childhood Education
Expansion of Early Childhood Care and Development Activities:
Early childhood development broadly defined is the process of physical and psycho-social maturation that occurs during the period from birth to about five or six. Thus the learning that occurs in the early years of life will enhance or hinder learning throughout later life. Early Childhood Education, therefore, allows young children to acquire the pre-requisites for formal learning, forms a link between home and school, and provides opportunities for improving parenting skills.
Pre-school curriculum will be structured to meet the needs of the total development of the young child.
In continuing its support for the development of a standard curriculum for Early Childhood Education, Government will put in operation regulations for the setting of aims and standards, training of teachers in the use of the curriculum, and mandating that all teachers attached to pre-schools be exposed to at least basic training in early childhood education.
Government will maintain quality early childhood education services and the proper functioning of pre-schools by ensuring adherence to regulations and regular supervision of teacher performance.
(ii) Primary Education
In order to improve learning achievement, the government will provide a more flexible and relevant curriculum targeted to the needs of society and the demands of the labour force.
Provision has been made for a common curriculum and for a core curriculum. Given all the pervasiveness of culture, and the role it plays in shaping the individuals thinking and behaviour, the expressive arts (music, drama, art and dance) and physical education, technology including craft and design, will be included in the co-curriculum as foundation subjects. More attention will be paid to offering opportunities for exposure to the expressive arts.
Because of the social ills that beset todays society, and the multifaceted nature of social problems, more emphasis will be placed on personal and social education. Special focus will be placed on Life Skills, Family Life, Drug Education programmes and the introduction of Guidance and Counselling. Environmental Education will be integrated in all areas of the curriculum using the infusion method.
Teachers will play a pivotal role in the curriculum development process. Panels of teachers will be set up to review, recommend and upgrade existing curricula, and will be involved in every stage of the process.
4. HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
The government is conscious that the successful implementation of any education reform depends on well qualified staff to implement the instructional programmes and to manage the system. Human Resource Development will therefore be a continuous process to give effect to the policies which are being effected. Within this context, Human Resource Development refers to training and re-training of teachers and education, managers, their conditions of service and welfare, professional and personal development of all educators, continuing education, career paths, succession planning and recruitment.
5. ADULT AND CONTINUING EDUCATION
Government has taken the initiative for strengthening relations with all partners in education. Government will move forward to develop appropriate curricular that will undergird the programmes to be implemented. As a pre-requisite , however, a diagnosis will be conducted of the state of non-formal education and its impact. The outcome of the survey will direct the path forward.
In addition, Government will initiate a joint exercise with the partners to rationalise services and programmes in order to minimise overlapping of efforts and make optimal use of the resource base.
For those students who are given a second chance of taking the CXC and other external examinations, a concerted effort will be made to maintain the quality of instruction given at the Evening Institute.