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BASIC EDUCATION: PRIMARY AND EARLY SECONDARY EDUCATION

    1. Definition

The Primary School in Saint Lucia marks the beginning of formal compulsory Basic Education. Typically, primary schooling starts at age 5 and extends to age 11. Basic Education on the other hand, encompasses primary and early secondary and should end at age 14.

The Education Act (1997) stipulates compulsory education for all students up to 16 years. The Act, therefore, makes provisions for a range of school categories within the Saint Lucian education system to fit into the basic education cycle and beyond. The stated categories, age groups and grades reflect a complex operating structure for basic education in Saint Lucia:

Infants (first cycle primary): aged 5 to 7 years or grades 1 to 3;

Primary (second cycle): aged 8 to 11or grades 4 to 7;

Primary: aged 5 to 11 years or grades 1 to 7;

All Age Primary: aged 5 to 16 years or grades 1 to 11;

Senior Primary: aged 12 to 15 years or grades 8 to 10;

Lower Secondary: aged 11 to 14 years or Forms 1 – 3.

Basic Education supersedes primary education while at the same time it is a component of the latter. For example, All Age Primary Schools provide primary, basic and secondary education. For the purpose of this survey:

Basic refers to students in the age group 5 to 14 years;

Primary refers to students in the age group 5 to 11 years; and

Secondary refers to students in the age group 11 to 14 years.

For every category of schools differences exist because of either early or late entry into basic education. The main factors determining entry age include:

Schools located in rural communities usually enrol students at an earlier age and retain them over the school leaving age limit. The contrary almost totally apply to schools located in urban communities.

    1. Education Reform: A National Priority
    2. The implications of world - wide economic development and transformations have forced school administration in Saint Lucia to seriously examine how public primary and secondary schools are being governed. Cognisant of the fact that, the quality of basic education meted out to students would impact tremendously on the country’s continued economic and social development and ultimately determine its survival, Saint Lucia must give priority to its school management. On the economic front, the current status of the banana industry, the mainstay of the economy, and the tourism industry being seasonal and highly dependent on travellers’ choice and fancies, further highlight the need for the government to invest heavily in its human resources. While the government battles with management and economic problems, it must find ways of ensuring high returns on present investments in education, for knowledge would be the leading commodity on the global market in the next millennium.

      A good system of management for primary and secondary schools must be found. Such a system must be executed at a very low cost to the section, yet is efficient and effective in its operations. The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Education Regulations required that school boards govern Primary and Secondary Schools throughout the States (Education Bill, 1994). The Bill vested the power to appoint and manage school boards in the Minister of Education. However, the OECS States would have the prerogative to design structures, in consultation with stakeholders and the public, that best fit individual education systems because no law exists to serve the OECS as a unit.

    3. Status of Education
    4. The status of education in Saint Lucia improved during the past decade largely due to major reform initiatives. Such initiatives were targeted at improved quality of education and increased opportunities for individuals to advance themselves at all levels in the system. Vigorous efforts at the regional and local levels in pursuit of curricula reform with emphasis on remediation for underserved students and training of primary and secondary teachers in content and pedagogy for improved students’ performance indicated a willingness to give priority to quality education.2

      Notwithstanding the strides made during the 1980s and 1990s, educational attainment is still a great concern. According to Dwight Venner, the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the under 17-year olds constitute about 28% of the total population. It is imperative, therefore, that this cohort attains the highest level of education possible to enable Saint Lucia to continue to hold its own against competition on the global market.

    5. Organisation and Management

The Church (Catholic, Anglican and Methodist) was the prime initiator of school construction and infrastructure in Saint Lucia after emancipation in 1838. The Saint Joseph Convent, Church governed, was the first secondary school to serve the nation. Following that era, the Government joined the campaign for increased access to education. To date, the church and government have undertaken the construction of eighty two primary and seventeen secondary schools throughout the state with financial assistance from Leon Hess Oils limited, Department for International Development (formally BDDC), USAID, CDB, the Canadian Government and the French government.

During the past decade, four primary schools, including one for the physically challenged, and four secondary schools were built. An additional two, one Senior Primary and one Junior Secondary were upgraded to full - fledged secondary schools. Those additional units provided increased access to educational opportunities for many students, which to some extent eased the overcrowding conditions that exist in some urban schools.

The Church shares the management of education with the Ministry of Education with the latter playing the predominant role. Schools built and managed by the government are categorised as public schools. Those built on Church property and by the Church are public assisted schools.

Responsibility for educational policies and programmes is vested in the Ministry of Education. Beyond its role in formulating educational policies and standards, it designs and monitors the operation of the school system, consistent with its political mandate. It is also charged with ensuring that delivery of the educational programme was consistent with the Long Term Sector plan and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean Education States (OECS) Education Reform Strategy (Foundation for the Future, 1991). The latter is a collective agreement of the Eastern Caribbean Ministries of Education to adopt a harmonised approach to education from pre-school to tertiary level. Educational Legislation and a revised curriculum have been discussed with major stakeholders. Some aspects of the revised curriculum are awaiting publication to be followed by implementation in all primary schools in the year 2000.

2.5 Access and Cost

It was projected that Saint Lucia would attain universal primary education by the year 2000. This has been achieved. On the other hand, access to secondary education is still a major problem for many reasons, including unavailability of sufficient capital to meet the high demand of the education sector. Secondary Schools Net Enrolment was 10,484 in the academic year 1997/98. That number represented approximately 50% of the national secondary school cohort. The need for increased access to secondary schools came at a time when the Ministry of Education was required to restructure for greater efficiency; decentralize for greater autonomy at the school level; and provide better working conditions for teachers, all of which will incur additional costs to the education sector.

In recent years, the education sector has been allocated 25% of the national recurrent budget. For the period 1998/99, education received EC$101million of the National Budget. Out of the total allocation, approximately 87% represented personnel emoluments and wages. In the 1997/98 estimates, Primary education received 41.1%; Secondary received 27.9%, while tertiary was granted 0.95%.

2.6 Primary School Management

For primary schools, a tri-part management layer exists. Central level controls Curricula including textbooks and examinations. At the district level, Education Officers supervise school management and assist principals with their schools’ instructional programmes. Principals and staff are mainly responsible for discipline, enhancement of the school environment and the teaching/learning process. The distribution of schools and teachers is highly uneven among the districts, with Districts One and Four encompassing 51% of the total number of teachers and 50% of all primary schools. Efforts are underway to institute structures that facilitate a greater degree of equity in the distribution of schools and teachers on a district basis.

The Ministry of Education supervisory section, under the management of the Chief Education Officer (CEO), is responsible for the management of schools. The CEO is assisted by a team of professionals and support staff, including Education Officers for pre-schools, primary, secondary, adult literacy and curriculum. Six District Education Officers are each responsible to oversee primary school operations at the district level. The officers report to the Education Officer/Primary Schools.

Since District Education Officers (DEOs) have full responsibility for the day to day supervision of school operations, the size of the districts, as well as the capacity of these officers to travel long distances to visit different schools, has a direct impact on the performance of this key role. The Government’s decentralisation plan ultimately expects all public primary and secondary schools to be organised into common administrative groupings. To facilitate this change, it is anticipated that over the next few years, two new education districts will be created bringing that number to eight. Each Education District Officer is responsible for 9 to 20 schools, staffed by 99 to 361 teachers, and enrolling from 2,061 to 8,748 students. Table II shows a breakdown of districts, schools, students and teachers.

TABLE II

SUPERVISOR ASSIGNMENTS BY DISTRICTS, SCHOOLS,

TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.

DISTRICTS

1

2

3

4

5

6

TOTAL

Schools

20

12

13

20

9

8

82

Teachers

361

131

189

238

185

99

1,203

Students

8,748

2,998

4,507

6232

5,088

2,061

29,634

Source: Ministry Statistical Digest, 1998

Fourteen Curriculum Officers supervise the primary schools' instructional programmes in their respective domains and they report to the Education Officer/Curriculum. The Curriculum Officers/ subject specialists have full responsibility for all eighty-two (82) schools. Each Officer competes for principal and teacher time for supervision and in-service training. Schedules for both aspects are based on needs and requests.

2.7 Secondary School Management

Secondary school principals exercise greater flexibility over managerial duties than their primary counterparts. From the central level, one Education Officer is responsible for general supervision. Principals manage internal operations but the Curricula (syllabi and textbooks) were regionally and centrally controlled. To a great extent, the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) dictates the curricula of Forms 4 and 5. But all secondary schools have a certain degree of flexibility in programmes being offered, especially in Forms 1 to 3.

Private schools and the two traditional public secondary grammar schools (St. Joseph’s Convent and St. Mary’s College) are under the governance of School Boards. The Boards are mainly responsible for maintenance and projects that enhance school programmes, for example, class libraries, and security. The Government provides a grant towards maintenance of public assisted secondary schools, which is being subsidized by the boards’ fund-raising efforts. Government also pays teachers and principals’ salaries. Private organizations/individuals operate and maintain private secondary schools.

    1. Emerging Trends

New possibilities are emerging to indicate that many more stakeholders at all levels of the Saint Lucian society are recognizing their responsibilities towards the development of the nation’s human resource base. Some are also willing to form alliances with the Ministry of Education, the chief player in the management and administration of Education, in order to achieve new heights in that sector. These possibilities exist as a result of current trends in the country’s developmental process. The volume of information on education available to the public in the media (both print and electronic), much of it relevant to survival and basic well being, is enormously greater now than in previous years. Public Education is currently recording an accelerated growth rate.

The Ministry of Education is deliberately attempting to make information accessible to the masses, including people in rural and remote communities. Key education personnel are exercising a willingness to participate in disseminating information via the media and through face-to-face discussions on critical educational issues, such as, the 1999-2005 Educational Development Plan. These initiatives result in more people identifying with education. Stakeholders are now more confident in the belief that they can make a contribution towards an excellent education system.

2.9 PART 1 - DESCRIPTIVE SECTION

2.9.1 BASIC EDUCATION : GOALS AND TARGETS

2.9.2 Mission

The Mission of the Primary Education Section is to provide every child with the foundation for further learning as well as acquiring the skills, values, and attitudes that would make him/her a useful and productive citizen.

For Secondary Education, the mission is to improve their students' performance and that of the organisation in order to provide a climate and a culture that are conducive to teaching and learning.

2.9.3 Priority Goals and Objectives

In keeping with government’s commitment to achieve education for all, the key policy objectives set for the period: 1990 – 1999 were as followed:

    1. Basic Education Strategy and/or Plan of Action

The Ministry of Education Annual Work Plan provides guidelines and directions for primary schools. It looks at the concerns of the Ministry, identifies goals, objectives and strategies, and suggests measures to effectively address those concerns.

Inputs from programme managers, the staff of the Corporate Planning Unit of the Ministry of Education, and other stakeholders contribute towards the Annual Work Plan. Before dissemination to schools, the plans are reviewed by administration and tailored to suit budgetary constraints.

2.11 Co-operation in Primary and Secondary Education Development

There is a high level of co-operation between the Ministry of Education and its parallel Ministries Table III highlights the nature of technical assistance and support received from different sources.

TABLE III

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AGENDA

MINISTRY/DEPARTMENT

FORM OF SUPPORT

Health

Family Health

Culture

Junior Calpyso

Agriculture

School gardening, Aquaculture,

Communication

Infrastructure, eg. Roads to schools

Foreign Affairs

Training and Scholarships

Finance

Funding

Tourism

Content for Social studies curriculum

Support from the private sector was quite evident. For example, the Chamber of Commerce organised Junior Achievement programmes for lower secondary students. Many other programmes benefited children both at the primary and secondary levels with support from NGOs, voluntary organisations, such as the Saint Lucia National Trust, and Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

2.12 PROGRESS TOWARDS GOALS AND TARGETS

2.12.1 Enrolment

The 1990s realised intensified efforts aimed at ensuring that every child had access to a school place. The period 1994 - 1999 appeared to be the most critical in that review (Annex III). Data on the apparent intake rate for new entrants in primary grade one (1) gave the impression that there was a very high rate of admission. That suggested a high level of access to schooling, as well as being able to provide that access to grade one (1) students. Although a commendable effort, the existing data were national aggregate results, and they did not reflect intakes by age and level

The data available on the Gross Enrolment Ratio for 1994 to 1999 were also significant. It indicated a very high level of participation in schools between 1995 and 1999. That trend tended to support the fact that Saint Lucia is to accommodate all its 5 to 11 year olds. However, the data did not allow for disclosure of the disparities that existed between schools with respect to overcrowding and the conditions of buildings and furniture.

The Ministry of Education reported in its Education Plan 1994 - 1999, net enrolment rates of 95 to 98% and 40 to 50% at primary and secondary schools respectively. The World Bank Mission 1995 Report reported net enrolment rate of approximately 98% for the primary school level in Saint Lucia and a rate of 54% for secondary schools in 1993. Achievements in these areas are attributed to greater public awareness on the importance of education towards sustained development of people and resources.

Table IV shows a growing trend in the number of students in Forms 1 - 3 of the secondary schools. Primary school enrolment (5 to 11) year olds for 1998/99 was 26,486, a decline of 775 or 3% over the previous year (Annex III – Indicators 4 and 5.)

In 1998/99, the secondary school population was 11,847 students. It included approximately 50% of the students who succeeded the Common Entrance Examination that year. Access provided at early secondary reflects a growing trend toward attainment of basic education for all students in that cohort.

                                                                    TABLE IV

ENROLMENT IN BASIC EDUCATION

Academic Year

Primary

(5 - 11 years)

Senior Primary

(11 – 14 years)

Secondary – Forms 1 - 3

(11 – 14 years)

TOTAL

1994/95

26,857

4,337

6,255

37,449

1995/96

26,556

4,816

6,336

37,708

1996/97

27,019

4,529

6,855

38,403

1997/98

27,261

4,176

7,155

38,592

Source: Ministry of Education, 1999

The graphical illustration reflects a steady growth towards attainment of basic education. Approximately 1,500 students in the senior primary will be accommodated in the two new secondary schools this academic year. Enrolment will further decline when students who succeeded the Common Middle Examination and the top students from the Standard Six Examinations filter into main stream secondary schools in 1999.

FIGURE I

It was worthy to note for Caribbean purposes, however, that a larger proportion of females were succeeding the Common Entrance Examination and proceeding to a secondary school.

TABLE V

SECONDARY STUDENT POPULATIONS FOR THE PAST FOUR (4) YEARS

STUDENTS

1995/96

1996/97

1997/98

1998/99

FEMALE

5,883

5,925

6,457

6,427

MALE

4,431

4,582

4,948

5,420

TOTAL

10,314

10,507

11,405

11,847

Source: Education Development Plan 1999 – 2005 (First Draft)

2.13 Public Expenditure

Table VI indicates the trends in public expenditures on basic education from 1990 to 1999:

- a high level of spending on primary education;

TABLE VI

TRENDS IN NATIONAL EXPENDITURE (BASIC EDUCATION)

ACADEMIC YEAR

TOTAL EXPENDITURE IN MILLION EC$

% ACTUAL TOTAL NATIONAL BUDGET

1990/91

25.6

47.93

1991/92

26.4

48.13

1992/93

30.0

45.82

1993/94

31.7

44.59

1994/95

35.1

45.22

1995/96

37.8

44.72

1996/97

37.3

41.60

1997/98

38.2

40.20

1998/99

38.3

38.28

Source: Estimates of Saint Lucia (1990/91 – 1998/99)

FIGURE II

Table VII records increasing expenditures per student in basic education over the years. The totals incorporate all services, including, salaries, wages, training, equipment and supplies and other operating costs.

TABLE VII

ENROLMENT AND EXPENDITURES ON BASIC EDUCATION

ACADEMIC YEAR

 

ENROLMENT

EXPENDITURE PER PUPIL IN EC$’000

% OF

TOTAL BUDGET

EC$M

1992/93

31,928

940

30.0

1993/94

30,486

1,040

31.7

1994/95

31,194

1,125

35.1

1995/96

31,372

1,205

37.8

1996/97

31,548

1,182

37.3

1997/98

31,437

1,215

38.2

Source: Education Statistical Digest 1999.

FIGURE III

Figure III highlights the trends in expenditure over a six year period for students at the primary level of basic education. A gradual increase in expenditure is registered for the first three years and this stabilizes during the latter three years.

Overall expenditure on secondary education took up a sizeable amount of the education budget. For example, in 1995/96, the amount allocated to secondary education was EC$20.6 million, accounting for about 24.36% of the education budget. In 1998/99 the amount increased to EC$25.2 million or 25.15% of the education budget3.

The amount spent on secondary education per student was also another important indicator in assessing the achievements in that sector. Table VIII shows the increase in expenditure over the years. It illustrates the attempts made towards achieving universal secondary education.

TABLE VIII

ENROLMENT EXPENDITURES IN SECONDARY EDUCATION

ACADEMIC YEAR

ENROLMENT

EXPENDITURE PER PUPIL IN

EC$’ 000

% OF TOTAL SECONDARY BUDGET

EC$ M

1991/92

8,151

1,548

1992/93

9,169

1,800

16.5

1993/94

9,721

1,862

18.1

1994/95

10,190

1,923

19.6

1995/96

10,314

1,997

20.6

1996/97

11,082

2,211

24.5

1997/98

11,540

2,253

26.0

1998/99

11,847

2,161

25.2

Source: Education Statistical Digest 1999.

2.14 Teacher - Qualifications and Certification

The Ministry notes that there are currently 1,164 primary teachers on staff, of whom 999 or 85% are females. During that period, there were four times as many female teachers to male teachers employed in the primary schools. Teacher training, employment and qualifications present a complex scenario. Between 1993 and 1998, less than half the teaching staff in primary schools had met the minimum academic qualifications. CXC in Mathematics as a prerequisite for teaching was enforced in 1997. Data show a decline in the number of teachers with minimum entry qualifications over the six - year period (Annex IV).

It could not be assumed that the trend affected student performance nor retarded development of primary education. Principals’ reports indicated a substantial number of "good" teachers who though not academically qualified, exhibited a commitment and love for teaching, and a passion for the positive development of their students. These teachers exhibited competence in subject matter, method of teaching and excellent use of teaching materials. Through the years, they continued to improve the skills and attributes and rated among the most productive in the school system.

Teachers that local training institutions certified to teach increased when compared to the primary school teacher population. It was reported in the Ministry’s Education Development Plan that the actual percentage of trained teachers in the national system increased by 9% between 1995/96 and 1997/98.

The Teacher Training Division of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College undertakes teacher training at the local level. The training period is two years, at the end of its successful completion the teacher attains a UWI Certificate in Education. The College also runs a two-year full time Bachelor of Education Programme for principals and senior teachers. That programme started in 1991 and is being offered bi-annually.

Annex IV provides further information on certified teachers as compared to the academically qualified within the time frame reviewed. Based on the current statistics presented by the Ministry of Education (Statistical Digest, 1999), 69% of primary teachers are trained and hold at least a Certificate in Teacher Education. The majority attained their qualification at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and were accredited by the University of the West Indies. The Ministry of Education reported that there were still 362 untrained teachers in primary schools, reflecting 31% of that population (Education Development Plan 1999 – 2005, First Draft).

Some improvement was realised in the area of teacher education and retention. For example, in 1991, Saint Lucia carried out a major reclassification of the teaching service to upgrade the profession to a level on par with the rest of the public service. It was also to address the high turnover rate in the school system, previously due to the inadequacy of a compensation scheme for employees of the Ministry of Education.

As part of the government's policy to achieving education for all by the year 2000, one of the priorities of the secondary sector was to move towards an all graduate profession, with training in teaching methodology. The current minimum entry level for untrained teachers is an "A" Level in the subject(s) to be taught. Many graduates at the secondary level are trained teachers. Table IX indicates data on the quality of human resources involved in secondary education.

TABLE IX

QUALITY OF HUMAN RESOURCES INVOLVED IN SECONDARY EDUCATION

CATEGORY OF TEACHER

1995/96

1996/97

1997/98

1998/99

Untrained

111

100

82

N/A

Trained non-graduate

184

191

170

N/A

Untrained graduate

129

174

145

N/A

Trained graduate

182

135

156

321

Total

606

600

553

640

Percentage of Graduates

51%

51%

54%

50%

Source: Education Development Plan 1999 – 2005 (First Draft)

Data show that the percentage of graduates fluctuate around the 50% mark. That meant that more graduates are needed in the school system to assist the Ministry of Education in reaching its target.

Secondary teacher degree programmes are not offered locally. To meet the schools’ required quota of graduates for the school system, the Ministry of Education recruits among nationals who gained their degrees abroad or expatriates in search of worthwhile employment. A few non-graduates of secondary schools, and some aspiring primary teachers currently pursue a training programme via the distance education mode. It is a two - year part time in-service training programme being sponsored by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States/ European Development Fund/Government of Saint Lucia (OECS/EDF/GOSL). The first cohort started in 1997 with 45 teachers. Twenty-three (23) of the graduates were females.

2.15 Pupil-Teacher Ratio

The current policy of the Government of Saint Lucia is that the pupil-teacher ratio would be 1:35 in primary schools. Table X shows that between 19992/93 and 1997/98, the ratio of pupils to teachers was 1:27 on an average. However in 1994/95 alone, the ratio was 1:26 whereas in 1995/96, the ratio was 1:28. Actual data would reveal that class sizes ranged from 1:27 to 1:35.

For secondary schools, it is expected that the pupil-teacher ratio would be 1:25 in the year 2000. The Ministry reported in its Education Development Plan 1999 that the actual pupil teacher ratio in 1997/98 was 1:18.5. As more and more students are admitted into the secondary school system, the target ratio would be realised without reducing the intake of new teachers into the system. In fact, teachers in schools which are deemed "overstaffed" are being redeployed to new and/ or expanded schools.

2.16 Survival Rate to Grade 4

Using 1994 as a baseline for this analysis, the illustration below presents a holistic view of the survival rate of primary students from grade 1 to 4.

TABLE X

GROWTH IN THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS

IN PRIMARY SCHOOL UP TO GRADE 4

YEAR

PRIMARY: GRADES 1-4

1

%

2

%

3

%

4

%

1994/95

3840

100

           

1995/96

   

3666

95.5

       

1996/97

       

3522

91.7

   

1997/98

           

4112

107

Source: Education Statistical Digest 1999

In 1994/95, 3840 children were enrolled in grade 1. The following year, the number decreased by 174. 1996/97 reflected a further decline, with an increase of 272 children being enrolled in grade 4 in 1997/98. There were no specific data available to inform this trend. However, it maybe assumed that migration and dropouts are contributing factors to the declining enrolment from grade 1 to 3. On the other hand, the high apparent intake rate in grade 4 would reflect a return of students who previously dropped out, new intakes and repeaters. As indicated in Tables XI and XII below, such factors affect both boys and girls, and not only the boys as is commonly believed.

TABLE XI

GROWTH IN THE NUMBER OF MALE STUDENTS

IN PRIMARY SCHOOL BY GRADE

 

YEAR

PRIMARY GRADES 1 - 4

1

%

2

%

3

%

4

%

1994/95

1946

100

           

1995/96

   

1837

94.4

       

1996/97

       

1786

91.8

   

1997/98

2104

108

Source: Ministry of Education Statistical Digest, 1999

TABLE XII

GROWTH IN THE NUMBER OF FEMALE STUDENTS

IN PRIMARY SCHOOL BY GRADE

 

YEAR

PRIMARY GRADES 1 - 4

1

%

2

%

3

%

4

%

1994/95

1894

100

           

1995/96

   

1829

96.6

       

1996/97

       

1736

91.7

   

1997/98

           

2008

106

Source: Ministry of Education Statistical Digest, 1999

Data in Tables XIII to XV give a general analysis of practices that impact on the survival rates of primary students.

TABLE XIII

TOTAL DROPOUT RATES AT PRIMARY SCHOOL LEVEL

 

YEAR

 

ENROLMENT

 

DROPOUTS

TRANSFERS OUT OF SAINT LUCIA

 

OTHERS

 

TOTAL NUMBER OF DROPOUTS

 

% DROPOUT RATE

1994/95

31194

258

94

N/A

352

1.1

1995/96

31372

257

90

205

552

1.8

1996/97

31548

261

105

45

411

1.3

Source: Education Statistical Digest 1999

TABLE XIV

MALE DROPOUT RATES AT PRIMARY SCHOOL

YEAR

ENROLMENT

DROP

OUTS

TRANSFERS OUT OF SAINT LUCIA

 

OTHERS

TOTAL NUMBER OF DROPOUTS

% DROPOUT RATE

1994/95

15,986

153

23

N/A

176

1.1

1995/96

16,243

187

14

108

309

1.9

1996/97

16,387

194

22

26

242

1.5

Source: Education Statistical Digest 1999

TABLE XV

FEMALE DROPOUT RATES AT PRIMARY SCHOOL

YEAR

ENROLMENT

DROP

OUTS

TRANSFERS

OUT OF

SAINT LUCIA

 

OTHERS

TOTAL NUMBER OF DROPOUTS

 

% DROPOUT RATE

1994/95

15,208

105

71

N/A

176

1.2

1995/96

15,129

70

76

97

243

1.6

1996/97

15,161

67

83

19

169

1.1

Source: Education Statistical Digest, 1999

Data show a low dropout rate overall. No significant difference exist between the sexes. The rates registered are consistent with attrition reports from various primary schools. Ministry of Education reports that the dropout rate was usually low from grade 1 to grade 7, with a significant increase among senior students, in particular, those who unsuccessful at Common Entrance Examinations. Of significance is the high rate (70%) of male students who dropout of the school system.

    1. ACHIEVEMENTS

Achievements in the primary education section were in keeping with Saint Lucia's efforts and commitment at ensuring universal access to, and completion of, primary education by the year 2000.

During the period under review, efforts concentrated on the expansion and provision of facilities: an important component especially in new areas of population concentration, as well as in areas where overcrowding had been a major problem. A list of achievements follows:

    1. Expansion and construction of primary and secondary schools.
    2. Consolidating the School Feeding programme. The World Food contract ended in December 1997. The Government of Saint Lucia continued its financing with assistance of Stabex.
    3. Appointment of School Attendance and Welfare Officer to ensure that children of school attending age are in school.
    4. Intensification of assistance to under privileged students.
    5. Fencing schools. To date, all primary schools are fenced.
    6. Provision of electricity in all primary schools. The one remaining school received electricity through a solar system in July 1999.
    7. Provision of water storage facilities in all schools.
    8. Provision and maintenance of functioning facilities in all schools.
    9. Two additional Educational Districts were created, increasing the number of districts to eight and facilitating a greater degree of supervision of schools.
    10. Revision and compilation of a more relevant Appraisal Instrument for employees.
    11. Revision of syllabuses, Curriculum Guides, and Caribbean Language Arts Texts.
    12. Continued and intensified efforts in TVET areas in primary schools.
    13. Inclusion of aquaculture, rabbitery and green house cultivation in agriculture.
    14. Development of sports, e.g. Cricket and netball competitions.
    15. Introduction of French in primary schools from 1995.
    16. Introduction of Minimum Standards Tests at grades 3 and 5.
    17. Preparation of a Draft Education Plan.
    18. Preparation of a Draft Education Act.

In relation to Secondary Education, much growth and development were reported both in terms of access and quality. Between 1991 and 1996, the secondary school population increased by 22%. As noted previously, the population in that section continued to grow over the years, as a result of expansion of educational opportunities.

 

2.18 OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS

The Ministry of Education accomplished several other achievements during the period 1991-1999.

    1. Junior Secondary and Senior Primary School were upgraded to Secondary Schools. 1992 marked the final phasing out of Junior Secondary Schools.
    2. Placement of all students who attained the national mean at the Common Entrance Examination in secondary schools.
    3. Two new secondary schools under the basic Education Reform Project are on schedule and should be ready to accommodate students in late 1999.
    4. The implementation of the Secondary Non-Graduate Programme for untrained teachers in the secondary schools, as well as those planning to go to those schools.
    5. Provision of computer laboratories in some schools.
    6. Curriculum broadened to include enrichment programmes in Music, Art/Craft, Drama and Dance. One Concert Band, a String Orchestra and Steelband established under the enhanced music programme.
    7. Increased provision of support services such as library resources, Guidance Counsellors, Family Life teachers, Secretarial services, Bursars, and Vice Principals to schools with high enrolment.
    8. Training opportunities for teachers and principals were increased significantly through workshops organised in different subject areas, for example, Management workshops for principals and senior staff members.
    9. Seminars and retreats to deal with disciplinary problems faced by secondary schools.
    10. School reviews by a team of senior officers from the Ministry.

2.19 MAIN PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED /ANTICIPATED

Although the problem of overcrowding in the primary schools was greatly reduced island wide, two schools are yet to go off the shift system. Other problems included inadequate furniture in primary schools as well as the inability to meet needs of children who are mentally challenged.

    1. PROSPECTS – Primary Education

Four broad categories list the changes that will be implemented in order to enhance primary education in the year 2000 and beyond:

  1. Changing focus from teacher centred to child centred learning by:
  1. Increasing effectiveness by:
  1. Upgrade infrastructure by:
  1. Increase equity by:

2.21.2 PROSPECTS – Secondary Education

  1. Increase the number of secondary school places to achieve universal secondary education by 2005 by:
  1. Improve the performance of teachers in content and methodology:
    1. CONCLUSION

In the 80s, the Ministry of Education noted that while primary education had been available to all, schools were experiencing several problems. Those included the poor physical environment, overcrowding and the existence of the shift system. Achievements, to date, have greatly reduced the gravity of the situation.

During the period 1990 to 1999, reviews of policy and mission statements with respect to formal education confirmed the view that the main purpose of primary education was to provide each child with the foundation for further learning. Education had to make the difference in the lives of people beginning at the primary level.

Towards that purpose, primary education would :

For the secondary Schools, the following prospects will attention:




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