One of the Ministry of Education’s top officials, Senator Harry Husbands, this morning hinted that improvements could be coming to private schools in the island at the end of his tours of the institutions, as one private school called for financial help in these difficult economic times.
The Parliamentary Secretary told reporters in the midst of a tour of the Leacock’s Private School, Farm Road, St. Peter that he fully intended to follow through on suggestions made over the course of the tours of private institutions thus far, to dedicate more ministry attention to such schools.
“If we could get all of those things done, having a closer working relationship with the private educational sector, both primary and secondary and improve the communication link, I think we would have gone a long way towards ironing out some of the problems that exist.
“Mrs. Leacock mentioned the problem of registration with the ministry; some principals have indicated to me what they consider to be various challenges in that area and those challenges lie mainly with the Government. If we could sort out those things to have the schools registered in a timely fashion; it’s not that many of them are not registered, but they are not registered in a timely fashion. One challenge is that you have to do it every year. Why not every two? It is a distinct possibility,” he stated.
The ministry official said he was sure once the dialogue with the private schools got going, and there were other issues that would come up that could be addressed.
He suggested that in the end, not only could there be changes, but improvements to how things were done to aid the schools.
Principal and founder of the school, Sybil Leacock, also had suggestions on areas the ministry should look at, especially in current economic difficulties.
“I’ve never had any financial help from either government at all – none, none, none! But thanks to the kindness of banks here in Speightstown, they have favoured me thus far with some loans and some … in order to get around my business. So I hope they [Government] will look into the fact that we are struggling and as parents would tell you in this hard economic time that they would look to give us some help,” said the principal.
Leacock added: “I am a very independent person. I don’t go cap in hand – too proud to beg and too forthright to steal. So ask your Government if they would assist in some fashion, which would make the financial burden a little bit easier.”
The parliamentary secretary has been touring the island’s private schools for the past couple of weeks and has said at the end he hopes to bring them all together to address their problems collectively. He had also indicated that he thought it a good idea to establish a kind of liaison or special desk within the ministry to deal specifically with these schools.
Visits to the last set of four schools are earmarked for this week. (LB)