Statement by Minister for Education Hon. Mario Michel On the Reopening of School
Home Up Speech Delivered by Hon. Mario Michel on USE Address Delivered by Hon Mario Michel at the National Youth Rally Vigie Sports Complex Feburary 22, 2006 Statement by Minister for Education Hon. Mario Michel On the Reopening of School Reading Extravaganza 2003 - April 2003 Address by Honourable Mario Michel at National Independence Youth Rally February 22, 2003 Address at 1st Caribbean Environmental Forum - October 7, 2002 Address to the Nation by Hon. Mario Michel, Deputy Prime Minister on the Passage of Tropical Storm Chantal

 

Because there has been some doubt created, because there has been some confusion generated, because therefore some uncertainty has crept in, I thought it necessary for me to again repeat and reiterate that public and assisted primary and secondary schools in St. Lucia will open for the new academic year tomorrow Wednesday, September 1st.

I know that parents have been told and repeatedly reminded, in what has been a virtual crusade by the SLTU President, that teachers are having a meeting on Wednesday September 1st, with the implication that there will therefore be no school on that day.

The fact is that parents and students can be assured that school will open tomorrow, September 1st.

I have no doubt that there are some teachers who will opt not to come to school tomorrow and will instead go to a Union meeting called on a school day with no authorization sought from or given by the Ministry of Education. But equally, I have no doubt that there will be many committed and dedicated teachers at school tomorrow who would not even contemplate the thought of leaving their students unattended so as to go to hear Dolor say the same things over and over again. So parents need not worry about the care and supervision of their children at school tomorrow this is assured. In any event, the Supervision Unit of the Ministry of Education headed by the Chief Education Officer has put systems in place to ensure that children will be adequately supervised at school tomorrow even in the event of a low turn out of teachers at any particular school.

In the circumstances, I am appealing to all parents to do the right thing and send your child to school tomorrow, rather than allow your child to be absent for the first day of school.

To the teachers, I wish to say this no matter how often a lie is repeated it still remains a lie. This Minister and this Government have never sought to be unfair or unkind to the teaching profession in St. Lucia. Yes we have sought and will continue to seek to push as hard as we can to give the children of this country the best education that our meagre resources can provide. And yes there are times when this push can appear to put more pressure on teachers, as it does on the students and on parents too. But it is only by pushing as hard as we have that we have made the progress that we have in recent years, which we as policy makers, administrators, principals, teachers, students and parents are all proud of.

Let no one mislead you into the view that as employees it is your right, and not that of your employer, to determine the work schedule. Just imagine how chaotic business, industry and society would be if in fact it were left to the employees rather than the employer to determine where, when and how the job is done in any enterprise.

I have a history, longer and more successful I might add than those who now occupy the leadership of the Teachers Union, in the struggle of the workers of this country, and I will be the last person to seek to deny workers their due. But, let us be realistic and not have exaggerated expectations.

Let it be remembered too that, for all the names I have been called, it is I who shifted my position from the original date of August 30th to September 1st when arguments were advanced as to why school should not open in August.

In any event, my mission here is not to defend myself. I continue to assert that I cannot force teachers to attend school on any particular day, nor can I force parents to send their children to school on any particular day, but I have done what is my duty and responsibility as Minister of Education, I hope you will do yours tomorrow.
 


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