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By Rose Marie Harris

September 7, 1998 - For many of the island’s students, the academic year, 1998/99 begins today. For some students it means a change of classroom or school. The Ministry of Education is describing the new school year as a very challenging one. Chief Education Officer Paul Sammie says the challenges will come, as the Ministry of Education will implement a number of new initiatives.

Many of the new concepts will be a collaborative approach, which will see the fostering of closer ties between parents and education officials. Mr. Sammie indicates that for students moving to the form 3 of the Rock Hall Senior Primary, it will be a period of adjustment. It is hoped that these students will be able to adapt to the changes very quickly. Another new activity, which will be undertaken by the Ministry, is a series of meetings with students, especially those at the secondary level. The intention is to get students more involved in the day to day activities of the school, in the decision making and formulation of policy for education in the future.

Sammie – "Parents will be working along with the Ministry of Education through community meetings to reflect on areas or constraints that impact negatively on students performance and achievements."

When the Piaye Secondary School opens its doors for the first time later this month, the former Director of the Vieux Fort Comprehensive School, Teddy Bernard will be heading that school. At this moment Mr. Bernard is in the process of identifying teachers to assist him in taking the school forward. The opening date has been set for the twenty first of September. At the Soufriere Comprehensive School, finishing touches are now being done.

Meanwhile the nine member states of the OECS have approved a common system of names of class groups at the primary and secondary levels. This will be implemented at the beginning of the new academic year 1998/99.

Students attending the first year of school should be referred to as "kindergarten" or "reception". The terms "grade" will now be used for all other primary school designations.

So now primary school classes will be named Grade one to Grade three instead of stage one to stage three, and all secondary school classes will be named Form 1 through to Form 5.


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