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New Academic Year begins September 1st, 2004

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - Minister of Education Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports Honourable Mario Michel is urging parents to send their children to school on Wednesday, September 1st, 2004 – commencement of the new academic year. The Minister has promised that children will be supervised in the event teachers do not turn up for school.

The Minister is appealing to parents to do the right thing and send their children to school rather than allow them to be absent for the first day of school. Speaking in a radio address on Tuesday, September 31, Minister Michel said, “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 authorisation 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 a union meeting.”

The Ministry of Education and the Saint Lucia Teachers Union are at an impasse over the reopening of school for this academic year. “This Minister and this government have never sought to be unfair or unkind to the teaching profession in Saint 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,” he said.

Minister Michel is again reiterating that as Minister for Education, he has and will continue to play his role and it is now up to parents to do their part: “In any event, my mission 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.”

Related Links:

Full Statement by Minister Michel


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