Education minister kicks off school visits at Anse Royale primary, secondary | 18 November 2020
It was at the Anse Royale primary and secondary schools that the Minister for Education, Dr Justin Valentin, yesterday kicked off a series of visits that he will be conducting to various schools chosen at random over the coming weeks.
At the primary school, Minister Valentin and his delegation who included Dr Odile de Commarmond, principal secretary for early childhood, primary and secondary education; Cyril Pillay, director general for secondary schools; and Merida Delcy, special advisor in the education ministry; were welcomed by head teacher Marcella Belle and other key members of her management team.
Minister Valentin first toured the crèche at the back of the school where he was led by teacher in charge Rita Bonne.
The crèche which currently has 116 pupils is a very old building situated near a marsh area. But in spite of being old the building is well maintained and Minister Valentin commended the teachers and management team for their hard work to keep and maintain the high level of cleanliness.
A new building on ground plus one which is expected to house the new crèche during mid-2021 if all goes well, is under construction across the school’s former playing field.
Head teacher Belle noted that construction work on the building which started earlier this year suffered a lot of delays but is now underway.
Minister Valentin toured several classes at both primary and secondary schools and interacted with teachers and pupils at both schools encouraging them and listening to them.
At the secondary school, he was welcomed by head teacher Bergitta Labonte. The secondary school currently has a student population of 815 comprising students from Takamaka, Baie Lazare, Anse Royale and part of Au Cap.
Minister Valentin and his delegation then had separate closed door meetings with the two institutions’ management teams to hear the concerns and challenges of the teachers and to apprise of the schools’ different needs.
Speaking at the start of the meeting at the primary school he said his aim is to ensure that all concerns that teachers from the different schools have, reach the concerned parties in the ministry of education.
He said the decision to start the visits at schools in the southern region is mainly to dispel criticisms that schools in the central and northern regions have always been favoured for ministerial visits.
Meanwhile, Minister Valentin has commended the school’s management and all the staff for their commitment in ensuring a clean, tidy and well-kept school environment.
“Despite the fact that some of the school’s infrastructure is very old I am really impressed by the cleanliness of the school’s environment.
“It is a school that is very welcoming and makes you happy to come in and through my interactions with some of the teachers it is clear they have the desire to work and some of them were using new technology to deliver their lessons with groups of very excited pupils and this is very good and very encouraging,” Minister Valentin said.
“My message to all teachers is that we at the Ministry of Education, want to renew our commitment towards the wellbeing of all our school children. More emphasis will be placed on discipline, academic, technical and vocational performances and a vision for teaching and learning using technology. We want the schools to be in control of their activities and development, the learning process and wellbeing of their pupils. At the Ministry of Education we will ensure that all the schools will be equipped and to make all these happen we want to bring home to the teachers our willingness to work with them and we also want parents to know that we sincerely want to see their children make progress. We also want to assure parents and teachers that all their difficulties and challenges like discipline problems are dealt with, making the school a place where everyone is happy to come and work and for children to learn. Once the discipline problem is addressed everything else will automatically fall into place,” Minister Valentin stressed.
The minister said teachers have expressed the hope to see technology become a working tool in the work of the Ministry of Education and also aired the concerns associated with internet connectivity.
In this regard Minister Valentin has launched an appeal to internet providers to start thinking about how best they can help the Ministry of Education and the schools to better embrace technology so it becomes a working tool.
Meanwhile, following the in-disciplinary action of a student who insulted the president and vice-president during their visit to La Digue school last week, Minister Valentin said it is regrettable when such actions happen at the schools.
“We at the ministry try our best to address such problems and ensure we send a clear message that we do not tolerate such misconduct,” said Minister Valentin.
But Minister Valentin has clarified that the student concerned is sitting for all her exams as planned.
“This is because as teachers and educators we attach a lot of importance to training and education of our children and punishment is not always necessarily the answer. For us it is important for the student to sit all exams as planned as exams are important at this stage in a student’s life, but discussions to find the best way to address the issue will continue and counseling will be given not only to the student concerned but to students in all our schools who need it. It is important to speak to our children and inculcate in them all the good values necessary to help them become well-behaved citizens,” Minister Valentin stressed.
Our selection of photos show Minister Valentin interacting with pupils and students during his visits yesterday.