Almost $2 million was given by the Ministry of Education to support Carnival activities by the nation’s pupils, says Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday, Gopeesingh said that $600,000 was given for the National Junior Soca Monarch competition, $960,000 to the National Junior Panorama competition, and $400,000 for the National Carnival Chutney Soca Monarch competition.
He said these grants were in keeping with the ministry’s strategic plan to encourage and support children who are appreciative of the country’s culture and art form.
Gopeesingh added that Cabinet agreed to the constitution of local school boards for 85 Government secondary schools.
He said boards will also be installed for some 123 Government primary schools, but on a cluster basis whereby one board will serve three or four schools in one area.
These boards, he said, will help in the management of the school and deal with issues such as bullying among pupils.
The minister added that some 104 school social workers were employed, as well as more than 200 guidance counsellors.
He disclosed that there will be ongoing consultations on the revision of the Education Act until April this year.
Gopeesingh said the question of the compulsory age for children to attend school is currently from six to 12 years and it will be discussed whether it should be changed from five to 16 years.
Consultations, he said, were also taking place in revising the secondary school curriculum.
He said the primary school curriculum was revised to include the continuous assessment component, which contributes to 20 per cent of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) Examination, which was successful.
Gopeesingh said there has been a 12 per cent improvement in language arts and a ten per cent improvement in creative writing.
He said more than 72 per cent of pupils are getting beyond 50 per cent in the examination.
He said, overall, all primary school pupils were performing better at the SEA.