Secondary schools get $5.6M in textbooks

By Kester Morris
Stabroek News
July 10, 1999

Close to a dozen headteachers of schools under the Secondary Schools Reform Project (SSRP) yesterday assembled at the Dolphin Community High School to receive their supplies of three Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) textbooks.

The handing over ceremony was attended by Director of the SSRP, Dr Kenneth Hunte, who saw books worth some $5.6 million dollars being presented to representatives of the twelve pilot schools in the project by Minister of Education, Dr Dale Bisnauth. The schools involved in the project are Tucville Secondary, Dolphin Community High, Mackenzie Secondary, Manchester Secondary, Vryman's Erven Secondary, Fort Wellington Secondary, Belladrum Secondary, Annandale Secondary, L'Adventure Secondary, Uitvlugt Secondary, New Campbellville Secondary and Cotton Field Secondary, formerly Anna Regina Secondary.

It was explained to those in attendance that the books - CXC English A; CXC Integrated Science and Modules in Social Studies with CXC questions - had been purchased with discretionary funds from the Ministry of Finance that the headteachers had agreed to use to purchase the books.

The $5.6 million figure was realised after the Ministry of Education contributed $2,878,350 to supplement the discretionary fund's $2,667,368.

In the previous year, according to Dr Hunte, the SSRP secretariat had been able to obtain CXC Mathematics textbooks for all the pilot schools.

SSRP officials also took the opportunity yesterday to display the new uniforms to be worn by the Dolphin Community High and the New Campbellville Secondary Schools when these are converted to discrete secondary schools under the SSRP.

In his address, Dr Hunte said that the Chief Education Officer had given approval for the conversion of 6 Community High schools (CHS) and three primary tops into discrete secondary schools.

The seventh pilot CHS, Campbellville CHS, will be merged with Campbellville Secondary to create the aforementioned new high school.

The change in status will be symbolised by a change in uniform with Dolphin CHS, soon to be Broad Street Secondary, wearing a blue and white creation with a striped tie and Campbellville students outfitted in brown.

During his address, Minister Bisnauth touched on all the changes the uniforms would imply. Noting that the uniforms would confer a new status on these children, he urged them to "grow into their uniforms. Touching on the stigma attached to CHSs, he questioned why some students had the right to a five-year (CXC) education while those in CHSs were limited to four years.

He lamented that 50% of primary students went on to CHSs or primary tops and pointed out that as long as primary education could be seen as only a way to pass the SSEE and stay out of a CHS, then primary education will be anything but educational.

The Education Minister impressed upon the students how necessary it was for them to take the opportunity to have a good education and pointed out that they were on the brink of a new century in which they would be seriously sidelined if not properly prepared.

Dr Hunte revealed that the SSRP was doing its part to prepare the children for this new century as each pilot school will shortly be receiving 4 computer stations, 1 television and VCR, I CD and double decker cassette player plus cassettes and 1 video camera.

He reported that the SSRP had implemented its two-year-old National Form 3 Secondary School Examination in the twelve pilot schools as well as in four secondary schools and predicted that the exam was geared to allow individual students of different abilities to perform.

Added to this, the year 1999 will see the implementation of the SSRP's Level 8 Teachers' guides for September. Dr Hunte also reported that 11 contractors will shortly be bidding for the construction work on the 12 pilot schools.

Speaking two months after fire destroyed a Ministry of Education building that housed the SSRP's secretariat, Hunte reported that an insurance company had recently settled a $9.0 million SSRP claim.

New look: The new colours that will be worn by the students of two of the nation's community high schools after they have been converted to discrete secondary schools under the SSRP. At left is the uniform of the New Campbellville Secondary School while at right is the uniform that will be donned by students from Dolphin Community High School, soon to be known as Broad Street Secondary. (Aubrey Crawford photo)

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