MINISTER OF EDUCATION COMMENTS ON EDUCATION WEEK

“I am so happy to be here and speak to you in the capacity of Minister of Education.  Speaking with you here today offers me a chance to commemorate your success in pursuing excellence in education and to witness the remarkable achievements of this education system.  Education Week offers the opportunity to celebrate the important role that education plays in building our society.  The role of education is to nurture, grow and realize every child’s potential, so this year’s theme ‘Success for Every Learner’ is so fitting.  I find this theme very meaningful and encouraging to every educator and child alike.” 

“It was Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher that opined – ‘The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.’  In the past years of education, we have indeed been nurturing the roots of a vibrant education system and I do believe that we have been tasting the sweet fruit of our collective labour over and over again.”

“This week is intended for us to commemorate all that has been accomplished in education, but it is also a time of much reflection and planning for us to truly transform our system to one that houses a culture of excellence which by no means will be achieved overnight.” 

“Martin Luther King, Jr. said – ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.’  To me, being a teacher is one of the most valuable and important occupations in the world.  After all, teachers are partially responsible for shaping the futures of young minds, and as a result, the world as a whole.  Interacting with children in their key formative years, when thoughts, study habits and ideas are just beginning to form and come together is when teachers are able to shape these young minds.”

“The teachers who can reach the most challenging students, who will stay past the last bell and who will go beyond the call of duty, are the ones who make that extra difference.  It is these teachers in particular whom we celebrate this week as we reflect on our educational system that, despite its challenges, delivers to the best of its ability and upholds the ideal of giving priority to early childhood instruction because there is broad acceptance in the education sector that those are the critical years in children’s lives.”

“Aside from emphasizing the role of education in the society of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the celebration also aims to strengthen cooperation among stakeholders in education to support the necessary and significant changes to achieve quality and relevant education. Moreover, it intends to inspire every educator to do more for the schoolchildren to ensure their future.  Education is among the Government’s main priorities.  We want to make a positive difference in the lives of our countrymen through the education reforms that will be initiated through our program of change.  There is no doubt that this year’s Education Week theme is a timely one and a reflection of reality in our islands.”

“To the school child, it is your responsibility to set high standards for yourself.  You must realize that at end of the day, you can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.  Do look for the opportunities that hide behind adversities, as there is always another way of looking at the world.”

“We must never be complacent with education.  Instead, we should always strive to do better and expand our capacity in pursuit of excellence. We must all strive to improve and excel, no matter which pathway we are going to take.” 

“In closing, I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all who worked hard to make this Education Week a success.  I would also like to make this one plea as I share with you what Solomon Ortiz, a US former state representative said, ‘Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students’ I hope this week that many students will consider education as a worthwhile career as want to build or cadre of local teachers.”

“Thank you very much for the opportunity to share in this happy occasion. God bless you, and God bless The Turks and Caicos Islands.”

MINISTER AND TEAM VISITS SPECIAL NEEDS UNIT

The Special Needs Unit received a visit from Hon. Edwin Astwood, the Minister of Health, Agriculture and Human Services as he toured the SNAP Center to view the programs and interacting with students and teachers alike. 

Hon. Astwood stated; It was a very enlightening experience for me to visit the SNAP Center.  I was very impressed by the quality of services being offered by the Staff to the children that require this service.  The level of student teacher participation and interaction is truly producing the desired results, whilst the students eagerly demonstrated their education skills to my team from the Ministry of Health.“

SNAP Center (Special Needs Association of Providenciales) located in Kew Town, Providenciales provides intellectual and life skills opportunities for children and young persons with disabilities between the ages 4-24 years. 

SNAP caters to a range of disabilities including, but not limited to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Developmental Coordination Disorder, Speech/Language Disorder and Learning Disorders.

The Center is staffed by trained professionals namely; 2 -Special Ed Teacher, 1-Teacher, 1-Assistant Teacher and 1 – Maid with the oversight by the Program Officer. The Center’s goal is self-determination for each child where possible allowing them to grow to their full potential.  Individual Education Plans are designed for each student with the involvement of the parents, teachers, and a member of the Special Needs Unit management team along with the student where possible.


Hon. Astwood added; “This is indeed one area which truly needs to be expanded in order to assist many more children and their parents.  In addition, I am of the opinion that some of the teaching methods incorporated at the center should be duplicated in our mainstream school programs.”

The recent approval of the Special Needs Education Policy will ensure that, no child will be left behind regardless of their disability with focus on their ability.

According to Ms. Been Director of Special Needs Unit the Unit appreciates the commitment of our corporate partners such as Seven Stars Community Foundation who has adopted the Center. Let us remember that, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller

Representatives from Infrastructure, Housing & Planning take Official Visit to Islands

The Minster with responsibility for the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Planning, Hon. Goldray Ewing, along with several members of his team from within his Ministry, recently conducted a familiarization and fact finding mission on the Islands of South, North and Middle Caicos, and Providenciales, to get a first-hand view of government properties and projects in an effort to prioritize, repair and improve, where necessary.

During the visits, the team viewed and examined:

  • Several of the schools throughout the Islands mentioned
  • All government clinics
  • Roads on Providenciales, South and North Caicos
  • Explore several options to relieve the morning congestion at the downtown roundabout Providenciales
  • Kew Town Ball Park project
  • The Reverse Osmosis Plant and storage tanks / South Caicos
  • The Boiling Hole project / South Caicos
  • The Causeway Project  / North & Middle Caicos
  • The Wellness Center Project / South Caicos
  • The Long Bay High School Project
  • Regatta Village works
  • Government Treasury and Customs House-South Caicos
  • Kew Community Center
  • Sporting Facility and Green Fitness Parks projects

Hon. Ewing, during the various meetings with various persons, listened attentively to their concerns, while at the same granted assurances that his Ministry and his government will look into the various issues raised, with the view to having them all addressed on a prioritized basis and as funding become available.

He also thanked each person in advance for their patience and understanding, as we all work to better their situation and by extension, that of these Turks and Caicos Islands.