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Grenada Informer September 30th 2022 “The more i find out…”

The nation’s students are preparing to return to school for the new Michaelmas term that runs from September to December, the first term of the school year. It’s the term when students ascend to a new grade or new level in their institution of learning and also the term that follows the longest vacation period.
Many very young students are about to attend school for the first time, for some older ones it will spell their transition from pre-primary to primary and as the age goes up it will be from primary to secondary and secondary to TAMCC or university. In any event, for all students, it marks the point of moving up to a higher level of education as the never-ending journey of learning continues.
Most students are excited over the beginning of the new school year, with its attendant opportunities to meet new people and make new friends, explore different realms of learning and explore new educational frontiers,
However, while their parents are excited along with them, parents have to also confront the burden of securing the items necessary to send their children off to school. Governments in perpetuity, have all claimed that the most important factor to nation building is the development of human resources and enhancing education but you seldom see any real investment in education in a way that will build from the bottom. As the reggae artiste, Ritchie Spice asks, “If education is the key, then tell me why the bigger heads make it so expensive for we”.
The first very profound investment that a government made in education happened during the reign of the People’s Revolution when secondary education was made free for everyone that passes the Common Entrance examination.
Previous to that, a minority of successful students were awarded scholarships, while the others that were awarded secondary school places had to pay. In addition, the revolution made it possible for students from any social level to access university education through scholarships they acquired from friendly nations. Today, the continuation of this is still the basis of human resource building in Grenada.
The second major move a government made toward making education easier to obtain. By all and sundry was when the 2008-2013 NDC administration made school books free for every student across the tri-island state.
This is not to say that other governments had not contributed to educational development in one way to the other, but these were the programmes designed to have a profound far-reaching and long-term positive impact on education.
Certainly, there is ongoing assistance in uniforms and other school items and expenses but this is limited in both its scope and the number of students that can benefit, it is more like a poor relief than a national programme
It would be tall ask to expect a country like Grenada with such limited means, to immediately begin the provide completely free education to all of its students, that that should have been a goal being continually worked toward. The free book programme by the previous NDC administration was a positive step in that direction but for whatever reason, it had to be discontinued. However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for this present administration to attempt it again eventually. It is not possible for this school year but it should be looked into in the near future.
The importance of education, especially for the growth of a small nation cannot be just paid lip service to or disregarded. It must be taken extremely seriously by any administration in office.
Take Cuba for example, despite the enormous economic pressure that has been brought on this small Caribbean nation by the United States through its economic blockades since 1962, the most enduring trade embargo in modern history, and the untold hardships it is causing, that country continues to make education entirely free and by extension continues to make the opportunity available at the university level for students of many other countries.
As Grenada’s students embark on a new school year, a new phase of their education, it is the hope that they are on the threshold of a new day in education and that access to education at all levels in Grenada will become incrementally easier as we go forward as a people. We need to talk less about the importance of education and do more to show it.

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