Minister of State with responsibility for Human Resource Development in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Senator Simon Stiell has sought to justify the budgetary cut the ministry has received in the coming fiscal year.
During his contribution to the debate on the 2016 budget in the Upper House of Parliament last week Thursday, Sen. Stiell who is the Leader of Government Business in the Senate said that out of the 2016 budget of $128,707,770, an allocation of $102.1M has been given to the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development. This year’s allocation is $11.9M less than what was provided in the 2015 budget.
However, Sen. Stiell said that reduction in the budgetary allocation for the ministry is mainly attributed to capital projects that were carried out in the refurbishment of a number of the educational institutions in 2015.
“In reality, it isn’t a reduction. It’s simply a completion of capital projects that are completed this year,” he told the Senate.
The minister of state indicated that there is an additional $10M provided for other educational services that fall under other areas such as the Prime Minister’s Ministry and the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).
During the past academic school year Grenada captured the top three positions in the regional Caribbean Primary Exist Assessment (CPEA), but boys continue to under-perform at the school-based academic exams.
Sen. Stiell said that out of the 1,837 students who wrote the 2015 CPEA Exam, 272 were retained at the primary level, adding that 204 were boys.
He said this phenomenon is being seen throughout the region “where our boys, our young men are doing poorly in our education system.”
The Government Senator said public schools are now registering good performances at exams as there has been an increase in the number of children from these schools placing in the top 50.
However, he indicated that “relevant education” calls for more technical and vocational skills training.
The government member also said the level of skills that is being imparted to the students, and the demands for skills at the workplace exceed those that are available in the school system.