Speaker of the House of Representatives, Michael Pierre has been selected by government to chair an Education Review Committee that will serve as a watchdog body to the Ministry of Education.
This was announced by Minister of Education, Emmalin Pierre at last week’s Cabinet Briefing at the Ministerial Complex Conference Room at Tanteen, St. George in which she said that Cabinet approved the committee, along with an Advisory Council in accordance with Sections 9 and 178 of the Education Act.
According to Minister Pierre, the Committee should have already have been in operation and reporting to the Minister of Education but this has not been done for years.
“As a matter of fact, the review board should have been over the years reviewing our education system, should have been reporting to the Minister for Education. That report should have been tabled by the Minister of Education in Parliament and published publicly”, she said.
The House Speaker is the brother-in-law of Minister Pierre who is married to his brother, Tafawa Pierre, the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
Michael Pierre is also a former Chief Education Officer (CEO) in the Ministry of Education and past executive member of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT).
The Education Minister told reporters that the role of the committee, lead by Speaker Pierre is to review and assess how the Ministry of Education does business with special focus on: “…Are we doing business right? Are we operating by the standards that we’re supposed to be operating by? Are we functioning? Are we achieving our objectives?
“It supposed to be a serious scrutiny of the education system and that scrutiny must be published, it must be published so that Grenada can see how we’re doing and then we make a determination as to the way forward,” she added.
According to Minister Pierre, the Act also gives the ministry the power to appoint special committees to “ensure that we are implementing the Education Act and we are working on advancing the Education System”.
“Let me also say that one of those committees convened thus far is the Regulations committee. As you know the Act, which was developed in 2002, passed in Parliament, the act points to a number of areas in which regulations should have been developed and we are moving swiftly to ensure that we develop those regulations”, she said.
“So, that (Regulations) committee is meeting today (January 22nd) actually and we expect that within a week, they will have a presentation – that they would work in plenary after working in sub-committees. Following that, we expect a presentation will be made to the Advisory Committee and then to Cabinet anticipating that by the end of February, Ministry of Legal Affairs should have those documents ready for regulations,” she added.
Minister Pierre disclosed that another committee in the making under the act is intended to provide for the spiritual development of students.
She said: “We are firmly of the view that there is an urgent need to engage our churches in a deeper way in what is happening within our schools. I’ve always said this: I am very concerned about children who probably do not attend churches in their community, probably do not have an avenue at home for prayers and spiritual development and so I believe school must be an opportunity where this is provided.
“I am really happy to say too that at a recent meeting with representatives from the various denominations across Grenada, we have had firm commitments from our pastors, our leaders, that they are prepared to work with the Ministry of Education and so a sub-committee has been set up and that sub-committee would present a recommendation to the Ministry of Education basically outlining how this can be done within our schools.
Pierre’s ruling New National Party (NNP) has been in charge of Grenada’s education system for 19 of the past 24 years.