At a press conference today, educator and former school principal, Guibion Ferdinand, the Saint Lucia Labour Party’s rising star and endorsed candidate for Micoud South, proudly announced that the next Labour Government will introduce a new programme to assist parents in meeting the cost of the fees for CXC exams. This ground-breaking commitment forms one of the Prime Minister’s ‘Top 15 Pledges’ launched last week ahead of the General Election on June 6, 2016.

Since 1997, education and human resource development have become synonymous with the Saint Lucia Labour Party government. This is the government that eliminated the shift system in the school system. It constructed new secondary schools in Piaye, Anse Ger, Babonneau, Ciceron, Marigot and Gros Islet. It brought Universal Secondary Education to Saint Lucia to make it possible for every child in Primary School to get a secondary school education. It was a Labour administration that developed the Book Bursary programme for primary school students and introduced a textbook rental programme in secondary schools.

The achievements do not stop there. The National Skills Development Centre was established by a Labour government in 2001 and through the NSDC, Learning Enrichment Centres were set up in several locations around the island. The SLP understands that education must extend from toddler to senior which is why the National Enrichment and Learning Programme was established to give adults an opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge.

As a lifelong educator, Ferdinand proudly listed the impressive achievements delivered by the government in last four and a half years:

"We introduced a bursary of $500 to the parents of children who pass the Common Entrance examination. We provided a $700 Teaching Supplies Grant to teachers. We introduced the One Laptop per Child Programme, so that every student in Forms 3, 4 and 5 now own laptops, which they use for research and learning. We refurbished the Saltibus Combined, Denierre Rivierre Combined, Dennery Primary and Desruisseaux Combined Schools. We renovated the Vieux Fort Infant, the Corinth Secondary, Clendon Mason Memorial, Fond Assau Combined, Canaries Infant and Micoud Infant and Primary Schools. And, this is just the start. We intend to do more.

"This is who we are – a caring Party that believes everyone must be given an opportunity to succeed and to excel. This is why Labour is the only party for me, and the only party that puts the needs of the people first every time."

The scheme announced today, will help those families who find it difficult to meet the costs of CXC examinations from 2017 onwards. The programme will be based on need and performance, and it will ensure that no capable, deserving child is left behind and no parent will have to suffer the pain and anguish of not being able to register their child for CXC examinations.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party is preparing our children for a brighter future. More education priorities will be revealed at the SLP manifesto launch next week.

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