Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — The St. Kitts and Nevis National Education Foundation (SKNNEF) has been said to be “a vehicle through which the dreams of many students, teachers and budding professionals can be realised.”
These were the words of Minister of Education the Hon. Nigel Carty who explained that the initiative will provide personal financing that will help students of varying ages and from many different backgrounds to raise their levels of academic achievement and meet the challenges and demands of a competitive global environment.
Minister Carty added that the Foundation also increases the educational prospects for students by granting every individual the opportunity to have access to “an excellent cost of education.”
The Minister stated that his ministry continues to work on the premise that a strong education system is fundamental to strengthening the economy and raising the standard of living.
“This Ministry’s initiative has therefore been designed to remove the financial stumbling block which could prevent students desirous of accessing higher learning from pursuing their dreams and educational goals,” said the Education Minister. “Hence, this Foundation is yet another investment in the human resource development of our Federation and it is our expectation that the young people will avail themselves of this opportunity to achieve nothing less than excellence in their chosen fields of endeavour.”
The Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin, Deputy Prime Minister, stated that the establishment of the Education Foundation marks an important moment in the history of the nation.
“Education has played a very important role in our evolution as a nation. Education has always been important of course in all societies and in all individuals.”
Seana Benjamin-Mack, Guardian of the SKNNEF, stated that the Foundation is unique from other foundations.
“Different from other foundations, SKNNEF is supported by contributions from corporate sponsors and individuals who are willing, able and ready to support public education initiatives in the Federation.”
The Foundation will offer deserving, disadvantaged students an opportunity to receive “excellent public education” and encourage innovation and greater experiences in the teaching learning environment. It will also provide educational grants to non-profit organizations and design special funding initiatives to address the community’s critical educational challenges.
The Minister explained that, for example, if a contentious member of the Irish town community wishes to form an alliance with parents and other community members, to design programs to assist children of the community with their difficulties in reading and mathematics or even their behavioural challenges after which the Education Foundation will be a ready source of funding to assist them in their outreach.
The Education Foundation intends to work in partnership with donors and other funding agencies to achieve, impact and serve as a civic hub and a centre of information where ideas are shared, leaders of change are identified and common agendas of the future developed.
The Foundation will offer full, free universal preschool education, scholarships to students throughout their primary and secondary education. It will also offer an increase number of scholarships for students to pursue university education, thereby moving toward the objective of obtaining 20 percent of the population having university degrees in the next 10 to 15 years.
Providing after school programmes for socially disadvantaged students and improving standards of special education including early diagnostic intervention is also a part of the Foundation.
In addition, the Foundation is charged with creating an enabling environment for the further growth of young people and the achievement of national goals.
The Education Foundation was launched on October 11, 2014.