Government’s policies in line with expectations of youth population in St. Kitts-Nevis

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 15, 2019 (SKNIS): Thursday’s (February 14, 2019) National Consultation on YOUth Forum served as confirmation that the programmes and policies implemented by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis over the past four years have been in line with the priorities and expectations of the nation’s youth.

The forum, held at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel, was attended by more than 300 young people. Zafi Alder, a 5A1 student of the Charles E. Mills Secondary School (CEMSS), said that she was pleased with what she heard from the Cabinet Ministers, who sat on the panel.

“I’m actually impressed because most of the ideas that we came to them with, most of them are already in place or are in the preliminary stages and in a few years I feel that they will flourish,” she said.

Vanessa Simon, a 4A1 student of the Gingerland Secondary School went into the national forum wanting to know what plans are in place for renovating schools. Having heard the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Youth, the Honourable Shawn Richards, speak about the unit that regularly assesses school facilities, as well as some of the upcoming upgrade projects, Ms. Simon said she felt at ease.

During his presentation, Deputy PM Richards informed that much of the information including school upgrade plans, curriculum reform, and the enhancement of Technical and Vocational Educational Training have been made public via various media outlets. He encouraged the young people to keep abreast of local news broadcasts and publications.

In an interview after the forum, Deputy PM Richards said he was pleased with the level of interaction between the Cabinet and the students. However, he suggested that new strategies of communication will be considered given that some of the questions raised are already being robustly addressed by the government.

“That [is something] we need to improve upon—maybe more engagement on social media because when I asked the question ‘how many of you had cell phones?’ of course the majority of young persons raised their hands,” he said, adding that information shared with school administrators needs to filter down to students.

Deputy PM Richards said that other matters raised at the forum such as legal reforms, reviewing the age of consent, additional study opportunities, and improved customer service within public sector agencies will all be considered by the Cabinet.

“We need to address them so that young persons feel more comfortable, persons feel that in terms of their own issues they are being taken onboard by the government and they are not merely getting lip service from the government, which is there to represent and protect them,” he said.

Sociology student Darin Connor of the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College said: “the overall message to the ministers is to keep doing what they are doing in terms of pushing a progressive agenda forward and to keep the country and its people first.”

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