PEP brings relief to Tucker Clarke School students during Test of Standards

Basseterre, St. Kitts — The Tucker Clarke Primary School in Newtown on St. Kitts has received so much blessings from the People Employment Programme (PEP), the principal Mr Sylvester Charles now calls it a ‘PEP School’.

By the time the national Test of Standards Examinations started last month (on Wednesday June 11) the People Employment Programme had helped avert a logistical nightmare when 26 refurbished desks were delivered to the school to allow students comfortably sit the exams that would help shape their future.

“We had some deteriorating desks; some broken down desks that were in disrepair,” explained Mr Charles. “We had received a quantity from the government in September last year but it was not enough in terms of the school as it is a very large school, so we needed to make sure that all the children were comfortable.”

Seeing the need at the school, Mr Charles approached PEP’s Project Manager, Mr Geoffrey Hanley, who said that he would try to do something to assist the school because he had some PEP workers who were repairing and refurbishing broken down desks and he was willing to assist the school.

“It was a promise that he made and he was able to fulfil that promise and the school is eternally grateful for this assistance,” said the school principal. “The 26 desks came at a time when we were actually fixing, arranging and organising the classes perfectly for the National Test of Standards so the kids were more comfortable to write the exams.”

The Tucker Clarke Primary School is one of the large schools in the country, with about 500 students and about 21 classrooms.

“This particular school has benefitted greatly from the People Employment Programme,” observed Mr Charles. “We have PEP workers all over. We have Teaching Assistant Officers, library Assistants, lunch room assistants, and cleaners, all from PEP.

“We even have traffic wardens, coaches and grounds men and so we at the school are indebted to PEP because before we didn’t have all this resource and so we are eternally grateful. It has been a tremendous help to the management of the school to have this particular assistance coming from PEP. I am very proud to have them all with us as the assistance has really brought this school to another level in terms of the human resources at our disposal.”

Mr Charles observed that the Teaching Assistant Officers attached to the school are being introduced to some of the fundamental skills of teaching. He added that they are doing well and noted that there is one or two who are able to hold special classes for children having difficulties.

“It has been a blessing to the school,” noted Mr Charles. “It has really eased the burden on the regular teachers. I think PEP is an outstanding programme unsurpassed by any. I am happy when our young people are put to work and given some supposition and guidance, because this has been a tremendous assistance to the different institutions not only in teaching but in other areas as well and in the private sector.”

Two of the Teaching Assistant Officers at the Tucker Clarke Primary School, Ms Mechiel Francis and Ms Ruthlyn Bradshaw, said that the People Employment Programme was a tremendous opportunity not only for the participants but for the entire country which stands to gain as the participants are trained in different areas of their choice.

“I am loving the experience here,” said Ms Francis. “I feel like I am having a free do over in life, a second chance in life to be back in primary school again so I could pick up from what I did miss back then.

“I am grateful for the opportunity that PEP has given me because before then I had nothing to do I was home for about three years having nothing to do. So I am grateful for PEP for actually placing me here. I am actually here as a role model to children and for that I am glad for the opportunity from PEP.”

Originally from Newton Ground, Ms Ruthlyn Bradshaw said that when she joined the People Employment Programme she was initially posted to the Immigration Department, where she says that she had a good experience. She however requested that she be transferred to a school because she has a passion for helping children with their school work.

“I am working here more like to help slow learners,” said Ms Bradshaw. “PEP is a blessing. It is a blessing to me and a blessing to every young person, old persons, and those in between … it is a blessing to the children that I am working with.

“People say PEP is a waste of time but in my opinion PEP is a blessing. PEP has encouraged us to be something because people want us to be nothing. We young people, they want us to be nothing. PEP is making me to not only do something, but to be something of value.”

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