PM Douglas: ‘Do not downplay the importance of English and Mathematics’

File photo of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and students (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS,AUGUST 21ST 2012 (CUOPM) – Parents and students in St. Kitts and Nevis have been urged to guard against becoming so enarmored with new subject areas that they down play the importance of the bedrock subjects like Englishand Mathematics.

“Itis very important for us to remember that no matter how brilliantly a student may perform in, say, textiles or information technology, their ultimate success in this modern world will require them to be able to master high school mathematics, I they want to compete and survive they will have to be able toexpress themselves clearly and effectively in the English language,” said PrimeMinister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas during his weekly radio programme Ask the Prime Minister on Tuesday.

Dr.Douglas said he was aware of a news report dealing with the CXC Examination Council’s concerns about a decline in overall regional performance where subjects like English and Mathematics are concerned, with strong performances being noted in such non-traditional areas as textiles and information technology.

He said he expects Minister of Education, the Honorable Nigel A. Carty to provide the nation “with a thorough analysis of exactly how the Federation’s students fared this year.”

“I am looking forward to the release of this information because, as everyone knows, a solid educational grounding is key to young people – anywhere – being able to build stable, secure lives,” said Dr. Douglas.

“Let us remember that the best textile specialist or the best information technologyspecialist who cannot express themselves properly, or who is unable tounderstand the mathematical aspects of life – in such areas as personal budgeting, percentage discounts or markups, the square footage of, say, a home or land that they may be considering buying, and so on, will be placing themselves at a severe disadvantage,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

“I stress that while I welcome these new and exciting CXC subject areas, and while I certainly welcome the fact that Caribbean young people are taking so enthusiastically to them, we must be clear: Our young people MUST be able to master the fundamentals of math and English if they are to make it in this twenty-first century,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

With the new school year about to begin early next month, Prime Minister Douglas calledon teachers, parents, guardians and students to “roll up our sleeves and do what we have to do to ensure that our young people keep their eyes on the ball.Let me try to make this point by using beauty pageants as a frame of reference.”

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