BVI News

Additional school year in public high schools no longer mandatory

Dr Natalio Wheatley

The additional school year that was implemented in all public secondary schools in the BVI for the last three years will no longer be mandatory.

Announcing the change in the House of Assembly on February 20, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said, starting September 2020, Grade 10 students who satisfy a ‘strong academic criteria’ will now have the option of completing their senior years of high school in two years as opposed to the previous mandatory three.

“Once obtaining a grade of B+ and above, students can choose an accelerated track, which would still require them to complete the same graduation requirements, including credit requirements, examination passes, and community service hours in two years instead of three,” Dr Wheatley stated.

“In exceptional circumstances, students can qualify based on the recommendation of the principal of the institution. Those who fall below the required GPA (Grade Point Average) will finish in the three years that is presently required based on the present graduation requirements. This initiative will be reviewed in July 2021,” he added.

Thorough research conducted

Dr Wheatley said that thorough research and studies between schools in the territory coupled with feedback from public meetings held with various stakeholders were conducted before developing this new solution.

He said: “I commissioned the H Lavity Stoutt’s Planning Department to compare the performance of HLSCC students from the public secondary schools with the additional year with HLSCC students from private schools without the additional year. They also were to compare the performance of students before and after the introduction of the additional year.”

Additional year not linked to improved grades

The Education Minister said the empirical data after being analysed revealed that there was no link between the additional year of school and improved performances at the H Lavity Stoutt Community College – which was the first institution to house additional year students in 2017.

“The results of the study are enlightening. Firstly, St George’s [Secondary School] (which is a private institution) had a higher success rate, which is the percentage of students with a C or better, than Elmore Stoutt and Bregado Flax in 2017, and Seventh-day Adventist had a higher success rate than Elmore Stoutt and Bregado Flax in 2018. Both Bregado Flax and Elmore Stoutt had higher success rates in 2013 than in 2017 and 2018,” Dr Wheatley explained.

“In fact, in some instances, the private schools, which did not implement an additional year, had a greater percentage of A’s and B’s on the college level or had results which were similar to that of their peers from public secondary schools. This is also reflected in the CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Schools Examination Council) results,” he added.

Proposal was well-received during 2019 meetings

According to Dr Wheatley, his proposal on the additional year was well-received by stakeholders during community meetings which were held in June 2019.

Teachers and parents who attended the meeting were mostly in agreement with the notion that students who excel at a much faster rate should not be forced to do three senior years.

The majority also felt that the additional year should still remain in place as an option for students who develop at a slower rate than normal, that may need it.

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  1. yes says:

    Kill all of myron efforts trump style

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  2. oh boy says:

    Here goes another one-termer

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    • Ausar says:

      What you’ve stated essentially, Dr. Wheatley, is that the public schools are preety much in the dumps!

      Private high schools, with less than three years performance, had better scorers, than public schools with three years performance???

      I guess, even if we gave six years to the public high school educative experience, they still would fall short of those from the private school experiences!!

      Perhaps, now is the time for the total disbandment of the public high school systems in its entirety!


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  3. NDP supporter says:

    Now I agree with this move by the vip Government

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  4. Michael Helm says:

    Will this improve the overall graduation rate? It will certainly let the faster learners move on to tertiary studies sooner, but are we now potentially creating a less coheavish society, based on when you graduated. It could make it a lot harder for the three yearers to get good jobs.after graduation.
    I suggest that , in tandem with this program, we should be addressing the students who don’t graduate. We need more vocational education…turning out potential carpenters, elctrictians, nurses, , even farmers.

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    • school says:

      they literally have a whole tech school. Utilization is the problem. it is a one size system fit all structure. that needs to be adjusted.

      who care when you graduate really? Degrees don’t even carry no weigh here so. universities don’t care either. meet the pre-requisites and the rest is history.

      Let the kid be kids learn at their pace and develop well.
      Learning is on going

  5. Asessment says:

    I understand the Minister’s position, but you need to make a decision on the matter. Either there is an additional year or there isn’t. If a child fails, they repeat. What type of crazy decision is this?
    As far as assessment with the Private Schools, how can you an educator compare apples to oranges. The Private Schools have far less students than the public school and therefore each child would receive more attention. The student to teacher radio is low. In addition, the work load for public school teachers is different from that of private school teacher.
    In is nationally known that Private Schools’ success rate is usually high than that of the Public Schools’. That’s why parents sacrifice to send their children to Private School so that they can get more time and attention from the teachers.
    Just my thoughts!

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    • Private school parent says:

      @Asessment, 100% correct. That is exactly why I sacrifice for my child to attend private school.

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      • Another Parent says:

        It is worth sending your children to private school in the BVI. They have a much better chance.

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      • Something to think about says:

        I teat mines as though they are in school seven days because when they go out in the so called developed nations the competition fierce .

        • @Something to think about says:

          Sorry but, my two go to school 7 days a week. They go to regular school on the weekdays and MOMMY SCHOOL on Saturday and Sunday for 4 hours. All I am doing is preparing them for a productive future. Soon a High School Diploma or GED is going to be required for a job washing dishes, cleaning toilets or flipping burgers.

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    • Parent says:

      Charter Schools is also very good schools.

    • school says:

      they literally have a whole tech school. Utilization is the problem. it is a one size system fit all structure. that needs to be adjusted.

      who care when you graduate really? Degrees don’t even carry no weigh here so. universities don’t care either. meet the pre-requisites and the rest is history.

      Let the kid be kids learn at their pace and develop well.
      Learning is on going

    • Expect little get little! says:

      “As far as assessment with the Private Schools, how can you an educator compare apples to oranges”. But they are all students doing the same exam to be graduates in the VI.(the ministry set these exams) so yes Expectation of better is needed.

  6. Will say says:

    That is why the BVI is turning out so many numb skulls. To soft on public education. In China the kids go to school 7 days per week.

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    • NB says:

      Why should a child attend school 7 days a week? Would you like to work 7 days a week? Your level of ignorance is amazing.

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      • @NB says:

        If I have to work 7 days I will. That is why you people will always be a bunch of low level functioning people. How about that. You have a great day underachieving fink.

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        • @@NB says:

          Facts! What is worse thank ‘WORK’?…NO WORK!.

        • NB says:

          Awww no wonder you are so miserable. You need a hug. You need to reevaluate your pathetic life. It is overflowing in your blog. Get help. I rather be a low level functioning person and be happy rather than have your mentality. You have a great day overachieving unstable little person

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          • LMAO says:

            Poor NB can’t take the heat. Poor NB the inept looser that was never given a chance to get further than the 2nd grade because NB had to herd livestock.Poor NB, what a pathetic looser. Continue to herd the livestock. Don’t hate the educated minds NB, hate your ineptness.LMA0.

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      • @NB says:

        That is one of the reasons the people is slow and dumb. The children of the BVI public school system is being cheated out of the full potential of having a decent education that will help them to fully reach their potential. Finish high school at 16, get a dead end job at the Post Office, Bank or the hospital that’s it.

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        • @NB says:

          Yes finish high school at 16 w at least 5 CXC passes then go on to the HLSCC. You parents are too willing to drop the ball on your kids. You are a parent until that child holds a degree or a valued trade to serve in society.

      • @NB says:

        If they can spend 7 days a week roaming the streets or sitting at home on their phones, PS4, and listening to rap music they can go to school 7 days a week. The world is getting harder each day. What are they going to do when the time comes for them to function in the real world. Does that sound ignorant to you?

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      • @NB says:

        The original comment never said that the BVI should make the kids go to school 7 days a week or parents should send their kids to school 7 days a week. The blogger was merely saying the kids in Asia goes to school 7 days a week. No, your level of ignorance is amazing in the year 2020.

    • Anonymous says:

      I concur !

    • AM says:

      Hmm, or year round. Less vacation time in between. They could get three months off, but taking them one month at a time, at three different times of the year. Or maybe just two-three week breaks between terms. Or keep the same breaks, but have a month of summer vaction instead of two? But I don’t see which teacher would be excited about that. I think 7 days is too much. Even big G rested on the 7th day.

  7. TurtleDove says:

    Something inside me is telling me that 16 year olds are not ready to navigate life. I could be wrong.

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  8. Love for my Country says:

    At the Elmore Stoutt Graduation last year 10 students graduated with High Honors and You Minister Wheatley announced that they were the top ten in the Territory. These students from what was said had several CXCs, did Cape and dual enrollment. Does that not say that our public system is doing well. At first I was concerned about the extra year but since then I have seen the benefits of it.
    For me it gave the students time to prepare themselves well for college and beyond. We should be doing everything to push our students to as high a standard as we can go. Why do you think we have such success with CXC? Think aboutit. Find a way to deal with those students who are not able to keep up but do not destroy other students.

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  9. Baxkward step says:

    This is a backward step for our children. Two of my children went through the extra school year. One did cape and the other was doing college classes. I understood what the former administration was trying to do and I agreed with it. The BVI was tops in CXC. Let us see what will happen now.

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  10. Socrates says:

    1.Is the VIP/MEC waffling on the extra year with this non decision?
    2. Does the Premier need to publicly weigh in on this extra school year?
    3. Is the current practice in the Caribbean and else where that any thing that the incumbent government does is good and anything that the former government or opposition does is bad even if it is good a good governing practice?
    4. Does the VI need a referendum for voter approval on national planning, including education?
    5. Is 16 too young to be graduating from high school or secondary school?
    6. Will the extra year better prepare students for further study or the world of work?
    7. Has enough time elapsed and enough data available to make an informed decision on the extra year?
    8. What was the level of confidence in the data, ie, 80%, 90%, 95%?
    9. How long (minimum) do students in top education performing countries, ie, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Finland, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan……etc spend in high school?
    10. Are there more urgent and important education issues than this extra year decision/focus?
    11. Was this decision/non-decision rushed?
    12. Was this decision political and a resume builder?
    13. Would it serve the territory well if fifth form was split into A. and B? A for the gifted and B for others.
    14. Is the MEC, Youth Affairs, Sports, Agriculture and Fisheries setting the Territory on fire?
    15. Is this ministry too big to be effective? Does not a business that offer a myriad of services typically does non well? Does a jack of all trades does anything well?
    16. Should not Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Natural Resources be lumped together?
    17. Should an independent third party entity be hired to evaluate and determine if the extra year is a waste of time or it adds value to national education security?

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    • @Socrates says:

      The entire VIP team are well out of their league and its showing more and more with the passing of each day. Seeing all the work and effort put into this additional year, all the Minister had to do is tell the people “look, we will give this 2 more years then analyse the data thereafter and make a firm decision”.. What information did he use to come up with this half-decision? Look at every Ministry and nothing is moving, we have a deer in the headlights government that were good at making noise and campaigning but are horrible at governing.

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  11. Point says:

    The minister outright declared that the public education needs an overhaul. What is he doing to bring the standard of the Elmore Stoutt high school to a standard that will be comparable to that of St. Georges and BVI SDA school.
    Wondering minds want to know.
    What he just said has little to do with the extra year on the whole for public schools.

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  12. NDP says:

    FORWARDS NEVER BACKWARDS FOREVER is the new vip slogan

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  13. Haha says:

    For over 60 years of BVI Education we never needed a 6th form. No current member of government went through the 6th form. Sowande has his masters degree and graduated from BVI High class of 96 without the need for a 6th Form. None of the people complaining went through a 6th form. You dont need a 6th form to be successful or pursue higher education. These are facts.

    If Myron never started the 6th Form nobody would have cared. There were more parents upset with the 6th Form than there were people asking for a 6th form. How many of the managers, permanent secretaries, bankers, accountants, lawyers and people with Bachelors and Masters Degrees who went through the BVI education system completed a 6th form? The answer is 0. Saying otherwise is a slap in the face to all the current students because we went through the same thing.
    The 6th form isn’t a bad thing but dont act like it’s a bad thing if it doesn’t exist.

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  14. Two cents says:

    Please, now bring back the old high school certificate minus the Grade I, II & III. Just have one standard school leaving certificate.

  15. WHAT! says:

    Faulty reasoning, Dr. Wheatley! You are comparing apples and oranges. You are comparing students who had TWO years of HALF DAY classes in a super loud environment where no one could hear anything, to students who had full day in a normal pre-Irma classroom, and wondering why the students with half day classes did so poorly????!!!

  16. Hmm says:

    I would recommend B.V.I. Seventh Day High School any day!

  17. What a ting says:

    Too many people opening up their mouths and does not have a clue about what really happens in Education . Suddenly everyone is an expert . Ten years ago children read more, parents had a firmer grip on their children , children and parents had dinner talks ( not everyone head in phone ) teachers were more knowledgeable and respected , discipline the number ONE that is needed for learning to take place was at a higher level . Today , more than the average child is lacking in this aspect . The school reflects the society so whether you have extra year or take off the year, Education is going to the DOGS in the BVI ask the principal how many students signed up for CXC only a handful . The others write a Grade 8 EPE exam and this make them eligible for HLSCC or the World of work Sad but true . The average child out of high school cannot read or write a proper sentence . Stop hiding the truth

  18. 79' Grad says:

    @Haha, there was a sixth form at bvi high school in the mid to late 70’s

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