BVI News

Wheatley to decide whether to continue ‘extra school year’ in a week

Dr Natalio Wheatley

A definitive decision will be made within the next week on whether to change or keep the ‘additional year’ at public secondary schools.

Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said the decision will be made by June 27 after community meetings are had with members of the public.

“I would like to give the public an opportunity to express their views; particularly parents and students who’ve gone through it and who are about to go through it to share some information so I can have the benefit of their experience and their knowledge before making a decision,” Dr Wheatley stated.

“I’ve been getting a set of useful information from education officers. They have been able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses and, of course, whenever you introduce change, you never get full buy-in. There are always views for and against. But, it is my job to balance the views of the different stakeholders along with my view and make a decision,” he added.

Dr Wheatley also encouraged persons to come out and express their unadulterated views.

“I want persons to be able to speak freely and regardless of what my view was coming in, if there are other views which makes more sense, I will go with the prevailing views. I do not want people to feel as though I have predetermined any decisions because I have not. I am honestly coming to listen to what persons have to say and I will take those views into consideration in my final decision,” the Education Minister added.

The legislator said he will continue to discuss similar matters with the public going forward.

“I think consultation and engagement is important in the ministerial process in ministers making decisions. So that is going to be my style of leadership going forward. The public can expect that I will have regular meetings with them discussing important issues,” Dr Wheatley stated.

The first of the two meetings are scheduled for 6 pm today at the Catholic Community Centre in Virgin Gorda while the second meeting is set for Thursday at Althea Scatliffe Primary School at 6pm.

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  1. Ausar says:

    another of myrun failed polices it needs to end point blank

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  2. Hmmm says:

    The mere fact he talking about it, we know what the outcome is likely to be.

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  3. CW says:

    Where are all the experts and haters that comment on all the other articles? You lot have nothing to say about education and ITS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR THE FUTURE OF BVI.

    Keep arguing about the Buju concerts that’s OVER ALREADY strupes

    Like 13
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  4. EV says:

    I respect his philosophic approach to Ministerial governance and decision making.

    Sometimes, it takes a while and a lot of words and actions to begin to understand a wee bit about what is inside a man.

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  5. Herb says:

    O shoot! When i stepped on this playing on the radio, i thought it was about listening to what persons have to say about legalizing the herb!

  6. Weir D. Playne says:

    I think this is the way that all important matters should be handled from now on. Hold public meetings and I hope that the live streams continue as well. For too long decisions that affect us all have been made in the dark. Even if the decision is not one that is preferred at least the opportunity to contribute was given.

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    • Bj says:

      I personally think it should be drop.
      Aint maked no sence gettin it in the place
      Just one extra year holdin students back
      From startin thier future. Plus some students may be over age . Tryin thier very best just to make it to 5th form
      Knowin thats the last form. And hear they have to do a hold next year for what .

  7. Hmmm says:

    Only make the island people children do 6 form.

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    • I agree. says:


      They are already smarter so that would be a plus.

      Did you see who topped the HLSCC last week? An island person child.

      Damn nonsense.

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  8. Educator says:

    It is needed but it should be at the elementary level. Before Children were coming out of school too early at age 16. Having difficulties i getting job and going overseas to college.

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  9. Teacher says:

    The BVI has to decide if they want an American system or a Caribbean system. They are totally confused and so are we!

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  10. TBS says:

    While at it, check the dropout rate since the addition of the 6th year. Also keep in the forefront of your mind that maturity is a state of mind!

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    • Yes says:

      Maturity is a state of mind. Most 16 year olds are not ready for the workforce. They think they are because we are taught about ideal, nice productive workplaces that are far and in between. Also, most 16 year olds are not ready to travel abroad and be on their own. Most need more preparation.

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      • Proud Mother says:

        My 16 years old went abroad to UWI right after High School graduation and is now practicing medicine in the BVI, so your statement is not factual for all.

        • Sigh says:

          1 child? really, you’re basing your entire opinion on the matter off one child’s success…wow. The apple apparently fell far from the tree 😐

      • TBS says:

        Most? Children are more resourceful and resilient than we think!

  11. is it possible? says:

    Is it possible to start their major/concentration in 3rd form instead and still study their major for the 3 years or would third form be to soon? Just wondering.

  12. Quiet Warrior says:

    Change should not be made for change sake; change should not be made simply because one has the authority/power to do so; change should not be made simply because an initiative was put in place by the Opposition. Change should be made because it improves a process, it improves value, it creates progress…….etc. Did the extra year better prepare students for a tertiary education? Did the extra year better prepare students for the world of work? Did the extra year resulted in more mature students? Has enough time elapse to produce data that points towards either progress or failure? The VIP government has been in power less than 4 months so has enough time elapse to effectively evaluate this programme? The people give VIP a mandate for change but if you effect change bad, you get it bad. Slow and steady wins the race (hare and tortoise fable).

    Developed countries ( ie, US, Singapore..etc) have the extra year of school. Is it adding value in these countries? Yes. Singapore is always at the top or near the top in educational achievement. In any evident, the extra year should not be slaughtered on the altar of just tribal politics.

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    • Disinterested says:

      “In any evident, the extra year should not be slaughtered on the altar of just tribal politics.” Will politics play into the decision? Will personal beliefs play into the decision? Is the extra new a win-win for the students and territory? Is 16 too young to be graduating from secondary school? Is 16 too young to be attending college overseas on one’s own?

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  13. Suffering in silence says:

    The additional year was not properly thought out and it lacked input from some of the most important stakeholders:the parents and the teachers. We were basically called into a meeting where we were told what was going to happen. I guess that’s what consultation means for some persons.
    As far as I understand, the additional year was put in to satisfy accreditation which has now died. The problem with this is that we are burdening the children as well as the teachers. Children are being prepared for CXC and at the same time have to be acquiring enough credits (American) to graduate so what u find happening is that, unlike everywhere else in the Caribbean our children have to be in school right throughout CXC doing work for credit. They don’t get a break.It’s a miracle how some of these students cope. We need to decide if we want an American style education or a Caribbean style education. Right now, as the previous blogger pointed out, we are all confused.
    CAPE was an after thought and of such not preparation was made for it so we have some of the students doing one or two cCAPE units and then it ends so basically they are leaving school with “half of a subject”. In the rest of the Caribbean students spend two years in 6th form where they do units one and two, thus leaving with 3 or 4 fully completed subjects. With that they can go straight into university.
    I remember clearly when they were selling the programme to parents, they told them that they would complete their CAPE subjects (unit2) at HLSCC- that never materialized.
    The other problem too is because there was not adequate preparation made for this additional year, u have many students basically wasting time- spending an extra year to do over what they did in grade 11 in order to have enough credits to graduate. There are too many covered up issues with this additional year and no one ever met with us to assess how it was working. It needs to be revamped and a proper discussion held with all stakeholders to determine what’s best for the children.

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  14. Ok says:

    The extra year should be added to primary not high school

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  15. VI gyal says:

    The year needs to stay. Revamp it to ensure the students are kept busy and also take on some college level Math and English courses. Use that time for Colleges to come and have a College meet day, especially with HLSCC and UVI

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  16. Play with our future says:

    We will continue to play games until our education system goes back to the terrible, grade lowing, lack of accountability etc system that we had when Andrew Fahie was education minister. All in the name of politics. The reality is that the education system improved several folds over the last eight years. I listened last night to the town hall meeting and found it very strange that only the minister for education spoke. Where were the voices of the technical people in the ministry such as the chief education officer, the permanent secretary, the education officers etc. I recall when the additional year and all the other changes were being made these technical persons were the ones conducting the meetings and discussions primarily. It leads me to believe that they are not in favor of what is being done and so were placed on gag. The minister speaking solely at this meeting only after being in the job for a little over 3 months seems more political to me than what is in the interest of the education system. His arguments lacked structure. They lacked substance and empirical data. Lacked rationale. He was not able to say whether students benefitted from the year or not. And I could not help but notice that most of the people at the meeting in VG were their supporters. Our students came tops in the OECS two years in a row after the changes let us see how they perform going forward. We play too much politics with everything. How are our children going to move our economy forward in years to come when they are not adequately prepared. Talk to the people in the business community and they will tell you the problems they encounter with school leavers on the simplest task. Something is wrong! Build on what was done by the NDP. Don’t tear it down because you are looking political points. Simple is most times not better.

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    • Eyes wide shut says:

      Wow wow!! This is a wise person speaking. Kudos to you on such notable observation. We are in a train wreck with this Gov.

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  17. Keep it up BVI says:

    I guess two meetings, three months after election that lasted an hour with only the minister speaking without any real data to support his utterances is well thought out. Politics will be the the death of this country. Keep it up. We are doing well!

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  18. Question says:

    No one is discussing what is actually being taught in this sixth year. Are students simply doing the extra year in order to be older before they graduate or are they learning more advanced material than the previous year. We need to discuss what is being accomplished in this extra year. Why waste a year?

  19. Ny says:

    Yesss it is need in all primary school

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