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Darcy Boyce

COTED meeting agrees on CCREE full operationalisation

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 20, CMC – The Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Energy has ended here with an agreement that work has advanced towards the full operationalisation of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) by the middle of this year.

Minister of State in the Office of the Barbados Prime Minister, Darcy Boyce, who chaired the one-day meeting on Thursday, said “we can then move forward with appointment of the executive board and staffing of the Centre”.

Darcy Boyce
Darcy Boyce

Montserrat became the latest Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to have deposited its instruments of ratification of the agreement establishing the CCREEE.

Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica and Belize are the other CARICOM countries that have deposited their instruments of ratification.

The Centre is intended to function as the implementation hub for the CARICOM Energy Policy, as well as the Caribbean Sustainable Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). I

n 2015, CARICOM leaders approved the establishment of the CCREEE and identified Barbados as the host country for its Secretariat. The COTED agreed to interim operations of the Centre in January, 2016 and on Thursday, the meeting agreed on decisions related to the transition from that interim stage to the first operational phase.

When fully operational, the Centre is expected to improve the quantity and quality of programmes and projects in sustainable energy within the region.

“We had a very useful meeting, and I expect that we would have put ourselves in a position to achieve a lot more in the energy sector, in renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next few years,’ Boyce said, adding that “good progress” had also been made on the matter of labelling of energy efficient equipment within the region.

He said this step would ensure that people knew “exactly what they were getting” when they bought equipment and sought to encourage them to acquire more efficient equipment and appliances for their properties.

The meeting also approved a pilot programme which will get underway shortly to promote energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings. Substantial discussions were held on integrating climate resilience into the C-CERMS against the background of the region’s vulnerability to intense climate-related events.

The one-day meeting also discussed insurance and electricity disruption.

“We felt that we needed to discuss ways in which we could get the work done to guide us… to become more resistant to those situations, and to help us to recover faster” when there are natural disasters,” Boyce said.

He said the ministers also took stock of the availability of technical assistance under the CARIFORUM Regional Programme for Energy under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) to get the resources that were necessary for studies and to implement projects to grow the energy sector.

The ministers also had “robust” discussions on oil and gas in the Region. A working group is to be established to consider how there could be deeper cooperation and more advice available on the technical matters on that sector.

Boyce had at the start of the meeting made reference to the region’s oil and gas sector, and its potential to benefit the populace.

“While we are all determined to make sure that we benefit as best as we can from renewable energy and energy efficiency, we all also have to bear in mind that if we are the owners of resources, we ought not to let those resources stand there idly, but we should use them for the benefit of our countries and for the Region.

“So I am very glad that we are not shying away from the matter of oil and gas. It is a matter of balancing … oil and gas, with the natural resource of sunlight, and wind, and water. And this is what it is all about: optimising, getting the best mix of those resources to give our people and our economies what they need”, he said.

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crimmee

Secondary school student in brutal attack on mother

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Apr 20, CMC –Education Minister Anthony Garcia said that the necessary resources and experts from the Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education will be sent to a secondary school, south of here, after a student is reported to have severely injured his mother in a fit of rage over school work earlier this week.

crimmeeGarcia said that the Ministry had received a report regarding the incident in which the 15-year-old Presentation College student allegedly chopped his mother almost severing one of her arms, and also inflicting multiple wounds to her head, chest and arms.

The student has since been taken into police custody following the incident on Wednesday night.

Police said that the woman had been found at the house by her husband on his return from work on Thursday and that the student had been found in a nearby village after fleeing the house.

The mother has since undergone emergency and the Head of Central Division, Senior Superintendent,  Inraj Balram described the incident as very disturbing.

“It is appalling for a 15-year-old who is attending a prestigious school to resort to that kind of violence against his own mother. I am pleading with people who have troubled children to seek counselling for them,” Balram is quoted in the Friday edition of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

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Reid

CAPE students could earn credits to universities -Reid

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Apr 20, CMC – Education Minister Ruel Reid says students pursuing the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) will have an opportunity to earn credits for entry to certain universities in Jamaica.

Reid told students of the St Mary High School that as of September this year, he will be working with the local office of the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to make this a reality.

Reid
Ruel Reid (File Photo)

“You will have a whole suite of subjects around your CAPE programme, which will be the equivalent to 60 college credits, so that when you complete sixth form you go into university with the credits. This means (that) you will end up completing your first degree in a much shorter time, and you will also reduce the cost of your university education,” he said.

Reid was visiting schools in the parish in response to a letter from Alicia Blake, a student who had expressed gratitude to the minister for enabling her to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) while in hospital.

Reid said that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be signed with the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to facilitate opportunities for students on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) to pursue courses of study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

He said more scholarships would also be provided to students on the PATH programme but will require the government to bond them “for five years, so that we can get you back to work for us in Jamaica to build our country, so that it becomes very progressive and prosperous”.

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The docking of two robotic spacecraft, the Tiangong 1 space station and Shenzhou 8 capsule, provided a preview of larger Chinese space complexes planned for the future.

Farewell, Tiangong-1: Chinese Space Station Meets Fiery Doom Over South Pacific Ocean

 

An artist’s concept of China’s Tiangong-1 space station prototype burning up in Earth’s atmosphere during its fiery fall back to Earth overnight on April 1-2, 2018.

Credit: Alejandro Miranda/Alamy

Tiangong-1 is no more.

China’s prototype space station, whose name translates as “Heavenly Palace 1,” met a fiery end in Earth’s atmosphere today (April 1), breaking apart and burning up in the skies over the southern Pacific Ocean at about 8:16 p.m. EDT (0016 April 2 GMT), according to the U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Force Space Component Command (JFSCC).

“The JFSCC used the Space Surveillance Network sensors and their orbital analysis system to confirm Tiangong-1’s re-entry,” U.S. Air Force officials wrote in a statement. [Tiangong-1: China’s Falling Space Station in Pictures

Some pieces of the school-bus-size Tiangong-1 almost certainly survived the fall, but the odds that they caused any damage or injury are extremely small: You had a less than 1-in-1-trillion chance of getting hit by a flaming chunk of the heavenly palace, according to experts with the Aerospace Corporation. 

By the way, if you do manage to find such a chunk of Tiangong-1, don’t pick it up or breathe in any fumes emanating from it. The space junk may be contaminated with hydrazine, a toxic rocket fuel, experts have said.

Tiangong-1 was about 34 feet long by 11 feet wide (10.4 by 3.4 meters), and it weighed more than 9 tons (8 metric tons). The space lab consisted of two main parts: an “experimental module” that housed visiting astronauts and a “resource module” that accommodated Tiangong-1’s solar-energy and propulsion systems.

https://www.space.com/40101-china-space-station-tiangong-1-crashes.html

The docking of two robotic spacecraft, the Tiangong 1 space station and Shenzhou 8 capsule, provided a preview of larger Chinese space complexes planned for the future.
The docking of two robotic spacecraft, the Tiangong 1 space station and Shenzhou 8 capsule, provided a preview of larger Chinese space complexes planned for the future.

Credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor

The craft launched without anyone aboard on Sept. 29, 2011, to an orbit about 217 miles (350 kilometers) above Earth. That’s slightly lower than the orbit of the much larger International Space Station, whose average altitude is 250 miles (400 km). Tiangong-1’s main mission was to help China master the technologies required to assemble and operate a bona-fide space station in Earth orbit, a goal the nation aims to achieve by the early 2020s, the country has said.

On Nov. 2, 2011, the robotic Shenzhou-8 spacecraft visited Tiangong-1, executing China’s first-ever orbital docking. Another big milestone came in June 2012, when a crew of three spaceflyers linked their Shenzhou-9 vehicle to the heavenly palace and came aboard for a spell.

Three more “taikonauts,” or Chinese astronauts, visited in June 2013, traveling on the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft. Each of these crewed missions lasted about two weeks.

Tiangong-1’s design lifetime was just two years, and the space lab’s work was mostly done after Shenzhou-10 departed. The empty space lab continued to do some Earth-observation work, however, and researchers and engineers kept in touch with it until March 2016, when data transmission between Tiangong-1 and its handlers stopped, for reasons that China never explicitly specified. At that point, an uncontrolled atmospheric re-entry was apparently inevitable.

This is the view of outside researchers. But Chinese space officials dispute such terminology, said Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation who’s an expert on China’s space program. [The Biggest Spacecraft to Fall Uncontrolled From Space]

“The Chinese insist that it is controlled,” Cheng told Space.com. “They’re very, very unhappy when you use this term ‘uncontrolled.'”

Chinese officials say that they know where Tiangong-1 is and can provide location updates at any time, Cheng added. But for other spacefaring nations, a “controlled” re-entry is one performed under the guidance of a spacecraft’s handlers — for example, the intentional de-orbiting of the Soviet/Russian Mir space station over the Pacific Ocean in March 2001. 

https://www.space.com/40101-china-space-station-tiangong-1-crashes.html

“We should be diplomatically, and in the space-policy world, pushing China to accept a definition of ‘control’ that is comparable to that of the rest of the rules-based world. You don’t get your own definition,” Cheng said. “To support that, there need to be some sticks here,” he added, referring to consequences.

The re-entry of Tiangong-1 was tracked by the JFSCC, the U.S.-based analysis group Aerospace Corp., the European Space Agency and scientists around the world as part of a global space-debris tracking network. 

“The JFSCC works alongside government, industry and international partners to track and report reentries, to include today’s Tinagong-1 reentry, because the space domain is vital to our shared international security interests,” JFSCC deputy commander Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting, commander of the 14th Air Force, said in the JFSCC statement. “One of our missions, which we remain focused on, is to monitor space and the tens of thousands of pieces of debris that congest it, while at the same time working with allies and partners to enhance spaceflight safety and increase transparency in the space domain.”

“All nations benefit from a safe, stable, sustainable, and secure space domain,” Whiting said. “We’re sharing information with space-faring nations to preserve the space domain for the future of mankind.”

Tiangong-1’s successor, Tiangong-2, launched to Earth orbit in September 2016 and hosted three visiting astrpnauts a month later. And a robotic vessel called Tianzhou-1 rendezvoused with Tiangong-2 a few months later, performing several automated docking and refueling operations from April 2017 to September 2017.

The success of these missions apparently has China poised to start building a permanent space station. The nation aims to begin construction and assembly operations next year, and the first crewed missions to the outpost could come in 2022, Chinese space officials have said.

Tiangong-1 is not the biggest spacecraft ever to fall from the sky. That distinction goes to the 140-ton (127 metric tons) Soviet/Russian space station Mir, which was guided to a controlled destruction over the Pacific Ocean in March 2001.

The largest craft ever to come down at least partially uncontrolled is NASA’s 100-ton (91 metric tons) space shuttle Columbia, which broke apart as it was returning to Earth on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all seven astronauts aboard. An investigation later pinned the cause of the disaster on a piece of foam insulation from Columbia’s external fuel tank, which broke off and punched a hole in the heat shield on the orbiter’s left wing during launch, two weeks before the tragedy.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com

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image003 (5)

Livestream of The UWI St Augustine Campus Council Meeting 2018 and Press Conference

 

Tune in for the livestream of The University of the West Indies, (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus Annual Campus Council Meeting on Tuesday 20 March, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. (Eastern Caribbean time) 9:00 a.m. (Jamaica time).

The theme for the 2016/2017 St Augustine Campus Annual Report, which will be presented at the Council Meeting, is Matta Seasonand will highlight critical shifts in focus as the Campus navigates a prolonged testing season at an institutional level. A fundamental aspect of this year’s meeting will see Campus Principal Professor Brian Copeland’s address the members of the council. Professor Copeland will share his vision for creating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship as the Campus responds to the changing mandate for education, declining economies and a need for strategic but practical approaches to revitalizing the Caribbean.  Highlights will cover major advancements from each Faculty in offering these practical solutions to the region during the review period. They include:

  • The introduction of summer internships with IBM, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Boeingin the USA for students of the Faculty of Engineering.
  • The Faculty of Food and Agriculture’s inaugural techAgri Expo which exposed over 8000 locals, including 2500 school children to the innovative work of local and regional ‘agripreneurs’.
  • The offer of a new suite income generating services including translation Services; Conversational Language Learning and Teaching of English as a Foreign Language among other consultancies by the Faculty of Humanities and Education
  • The Faculty of Law’sdevelopment of the International Human Rights Clinic supporting the strengthening of Trinidad and Tobago’s capacity for elevating the standard and execution of human rights protection.
  • The activation of the Faculty of Medical Sciences’ MOU with the Regional Health Authorities (RHA’s) enhancing the alignment between the Faculty’s output and needs of the sector.
  • A smart-grid cyber security training programme offered by the Faculty of Science and Technology to managers and policy makers at the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC).
  • The establishment of Curriculum Committees across the Departments of the Faculty of Social Sciences to assure alignment of curriculum with national needs.

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At Least Four People Dead After “First of Its Kind” Bridge Collapses Onto Drivers in Miami

Slate

 By

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department personel and other rescue units work at the scene where a pedestrian bridge collapsed a few days after it was built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department personnel and other rescue units work at the scene Thursday where a pedestrian bridge in Miami collapsed a few days after it was built. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This post has been updated with the latest news developments.

An unfinished pedestrian bridge in Miami collapsed just before 2 p.m. Thursday, killing at least four people and crushing others in their cars underneath. The Miami-Dade County fire chief also confirmed that nine people were taken to the hospital, according to CNN.

The cause of the collapse is unclear. The bridge was built using a new technique developed at nearby Florida International University that was supposed to minimize traffic disruptions and reduce risks to workers, commuters, and pedestrians. The span of bridge was built along the side of the road while support towers were placed on either side. Construction had just passed a major milestone: Over several hours Saturday morning, the 950-ton span was elevated, rotated 90 degrees, and lowered onto its permanent position between the two towers.

The $14.2 million bridge, scheduled for completion early next year, was intended to connect the campus of Florida International University with the suburb of Sweetwater, where a large population of students live. In a Twitter post after the section’s completion, the university celebrated the project with a video and called the structure the first of its kind.

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Is Ministry putting interests before children’s interests, acting irresponsibly, detrimental to school children?

Is Ministry putting interests before children’s interests, acting irresponsibly, detrimental to school children?

12th February 2018

By Email & Hand

Mrs. Delmaude Ryan
Minister of Education
Ministry of Education
Little Bay Montserrat

Dear Minister

I am writing to complain about the closure of all schools in Montserrat from 14th to 16th February 2018 so that teachers can attend. a workshop being held by the Ministry of Education. Unfortunately, this practice has now become an annual event. By disrupting children’s schooling in this way, the Ministry of Education is acting irresponsibly and in a manner that is detrimental to school children. One senses that the Ministry is putting its interests and those of teachers ahead of the interests of the children.

I would be very interested to know whether ministers of education abroad are guilty of the same practice. In the 15 years or so of my education, non  of the academic institutions I attended closed for a single day so that teachers could attend a workshop. That was because teacher training was done either outside of school hours or during the long holidays that teachers enjoy.

I call on you as the Minister of Education to discontinue this practice and hold these workshops outside of school hours. I am confident that in doing so I have the support of a majority of parents in Montserrat. I suggest that you address my complaint publicly and advise that in view of its importance I am placing this letter in the public domain.

Yours sincerely

Jean Kelsick

Posted in Education, Features, General, Letters, Local0 Comments

In this 2007 file photo, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, the oldest son of Cuba

Fidel Castro’s son has died by suicide, state media say

Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart was for a time head of Cuba’s national nuclear program

Thomson Reuters Posted:  Feb 02, 2018

In this 2007 file photo, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, the oldest son of Cuba's President Fidel Castro, addresses the International Economists Conference on Globalization and Development Problems in Havana, Cuba. According to Cuban state media, Diaz-Balart has killed himself.

In this 2007 file photo, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, the oldest son of Cuba’s President Fidel Castro, addresses the International Economists Conference on Globalization and Development Problems in Havana, Cuba. According to Cuban state media, Diaz-Balart has killed himself. (Javier Galeano/Associated Press)Related Stories

The eldest son of late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, took his own life on Thursday at age 68 after being treated for months for depression, Cuban state-run media reported.

The nuclear scientist, also known as “Fidelito,” or Little Fidel, because of how much he looked like his father, had initially been hospitalized and then continued treatment as an outpatient.

“Castro Diaz-Balart, who had been attended by a group of doctors for several months due to a state of profound depression, committed suicide this morning,” Cubadebate website said.

Fidelito, who had the highest public profile of all Castro’s children, was born in 1949 out of his brief marriage to Mirta Diaz-Balart before he went on to topple a U.S.-backed dictator and build a communist-run state on the doorstep of the United States during the Cold War.

Dramatic custody dispute

Through his mother, he was the cousin of some of Castro’s most bitter enemies in the Cuban American exile community, U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart and former U.S. congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

He was also the subject of a dramatic custody dispute between the two families as a child.

Cuba Castro Son Obit

Castro Diaz-Balart was head of Cuba’s national nuclear program, and spearheaded the development of a nuclear plant on the Caribbean’s largest island until his father fired him. (Franklin Reyes/Associated Press)

Cuba scholars say his mother took him with her to the United States when he was aged five after announcing she wanted a divorce from Castro, while he was imprisoned for an attack on the Moncada military barracks in Santiago.

Castro was able to bring Fidelito back to Cuba after the 1959 revolution.

Multilingual nuclear physicist

A multilingual nuclear physicist who studied in the former Soviet Union, Castro Diaz-Balart had been working for his uncle President Raul Castro as a scientific counselor to the Cuban Council of State and vice-president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences at the time of his death.

Previously, from 1980 to 1992, he was head of Cuba’s national nuclear program, and spearheaded the development of a nuclear plant on the Caribbean’s largest island until his father fired him.

Cuba halted its plant plans that same year because of a lack of funding after the collapse of Cuba’s trade and aid ties with the ex-Soviet bloc and Castro Diaz-Balart largely disappeared from public view, appearing at the occasional scientific conference or diplomatic event.

A former British ambassador to Cuba, Paul Hare, who lectures at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, said he had seemed “thoughtful, rather curious about the world beyond Cuba” at a dinner in Boston two years ago. “But he seemed a bit weary about having to be a Castro, rather than himself,” Hare said.

Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, a Cuba expert at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, said Fidelito had provided him with invaluable help in the 1990s while he was writing a book on Cuba’s nuclear program.

In 2000 they met again at a conference in Moscow and Fidelito worked “the room full of international nonproliferation experts, diplomats and journalists with aplomb, speaking no less than four languages: Spanish, English, Russian and French.”

His death came just over a year after that of his father on Nov. 25, 2016, aged 90.

 © Thomson Reuters, 2018 

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children in class room

A Third of Secondary School Children in Eastern Caribbean At Risk of Dropping Out or Failing

Caribbean360 January 23, 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, January 23, 2018 – A ground-breaking study has found that up to 33 per cent of the children in secondary schools across the Eastern Caribbean are at risk of either dropping out or failing.

The report from the study, co-authored by lecturer in Social Studies Education in the School of Education at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr Verna Knight, and Director of the School of Education, Dr Babalola Ogunkola, also concluded that 17 per cent or just over 1,700 children at the primary level faced similar risks.

The 2017 study, ‘Global Initiative on Out of School Children: Eastern Caribbean’, was supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Argentinian NGO Asociacion Civil Educación para Todos.

It analysed information on enrolment by age, grade, repeaters, dropouts and graduates from early childhood (4 years) and primary and secondary levels using data collected from administrative data units in ministries of education in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Turks and Caicos Islands for the periods 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.

The study centred on a framework designed by UNICEF and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics that highlighted two general categories for exclusion – present or total exclusion (children who are out of school), and potential or partial exclusion (children who are enrolled in school but not engaged at the school level).

This was then divided into five dimensions of exclusion – children of early childhood age who were not in the school system, children who were of primary school age but were not in school, children of secondary school age but were not enrolled in primary or secondary school; children of primary school age and are enrolled but were at risk of dropping out or failing, and those of secondary school age who were enrolled but were also at risk of dropping out or failing.

The researchers found that 0.5 per cent of children of pre-school age (4+ years) were out of school completely, while this stood at 1.4 per cent (840) for primary school children and 3.3 per cent (over 1,000) for those of secondary school age.

“When we dug a little deeper into the notion of potential exclusion we saw that the exclusion begins as early as kindergarten. For example, when you look at the region we saw 8 per cent of the students were at least one year behind at kindergarten level. We saw this increase to 11 per cent at grade one level, 13 per cent at grade two level and 17 per cent at grade three level. By the time we got to form five, it was 38 per cent. This shows us that the problem is identifiable at the kindergarten level but when it’s not addressed it’s very difficult for those children to improve,” Dr Knight said.

The resultant effect was students starting to drop out of school as early as first form due to their inability to cope.

The study also concluded that boys were twice as impacted as girls, with repetition and dropout rates for boys standing at 8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

While data for the five-year period for the same cohort of males and females was absent, the scholars examined the number of students enrolled in first form compared to the number of them in fifth form, noting an overall 24 per cent decline.

“There was a 15 per cent loss for girls between first and fifth form compared to 32 per cent for the boys. This shows that the boys are most impacted by this exclusion, the first to drop out, most represented in the repetition classes, the suspension list, with discipline issues,” Dr Knight indicated.

Following a review of recently-conducted empirical studies, they arrived at 12 barriers to potential exclusion, which were later narrowed down to five, following consultation workshops with key interest groups in each country.

The main problems were: inadequate support for struggling learners, inadequate special needs provisions, negative teacher attitude towards academically weak students, weak academic performance and participation of boys, and low parental engagement and involvement in children’s education.

While the latter did not emerge as a factor at the early childhood level, poverty did.

“It wasn’t a surprise to find that teachers were reluctant to teach ‘weak’ students at the secondary level, but when we saw it emerging at the primary level and the early childhood level too it became a greater concern. If we are saying that potential exclusion begins at kindergarten level where we begin to see the gaps and this continues at primary school and into fifth form levels where it seems to widen then there’s need to bring those teachers together to ensure that their training and professional development are really addressed,” Dr Knight stated.

“Half of the teachers were untrained to begin with. Less than 50 per cent of the secondary school teachers across the region are certified as trained so they were untrained and there were these students coming in who couldn’t read, couldn’t write and they still had to teach them Principles of Business, Social Studies, History, the same curriculum. The performance level of the students began to fall in the subject areas and the teachers blamed the children and said ‘those students don’t belong here, they need to be kept in the same primary school or sent to a different type of secondary school or something’.

“It got so bad that some teachers don’t want to teach low performing students and the children were separated based on ability. What we found was that once the students went into a particularly stream [classes based on abilities] they continued in that stream throughout the entire schooling period, which have implications for their motivation, self-confidence and self-esteem,” she added.

An exhaustive list of recommendations have been put forward to remedy the deficiencies, including school outreach to parents, the development of stronger partnerships with families, the facilitation of parent orientation sessions so they could better understand their roles, parenting classes and more home visits by trained counsellors and teachers.

Additionally, the researchers suggest innovative changes to classroom instruction methods and teaching aids at primary and secondary school levels for children with problems learning.

For teachers with negative attitude towards academically weak students, they believe professional support should be provided targeting problem areas, the provision of mentorship for younger teachers, the introduction of bridging programmes to support children in the transition from primary to secondary school level and targeted support for children who repeat a class level.

Posted in Education, Featured, Features, International, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Donald Trump

Caribbean Pan-African leaders declare Trump ‘persona non-grata’

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jan. 15, CMC – About 90 Pan-African organizations and leaders in the Caribbean have declared United States President Donald J. Trump “persona non-grata” for reported racist remarks he made last week about Haiti and African nations.

The leaders said that Trump made himself unwelcome with his vulgar insults against Haiti and African countries, saying that they likely speak for the entire African Diaspora.

Donald TrumpThe declaration was authored on Saturday by the “pan-Africanist and socialist popular forces of Barbados,” and submitted to the people and civil society organizations of the Caribbean for their endorsement and adoption.

Among the organizations and leaders supporting and endorsing the declaration are: the Clement Payne Movement of Barbados; Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (CMPI); Caribbean Pan-African Network (CPAN); Peoples Empowerment Party (Barbados); Pan-African Federalist Movement – Caribbean Region Committee; International Committee of Black Peoples (Guadeloupe); Jamaica-Cuba Friendship Association; Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago; Organization for the Victory of the People (Guyana); Black Consciousness Movement of Guyana; and the International Movement for Reparations (Martinique).

“We, the under-signed representatives of the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare that President Donald Trump of the United States of America is ‘persona non-grata’ in our Caribbean region,” the declaration said.

“We further declare that as a ‘persona non-grata,’ President Donald Trump is NOT welcome in any territory of the Caribbean; and we hereby confirm that we – the Caribbean people – will petition our governments, vehemently protest against any Trump visit, and engage in popular demonstrations designed to prevent President Donald Trump’s entry into any portion of the sovereign territory of our Caribbean region,” it adds.

“As sons and daughters of the Caribbean, we hereby affirm that the continent of Africa is the revered motherland of a sizable majority of our people and that the Republic of Haiti – the seminal architect of the destruction of the system of chattel slavery that held our ancestors in bondage – is the foundational cornerstone of our Caribbean civilization,” the declaration continues. “And we, therefore, consider that any insult or attack that is directed at the African continent or at the Republic of Haiti is intrinsically an insult and attack that is directed at us as well.

“We further affirm that we Caribbean people – in light of our history of experiencing, resisting and surviving the most horrendous forms of enslavement and colonialism – consciously regard ourselves as champions and defenders of the dignity and fundamental human rights of all Black or African people, and that we are guided by an over-arching and non-negotiable principle of zero tolerance of any manifestation of anti-Black or anti-African racism or discrimination,” it says.

Pan-Africanist David Comissiong (speaking)
Pan-Africanist David Comissiong (speaking)

It is against this background that the declaration says: “we, the sovereign people of the Caribbean, have determined that by describing the nations of Africa, the Republic of Haiti and the Central American nation of El Salvador as ‘shithole’ countries, US President Donald Trump has committed a despicable and unpardonable act of anti-Black, anti-African, anti-Brown racism that has served to further energize and fortify the vile White supremacy system that the said President Trump has self-consciously sought to champion and lead.”

The declaration says that: “We, the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare to the entire world that we vehemently and unreservedly denounce President Donald Trump and the evil and inhuman White supremacy value system that he represents.”

After three days of denunciations from around the world, including many in the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora, Trump declared on Sunday that he is “not a racist,” even as the uproar over his vulgar remarks on immigration overshadowed critical issues facing the US, including efforts to protect young undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants and avert a government shutdown.

“I’m not a racist,” said Trump late Sunday as he arrived at Trump International Golf Club in Florida for dinner with California Republic Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, who attended the meeting on Thursday at the White House, where Trump reportedly made the disparaging remarks about Haiti and African nations.

“I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you,” Trump told reporters.

The remarks represent Trump’s first direct response to accusations of racism that have dogged him since he allegedly asked “Why are we having all these people from shit hole countries come here?” in the meeting on immigration on Thursday, referring to Haiti and African nations.

Trump reportedly queried why Washington does not instead welcome more immigrants from countries such as Norway, which is overwhelmingly White.

But while Trump has denied using the vulgar language, the lone Democratic senator at the meeting insisted that he did.

Trump’s latest comments were a departure from the White House’s initial statement last week, which did not deny the comments.

The alleged remarks brought down furious condemnation on Trump from Democrats and media talking heads.

Derrick Johnson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the largest and oldest civil rights organization in the United States on Friday told CNN  –  “We know he’s a racist; he’s demonstrated that. He’s a racist both in his actions and his words.”

Johnson said the issue will help to motivate African-American voters in the 2018 mid-term elections.

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