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Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly. -
Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly. –

EDUCATION Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly told Newsday on Sunday that 2,000 students have so far turned up for the month-long vacation remedial programme (VRP) which began last week at venues nationwide to help prepare students entering secondary school in September.

She also declared “revised operations” for some secondary schools in September towards helping students.

At a recent briefing, Nyan Gadsby-Dolly blamed fallout from pandemic restrictions for a dip in this year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam results, such that 9,000 pupils out of the 17,000 writing the exam had earned under 50 per cent and so were eligible for the VRP. Some 2,7000 students had registered before last Monday’s kick off of the VRP, she had previously said.

Newsday sought an update on registration/attendance and how the $10 million programme was going.

“The Vacation Revision Program (VRP) is ongoing with attendance at 33 centres in Trinidad just crossing the 2,000 mark as of Friday, July 22.

“The VRP will continue as scheduled with ongoing delivery of meals as planned.”

She lauded the accompanying Turn Up, Don’t Give Up motivational campaign of the VRP, with the first of ten planned caravans taking place at El Dorado.

“Over 200 students participated and were exposed to presentations by influencers such as Ro’dey and Preedy.” There were also booths by the ministry’s partners NALIS, NIHERST, Ministry of Youth Development and National Service (MYDNS), the police service (TTPS) and corporate partners offering vision screening.

“Even as the VRP continues until August 12, the ministry meets with selected principals and all education stakeholders this week to continue the discussion regarding the revised operations of some of our secondary schools in September 2022.”

She reminded these operations will extend the ministry’s focus on student and school achievement and equity of educational opportunity after the VRP.

Gadsby-Dolly made a personal appeal to parents to get on board in their children’s school lives.

“As a parent myself, I hold out to all parents that our commitment to our children extends far beyond their primary school career and our cohort of secondary school students need parental involvement, guidance and advice more than ever.

“The children who have close parental supervision and interest perform better and achieve more.”

Gadsby-Dolly said that amid the ministry’s thrust to facilitate all children’s education and development, parental involvement was a key factor of success.

“So let us encourage our children to turn up for the entire VRP programme or for whatever programme of positive engagement they are involved in for the vacation period, whether formal or informal.

“Let us as parents make the effort to keep them close, have conversations with them, engage them in positive activities, motivate them to achieve, and celebrate each milestone of their success along the way.”