The Government of the Virgin Islands is focused on introducing different pieces of legislation to further strengthen the education sectors of the economy.
This information was shared by His Excellency the Governor Mr. John J. Rankin, CMG during the Speech from the Throne on January 18 under the theme: Positioning the Virgin Islands through Legislation to continue improving the standard of living of our people.
The theme is aligned with the direction and goals of the Government's 2022 Budget under the theme: “Strategically positioning New Industries with Sustainability and Innovation: Continuing to improve the standard of living with focus on Education, Small Business, Healthcare and Technology.”
Governor Rankin while speaking about the education sector, stated that the Government was working towards building an education system that caters to all students, regardless of their academic, physical, and mental abilities. He said adjustments will be made to the Education Act, 2004 and the Education Amendment Act, 2014 to ensure teaching and learning are aligned in the interest of the overall development of students.
Governor Rankin said, “The adjustments will consider the demand for online learning where schools and classrooms must have in place technology-driven standards.”
The Governor added that the legislation will also seek to expand and enhance the technical and vocational skills programmes. This adjustment to the law will help “to increase the pool of skilled workers and strengthen the entrepreneurial skills of the current and future generations of Virgin Islanders.”
Important to the Education Act are the Discipline Policy and Revised Student Code of Conduct. According to the Governor, the policy has been updated to include a positive behavioral framework and online protocols. It also emphasises prevention and student support services focused on values, relationships, and skill-building.
The Governor in the speech stated that the Virgin Islands Referral Intervention and Individualised Education Policy have been created to further strengthen the Education Act. He explained that the established consistent guidelines and procedures for providing school-based Special Education listed in the policy will help to further strengthen the Education Act.
As education continues to be a priority for the Government, it was also announced that the National Scholarship Programme, initiated more than 40 years ago, is one of the avenues through which Government has and continues to support the education and training needs of its people. “To accompany the National Scholarship Programme, the Government of the Virgin Islands will seek to amend the 49-year-old Scholarship Trust Fund (CAP. 118, 1972) and the 38-year-old Regulations (1983) to ensure both pieces of legislation reflect our ever-evolving society and world,” Governor Rankin said. He further added that an updated National Scholarship Policy will be brought in line with the current and future requirements of the Virgin Islands in the area of education and training.
The Government of the Virgin Islands is informing the public to be aware that it is not unusual that, during the course of the year, initiatives arise which may make it necessary to prepare new legislation or amend, where appropriate. When this happens, the necessary legislation will be brought forward for consideration of the House of Assembly to further strengthen all sectors of the economy of the Virgin Islands.
The Speech from the Throne, a tradition in Commonwealth and Overseas Territories, signals the opening of a new session of the House of Assembly. It highlights the legislative agenda of the Government of the Virgin Islands in addressing the needs of the public during the upcoming session of the House of Assembly.