On Monday 15 October the Ministry of Education launched the Virgin Islands High School Certificate Programme (VIHSCP), which is an initiative geared at allowing persons who are capable of self-study to attain a high school certificate.
During the launch of the initiative Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn explained that the program was born from one of the mandates that he gave to his Ministry to ensure that education becomes a life-long learning process in the community.
The Minister said that the program was necessary because the Department of Education cannot only be on primary, secondary and tertiary education. “It must be one where we create opportunities for all of the people in the Virgin Islands to advance in their educational pursuits regardless of their age or their personal circumstances. This programme that we are launching is yet another step by the Ministry of Education to fulfill that mandate which was given.”
The VIHSCP is geared towards providing an accelerated path to high school certification for persons who for various reasons were unable to complete high school. The Minister said that this is necessary as having high school certification is necessary for further studies and employment opportunities.
The Education Minister stated, “The world that we live in today now requires us all to be more prepared to get ahead professionally. Entry-level job openings in most instances require at minimum a High School Certificate in order to be considered for the position. This is the case almost entirely now in our country, the Virgin Islands.”
He said that no longer can persons who are not suitably qualified depend on an influential person making a call on their behalf for them to get the job. “The days of a “bigger” picking up the phone and calling a business place and saying give so and so child or grandchild a job for me are over. Businesses want to hire persons who can add value to their operations and one of the measuring tools that they use to satisfy themselves that you can add value at certain levels is evidence of a high school diploma or certificate,” Hon. Walwyn pointed out.
It was stressed that this program is not a replacement for the Alternative Secondary Education Programme, commonly called night school that has existed for years. In further explaining how the VIHSCP differs the Minister said: “We thought from the evidence before us, that we needed a programme that could meet our students where they are and provide another pathway to getting their high school certificate in a shorter time span than the two or three years that night school requires. Now, if you know that you are someone who does not [have]the capacity at this time to study on your own, then you should enroll in the Alternative Secondary Education Programme and I know that Cecily Malone will do her best to assist you.”
It was emphasized that the Virgin Islands High School Certificate Programme is designed for persons who can study independently. “We will be providing weekly tutorial services to students on our four main islands, but the vast majority of work, just as is the case with the GED programme in the United States, rests upon the individual student.”