Antigua and Barbuda needs a well-rounded education system that teaches life skills and addresses mental-health issues among students and faculty, says Franz deFreitas, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. John’s City South.
DeFreitas believes the quality of education should not be enhanced simply by requiring additional subjects in order to graduate secondary school.
Rather, all students should have access to vigorous course work, as well as the support they need to be successful in school and through their adult life.
He says these investments in young people would be well worth the cost to taxpayers.
The UPP Candidate points out that the future of this Nation depends on students having a high-quality, well-rounded education that will prepare them to compete successfully on a global stage and to engage locally as citizens.
Accordingly, he says the time has come for the Ministry of Education to pivot – and for a paradigm shift in education. If it continues along the current path, then it is stifling the next generation, deFreitas warns.
DeFreitas notes that many children are kinesthetic learners, who use body movement and interact with their environments. In order to better understand something, they need to touch or feel it; hence practical information is usually preferred over theory and concepts.
Therefore, an experiential component must be added to the system, he says, to make it capable of delivering this type of education.
A well-rounded education system pushes students beyond their comfort zone and develops self-esteem, the UPP Candidate notes.
Instead, he says, too many times in the current set-up, children are bullied and battered – and he knows this, firsthand, because of his children’s experiences at a government secondary school.
Meanwhile, deFreitas describes a well-rounded education system as one that promotes a wider social network; is better able to adapt to life changes; spurs discovery of a purpose and passion in life; nurtures creativity; and enables students to properly prepare a resume or an application to get into the top universities.
Its overall aim is to achieve the health and well-being of the student, he says.