Is the ULP Education Revolution A Fraud?
Or Simply an Embroidered Lie?
Submitted by Nathan ‘Jolly’ Green
It is ‘A’ typical for left-wing leaders, more so those with Marxist tendencies to use emotive projects to stay in power. Education, low-cost or free social housing, and exceptional medical facilities are usually what they choose to fool the electorate into thinking they are God sent messengers.
In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez promised free University for everyone. He promised to build 10,000 social houses a year, but the most he ever achieved was 1,500 and some years just a few hundred, or none. Since president Maduro arrived, no houses built, the hospital system has collapsed, and the universities are closed. He really is among the asshole class of politicians, and there are many of them in the Caribbean.
In the late 1990s, the National Democratic Party [NDP] took up an offer from the World Bank to reorganize the education system in SVG. The World Bank project was called ‘Education for All.’
The NDP negotiated and agreed on terms of engagement in the project; there was a project lead time of about two years.
Dr Ralph E Gonsalves came to power and found that the country was on the cusp of starting the project. He looked at it, decided to continue with it, but renamed it ‘The Education Revolution.’ No mention of the World Bank, who were the main funders and architects of the project.
In general, the SVG project has been partially successful, thanks to the World Bank and the NDP’s foresight.
Could the success have been better if it had been appropriately managed by the NDP instead of the ULP?
Children are still dropping out before their education is complete. Crime and violence among the youth is rife. Many children leaving school are unable to properly, or not at all, read and write and carry out simple mathematical tasks.
Thousand leaving school to find no jobs, and so undereducated they are unable to travel abroad for positions other than fruit picking. That is not a condemnation of, or the failure of the youth; it is a condemnation of a failed education system under a ULP administration. .
There are, of course, children that excel in their studies and learning. But that is more because those children are carrying genes that mean they will succeed wherever, whenever, and whatever. Others are coming from middle and upper-class homes where the parents ensure proper personal input into their learning.
The ULP not only failed to educate the majority of SVG’s youth properly, but they built only a minor few low-cost houses, yet have built middle-class homes for those that do not require help.
The hospital in Kingstown has been a failure for the last twenty years. A few medical centers have been refurbished, and a couple of new ones built. But in all those cases due to schemes by foreign organizations, nothing to do with the ULP’s ability, capability, or initiative.
Here are some of the records regarding help from the World Bank education scheme.
Britain gives somewhere approaching a billion US dollars a year to the World Bank.
2000, Caribbean: The World Bank introduced a scheme and initiative internationally to improve world education called Education for All.’ Education for All (EFA) was first launched in 1990 to bring the benefits of education to “every citizen in every society.” To realize this aim, a broad coalition of national governments, civil society groups, and development agencies such as UNESCO and the World Bank Group committed to achieving six specific education goals:
1/ Expand and improve comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
2/ Ensure that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, those in difficult circumstances, and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete, free, and compulsory primary education of good quality.
3/ Ensure that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life-skills programs.
4/ Achieve a 50% improvement in adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.
5/ Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieve gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality.
6/ Improve all aspects of the quality of education and ensure the excellence of all, so that recognized, and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy, and essential life skills.
By 2000, 189 countries and their partners adopted the two EFA goals that align with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2 and 3, which refer to universal primary education and gender parity. The World Bank recognizes that achieving these goals requires supporting the full EFA commitment.
The World Bank funded the scheme, which was generally successful. One small country in particular led by a left-wing socialist even adopted it as their education revolution to fool their voters into believing they are excellent and responsible for the scheme.
Since 2004, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, supported by the World Bank, has undertaken the construction and rehabilitation of secondary schools to create an additional 750 school places. Increase secondary enrollment by about 30 percentage points, provide instructional materials, train counselors and teachers, and help to increase the Caribbean Examinations Council pass rates by 14 percentage points. About 15,000 students benefitted from the project.
The Bank provided financing of SDR2.2 million and US$3.1 million in 2004.
The United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID), provided close collaboration during design, it helped to provide funding for some of the quality enhancing activities.
By 2012, The World Bank was working through OECS.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines – OECS Education Development Project (English)
Ratings for the OECS Education Development Project for St. Vincent and the Grenadines were as follows: outcomes were satisfactory; risk to development outcome was low or negligible; Bank performance was moderately satisfactory and borrower performance was satisfactory. Some lessons learned includes: if procurement delays or failed tenders occur despite good faith efforts of the government, then related requests for project extension should be granted. Extracurricular activities are a cost effective way to generate interest in school, particularly that of boys. Though of modest cost, after school activities such as the school band was reported to have enticed students, especially boys, not only for attendance, but also for avoiding failing their courses. In a context like St. Vincent, all efforts should be made to include and preserve vocational education opportunities. Even with the delayed approval of implementing regulations for the new education act, institutional changes can continue as if the regulations were passed. Classroom libraries can be a critical input to engagement and literacy.
Most certainly not a scheme initially related to the ULP. The SVG’ Education Upgrade’ was someone else’s idea, someone else’s money, and someone else’s initiative.
The World Bank Group also supports the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) as a Board Member, host of the GPE Secretariat, trustee, and supervising entity for the vast majority of GPE grants.
Finally, the World Bank supports EFA efforts through analytic work and the sharing of global knowledge and good practice. The Bank’s analytic work has, for example, helped establish benchmarks for quality, efficiency, and resource mobilization in the education sector. Ref: https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/education/brief/education-for-all
So dear Vincentians, I am sorry you were all fooled to believe this was the idea and design of Comrade Gonsalves, but it was not. It was initially organized by the NDP, funded and designed by the World Bank, in collaboration with the UK government. Only the name belongs to the comrade ‘The Education Revolution.’ Of course, he also owns the failure part of the scheme. Under the ULP management, it has been a tragic underperformance of the original concept.
All of these Caribbean countries took part in the World Bank education scheme, ‘Education for All.’ Only Saint Vincent renamed it the Education Revolution.
Dominican Republic, The
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Trinidad and Tobago