By Machela Osagboro
Refurbishing schools across Antigua and Barbuda is slated as a top priority for the Ministry of Education this year.
The sector received the lion’s share of the budget, translating to a whopping EC$151.6 million.
Minister of Education, Michael Browne, explained how the monies will be spent.
“It can be broken down this way: $32 million goes to the development and expansion of the University of the West Indies Five Island campus; $119 million goes into the development of the staff, the physical facilities and also for curriculum advancement.”
Browne added that he plans to improve a few facilities around the island. “If you look at the Antigua Girls’ High School for instance, there is a central block plus the science block that have been in existence for 100 years and it’s necessary that we replace them,” he said.
Other schools include Ottos Comprehensive School and Pares Secondary School with additional support via loans from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
In his Budget presentation to the public, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said, “We recognise that a better educated, better skilled, more knowledgeable people, will not only benefit from the opportunities in a growing economy, they will also contribute to its widening and strengthening. That is why we will invest tens of millions in the renovation of schools in Antigua and Barbuda.”
Browne explained further why a large sum of the budget was again allocated to education. “My government is determined to give every person who wants it, the opportunity to climb the ladder to self-improvement, to betterment and to progress. That is why we have placed such great emphasis on improving education and expanding access to all.”
The Prime Minister reiterated past messages that his government was determined to give every citizen of Antigua and Barbuda – regardless of social status, colour or creed – a chance for higher education, a chance to certify themselves, thereby allowing them to compete with the best in the world.