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Big plans to develop education, sports and culture laws this year

Big plans to develop education, sports and culture laws this year

Developing and strengthening the education, sports, and culture sectors has become a large part of Virgin Islands government’s mandate moving into the 2022 parliamentary year.

Delivering his Speech from the Throne address earlier today, Governor John Rankin said there will be new legislation and legislative amendments in those three sectors.

Education


Governor Rankin said the government is committed to building an educational system that caters to all students regardless of their academic, mental or physical ability. He added that the government will seek adjustments to the Education Act, 2004 and its Amendment Act, 2014 to ensure teaching and learning align with the needs of the students to become proficient in their overall development.

“The adjustments will consider the demand for online learning where schools and classrooms must have in place technology-driven standards. It will also seek to expand and enhance the technical and vocational skills programmes to increase the pool of skilled workers and strengthen entrepreneurial skills of the current and future generations of Virgin Islanders,” Governor Rankin said.

The governor also noted that a discipline policy and revised student code of conduct are important to the Education Act. The policy has been updated to include a positive behavioural framework that emphasizes prevention and student support services. It focuses on values, relationships, and skills building.

“A Virgin Island Referral, Intervention and Individualized Educational Policy has been created to further strengthen the Education Act by establishing consistent guidelines and procedures for providing school-based special education,” Rankin added.

Meanwhile, the government will be looking to update the National Scholarship Programme which was started more than 40-years ago. This programme is one of the avenues where the government has supported the education and training of residents. As such, the National Scholarship Policy has been updated to ensure it is in line with the current and future requirements of the Virgin Islands in the areas of education and training.

“To accompany the National Scholarship Programme, the Virgin Islands Government will seek to amend the 49-year-old Scholarship Trust Fund, 1972 and the 38-year-old Regulations, 1983 to ensure both pieces of regulations reflect or ever-revolving society and world,” the Governor added.

Sports


The Governor said educational development also involves recreational and sports. As such, the government will seek to establish the Virgin Islands National Sports Council Act to provide a comprehensive management structure to inform sports and recreational development in the territory.

“The National Sports Policy, which was established in 2014, will be revised and updated to align with the objectives of the National Sports Council and meet the emerging needs of sports development in the Virgin Islands. To further ensure that sports and recreation in the Virgin Islands remain on the competitive edge for the development of athletes, the Recreation Trust Act, 1966 which was amended in 2012, will be consolidated with the Recreation Trust Regulation,” the Governor disclosed in his speech.

Culture


Governor Rankin also noted cultural development is important to the educational development of the territory. He added that the Cultural Policy of 2013 will be revised to integrate a new focus on developing creative industries, protecting the storing and development of tangible and intangible Virgin Islands cultural heritage, and enhancing cultural education.

“In addition, the Museum Collection Policy will be developed. This policy will then form the basis for a strategic plan. The Virgin Islands Festival Affairs Act, 2005 will be reviewed and revived in this context. It will seek to bring the emancipation celebrations and other festivals into stronger focus as we showcase the Virgin Islands culture and heritage and make them sustainable,” Governor Rankin said.

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