PR – It was an assembly with a difference on Thursday for students of the Happy Hill Secondary School as Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell joined them for the occasion.
It was sheer coincidence that Dr. Mitchell was invited to visit the school on the day that he celebrated 36 years as the Parliamentary Representative for St. George North West, the constituency in which the school is located. However, he welcomed the opportunity to engage with the staff and students on this special day.
Addressing the students, Dr. Mitchell shared that he once taught Mathematics at Happy Hill Secondary, even when he served as a Minister of Government and he underscored the importance of education.
He said, “Your education is the key to your future. No one should make you trivialise your success, your learning or your desire to improve yourself academically or otherwise. Some of us come from poor families and the only hope for getting out of poverty is a serious investment in education. That is why, as a Government, we are prioritising education and youth development.”
The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Religious Affairs and Information has been allocated $124 million or 10.1% of total expenditure for 2021. The allocation in the 2021 budget for Youth Development is $40.4 million, which represents a 43% increase over the 2020 figure.
The Prime Minister used the opportunity to again congratulate the staff and students for their excellent performance at the 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination, and reiterated that what matters more than the institution they attend, is the commitment by teachers and students to excel.
Dr. Mitchell also shared with the students his rationale for assuming the portfolio of Youth Development in his twilight years. He said, “I recognise that we have done a lot of good work, providing tremendous support for young people, problems have also been identified. At the twilight of my political career, I felt I needed to use the office of the Prime
Minister, which is a strategic office with respect to leadership and governance, to harness the influence of this office to impact on the revolutionary changes that have to be made to bring greater empowerment to the young people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.”
Dr. Mitchell also encouraged the students to continue maintaining the recommended protocols. Recalling his life as a youngster, Dr. Mitchell said he understands how difficult it is for young people to be restrained from socialising but he underscored the importance of taking the necessary action to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
He noted too that 2020 has been a tough year to govern, with Government losing 50% of its revenue but the jobs of all public servants, including teachers, administrative staff and other workers in schools, remain secure and salaries have been paid on time.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged that the pandemic is a difficult time for all, but he also noted that challenging times also present opportunities. One particular opportunity created by the pandemic is greater use of available technology and he encouraged the students to seek out possible opportunities that can be used to enhance their future.
At Thursday’s assembly, students demonstrated their talent through songs and poems and a plaque of appreciation was also presented to the Prime Minister.