BREAKING NEWS: George Charles Secondary School to be closed

By Ana Alleyne

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gcssThe Cul-de-Sac-based George Charles Secondary School (GCSS), named after St. Lucia’s first Chief Minister, Sir George Frederick Lawrence Charles, will no longer exist as a secondary educational institution when a new school term opens in September 2017.

Education officials have confirmed that the administration of GCSS will merge with the Jon Odlum Secondary School (formerly the Marigot Secondary School).

It is not yet confirmed if this will result in job losses.

The merger means that Jon Odlum Secondary School (JOSC) will be the official institution for GCSS students in September.

In an invited comment, Chief Education Officer Marcus Edward told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that government officials held a meeting with parents, staff and students of the GCSS on Thursday evening where the new development was discussed.

Edward noted that all parties, particularly the students, have been well informed.

He said the ministry will disclose more details in the coming week.

The GCSS building is providing temporary accommodation to the  staff and students of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) which was set to undergo major rehabilitation due to the deplorable conditions of the buildings of the college’s Morne complex. SALCC students have been on the premises of GCSS since August 2016.

Meanwhile, staff and students of GCSS have been at JOSCC since September 2016. They were moved due to similar issues at SALCC.

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About the George Charles Secondary School

The South Castries Secondary School was constructed by the Government of St. Lucia with the assistance of monies provided by USAID and first opened its doors in 1991.

Initially only ‘Block A’ was constructed and for the academic year 1991-1992 it housed the first Form 1 intake of students of the South Castries Secondary School (these students graduated from GCSS in July 1996) and the first intake for the Sir Ira Simmons Secondary which was still under construction at that time. The Principal appointed from inception was Mr. Bonaventure Jn. Baptiste.

In September 1992 the Sir Ira Simmons Secondary School students and staff moved to occupy their own premises in Choc Bay and the school was renamed as the George Charles Secondary School after St. Lucia’s first Chief Minister, Sir George Frederick Lawrence Charles.

The uniform was redesigned from its opening beige and brown to the familiar navy blue and white. The newly named GCSS accepted a new intake of Form 1 students plus one class of Form 3s coming into the secondary system from the Rockhall and Bocage Senior Primary Schools via the Common Middle Exam – these Form 3 students wrote their CXC Examinations in May/June 1995 and formed the first graduating class of GCSS in July 1995.

– Source: George Charles Secondary School Facebook page

 

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27 comments

  1. Free education is a God sent. I know we have problems but w also had problems with the other system. What i believe some schools must do is to have a remedial classes in form 1. That should help.

    (0)(0)
  2. The merger of these schools makes sense on many fronts. Both schools are under-populated; merging would save costs in terms of salaries, utilities etc. Hopefully, more assistance can be given to the students to better prepare them academically and socially. The real problem here is our education system. It is almost invisible, very little is happening. We keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Every year our test results suck but our approaches remain the same. As long as the top schools who received the top students keep doing well, we think we're o.k. Part of the reason we're having so many problems in this country is because of the failure of our educational system. Society reflects the state of our educational system. The people in charge seem to be clueless.

    (4)(0)
  3. This move is quite timely considering the strain on the country's resources. One needs to visit the primary schools in the rural part of the country to understand and appreciate my view. For example it is heart breaking to see that at the Millet Infant school each grade level has 26 for the most yet these form two classes. While where the demand is greater in the Castries schools the student to teacher ratio is way above world bank's stipulation! The same can be said of the Millet primary with 14- 15 per class. Yet the quality of learning is not necessarily of a higher std. MOE needs to revisit those institutions and consider merging them as soon as possible. This has long been in the pipeline as I now got to know by an educator!

    (5)(0)
  4. Which one is next. SALCC has been in a deplorable condition for years now .why did previous governments not do something earlier. It is not a UWP or SLP thing. It is about an educational institution needing repairs. Shame on all those who sat by and watch it detoriate.

    (7)(0)
  5. You see what one man can do. what one man can do.

    (1)(0)
  6. So two of the worst performing schools merged into one. Perhaps you should consider having a separate curriculum for these types schools. Something these students would appreciate more. We know they not passing physics and literature.

    (3)(0)
  7. closing down ccss and sir ira to told your new hotels

    (3)(0)
  8. I hope the closing down of CCSS and SIR Ira Simmons will be a good move also....smh!!

    (1)(0)
    • In fact it may be so. If they provide a more updated and relevant plant for the schools, then why not?
      furthermore for two schools which are simply separated by a mere fence, I see alot of potential in merging the two school. And making a full stream of tech voc and academic streams. either that.
      or we have the old sir ira plant serving forms 1 and 2 which all students enroll in for the basics, and then they move over to the other plant (ccss) to undertake a full cxc stream of subject, or choose a tech voc program to get certified over the next 3 years they are there.
      that will be a marvelous revamping.
      And fyi, I do teach at one of the school im talking about

      (2)(2)
      • Very stimulating discussion anonymous but let us look at your idea of having a middle school (forms 1&2 i.e grades 7&8) at one campus and high school ( forms 3,4,5,6 i.e grades 9-11 and A level) at the other. This system existed and was working out perfectly in the south at the Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School. Then the Ministry of Education along with some principals decided to mess with this and decided that VFCSS should be disestablished and secondary school be established namely Bea field Secondary and Vieux-Fort Comprehensive. Having form one and two students at a separate campus was a brilliant idea as the students are at the preadolescent stage and the junior high configuration would allow them to be among peers of the same age. Any secondary school teacher can tell you of the nightmares that occur in schools when you have form ones interacting with the older students. It would be interesting to know whether any evaluation has been done of the disestablishment of these two schools. From my point of view it has not worked.

        (1)(0)
  9. Just close the whole dame country and start all over again fresh and new

    (23)(4)
    • Anon. How are you doing? Where are you taking us to with this blanket statement? Who says the decision to close or merge was a political one. ...And the word you may be looking for is "damn", not dame, which I think also to be a bit extreme. ?.

      (0)(2)
  10. It would appear to me that the Minstry ought to look into the merger of more primary and secondary schools where possible. The population of school aged children is dwindling and a number of schools are suffering from low enrollment. I will not mention particular schools and communities but the officials of the minstry are well aware of the schools and the locations. In my humble opinion schools have not been able to take advantage of these low enrollment numbers to improve student performance. In days gone by teachers would be facing classes of 35+ students and they would in the case of primary school leave literate. Today teachers in many cases have less than half that number in their classes and the kids are entering secondary schools illiterate. There is no standard set to stop certain secondary schools from being inundated with students who do not have the literacy skills to take on the rigours of the secondary school curriculum. To top it off certain secondary schools and their students get labelled when the teachers at that level have to try to address the mounting problem of students who are unable to read and write. Little money is being invested in providing teachers with training in new methods and strategies to enhance students learning. Is it any wonder that our youth are frustrated? When they are labelled and ostracized for lacking literacy skills they will give up. We need a revolution in education is n this country now!

    (30)(5)
    • In Barbados too

      (2)(0)
    • I couldn't agree with you more, the education system needs a total revampment. It's like the ministry of education does not realize that need to change with the times and the ability of the students. Not all students are academically able but in a technical environment they would perform excellent but in st.Lucia there is no such Avenue until they have completed secondary school and by this time most have already been frustrated if they didn't have the right support. So in my opinion the ministry needs to implement a technical curriculum from primary to secondary schools where the students can really get a chance to show their potential.

      (4)(0)
      • A very good contribution, but we need to be mindful that every subject including the technical ones involve literacy and numeracy tasks which too many students appear to be struggling with. Benchmarks must be set in place which will ensure that students do not leave the primary schools unable to read and write. This is the dirty little secret of our education system and very little is being done to address this situation. Special Education teachers are in place in primary schools to provide support but the vast majority of these teachers have no training and are functioning using trial and error.

        (3)(0)
    • This is such a moronic idea it beggars belief! Secondary school implies a transition from primary to something more adult and mixing them as one should be a "no-no". Who comes up with that kind of thinking? and is government paying these people to spew forth trash?

      (1)(0)
    • I will preface my thoughts with the following. I believe that you are a teacher. You sound like one.

      What I wanted you to emphasize is that with "free" secondary school education is this. That prime fake teacher did nothing to show that the experience was anything but a stepping stone. No system was put in place that reflected any sort of understanding of the deficiencies of the system as a whole.

      Free education was a political gimmick. It was not design with any thought towards giving each and every child entering the so-called free system, an equal opportunity to be the best that they can be. It was pure shameless political manipulation.

      Before the "freeness" era, most children would be "self-selected". The best passing the entrance examinations would get scholarships. The weaker ones? Their parents would pay for them.

      In that era too, the wealthy could pay for their dumb children. They could afford tho have the school "babysit" them. Some entered the A streams at College and Convent, darkened the doorways of classrooms as they crowded-out the B streams of classes to graduation with only GCEs in RK or religious knowledge.

      Some attention has been given to influencing the quality of the input going into various "free" secondary schools. Pre-K education has been given some attention. But what about those who are already in the system who need remedial mathematics and English?

      I recall my teacher referring with negative feelings to the automatic student graduation to senior classes through to their exit. To him, they came in as sheep and exited like goats. This is reflected in the naked violence in the ghettos that have resulted.

      Every year we throw out large numbers of clueless, pure adults-less-sense people, onto the workforce who are nowhere being work- or job-ready. Narco-ready? Yes. Check the rising crime statistics.

      (1)(0)
  11. This is a great move. Currently the George Charles Sec and Marigot Sec is one institution. One of the schools was so gross overpopulated that last year it became so easy to join the two schools into one institution. One of the schools which had a capacity to hold 800 students, only had a population of just a little over 100 students. All students including teachers from the George Charles Sec were move to the Marigot Sec. This move was made to facilitate space for Sir Arthur. I believe George Charles and Marigot Sec should remain as soon institution. We need more space for Tertiary Education. Too many Sec schools but not enough placement for students who wishes to pursue Tertiary Education. Every year Sir Arthur reget thousands of students because of lack of space. George Charles sec should be left for students of Sir Arthur. Leave the status quo as is. Please St Lucians do not make this into a political thing

    (14)(4)
  12. WAH SAD HAD GOOD MEMORIES DEH THE RESPORT MISS PAULA ETC ETC

    (1)(2)
  13. I tell you to leave,,,,,, my stopping prime minister. Dande

    This move is a good one in my view by the way.

    (14)(20)

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