Basseterre: St. Kitts, Monday, November 07, 2022: Officials from the Ministry of Education engaged members of the Estridge and Tabernacle communities in formal discussions surrounding the decision to merge both the Estridge and Edgar T Morris Primary Schools into one institution. The community sensitization endeavours were held on Tuesday, November 01 and Thursday, November 03 at the Estridge and the Edgar T. Morris Primary Schools respectively.
Addressing members of the Tabernacle community, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, and Chairperson for the proceedings Mrs. Lisa R. Pistana stated, “We know sometimes when things are new and they are different, they are often difficult to accept. But we can assure you as we think through the process and as we made this decision, we believe and we continue to believe it’s in the best interest of your children.”
Dr. Tricia Esdaille, Senior Assistant Secretary informed the gatherings of some of the factors which influenced the decision to merge the two educational institutions. Dr. Esdaille explained
“What’s happening on the Eastern Zone however, is that we have an increasing ageing population and a low birth rate for this area of the island. We don’t have a lot of [students] coming in our Kindergarten classes and essentially keeping the enrollment of schools on the Eastern Zone at a fairly high level. Small schools are by no means new for St. Kitts and Nevis; we have small schools all over the island, but on the eastern side of the island you [the schools] are particularly small. Among small schools, Estridge Primary and also Edgar T. Morris Primary are both exceptionally small. I believe Estridge Primary has for its population 25 students enrolled and at Edgar T. Morris Primary they have 65 students. What I want you to understand is, both schools are small.”
Dr. Esdaille addressed the issue of the optimal class size in the area,
“Within St. Kitts and Nevis, when we look at class sizes and we look at what we consider a large class or the ideal or the maximum number students we would want in a classroom, the number is 25. The entire population of the Estridge Primary school is equivalent to what we have determined is the ideal class size or the maximum class size that we think is best for teaching and learning in the classroom that would allow for really good students engagement.”
Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley reassured parents and guardians that the merger will pave the way forward for the students.
“I know change is always a problem; how you manage it makes the difference. This [school merger] should not be looked at as a bad change, but rather as an opportunity for something new that will happen. Education is forever changing! The merger of the Estridge and Edgar T. Morris Primary Schools will be no difficult challenge; it will be an exciting time for the children.”
Minister Hanley encouraged parents to have a positive outlook for the merger.