This week, educators from across the territory are participating in a series of activities and discussions organised by the Ministry of Education in recognition of Professional Development Day.

The week began with the annual Professional Development Day Conference during which the teachers were reminded of the importance of the work that they do, and the value they bring to the territory.

While addressing the ceremony, Acting Chief Education Officer Dr. Connie George spoke of the need for teachers to be recognized as indispensable members of the Virgin Islands Society, particularly in the era of a growing population.

Dr. George, who also spoke to the crucial role of teachers in guiding the next generation, shared some recent stats on the growing number of students in the territory.

“As of 25th August 2022, a total of 784 applications were received in the ministry for incoming students. This shows an increase of 32 more than we had last year. Of the 752 in 2021, the applications included primary and secondary applications for both public and private schools. We had 262 for Kindergarten level, so you have a lot of little people coming to us, and then we had 340 at secondary level. I shared that information to let you know that each one of us, we are getting an opportunity to nurture, to train and facilitate for these young people. These fundamental years are crucial,” she said.

Dr. George believes that many who would have doubted the importance of teachers prior to the COVID-19 pandemic have emerged from the past two years with a new appreciation for the dedication and the resilience of the territory’s teachers.

This she said needs to be coupled with the teacher’s own sense of self-worth and ownership of the work they do.

She told the educators, “You have been integral to the growth and development of this territory. You are valuable… Each one of you has a role to play and I call each one of you a leader today…. Why do I say leader? Because it means that each one will take ownership of the process and do your part to ensure success… Every one of you must be aware that you cannot be very easily replaced.”

In the new school year, several new teachers, principals and staff will be joining in on existing teams in the territory at various levels.

Dr. George issued a hearty welcome to all who will be joining the teams, including several personnel who were newly appointed to join the fraternity of principals in the territory.

On Friday this week, the Ministry of Education will host an orientation for all incoming teachers to prepare them for the upcoming term, which is scheduled to commence on Monday, September 5.