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6 February 2018

SLNYC Urges Government To Place Greater Emphasis On Special Needs


Castries, Saint Lucia, Tuesday, 06 February 2018. The Saint Lucia National Youth Council is dissatisfied
with the level of attention given to special needs education in Saint Lucia. Particularly, we are gravely
concerned by the myriad of issues burdening staff and students of the Special Education Centre in Vieux-Fort.

The institution, established in November 1991 has provided special needs assistance for southern students for
twenty-six (26) years. Hence, it is unfortunate that in addition to basic program support, the school continues to
deal with longstanding structural issues.

To date, the NYC is aware of several challenges faced by the Centre. These include termite infestation, lack of
proper and adequate equipment to administer the curriculum and insufficient space to comfortably
accommodate students, among others. Additionally, flooding following heavy rainfall continues to cripple their
agricultural program, render the playground unusable and further contributes to the deterioration of the wooden

The NYC believes that special needs education must remain forefront in the enhancement of our country’s
education sector. This requires the introduction of specialized training for all staff employed at these
institutions, a revamp of our country’s special needs program and infrastructure.
As Education Ministers prepare to convene this month at the 20th Commonwealth Conference for Education
Ministers under the theme “Sustainability and Resilience: Can Education Deliver?”, we hope to see a renewed
impetus to create an inclusive education sector.

The Vieux-Fort Special Education Centre is the longest serving special needs school on island and has
among other institutions, developed youth who have gone on to make vital contributions to our society.