Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 7, 2022 (SKTU): The St. Kitts Teachers Union (SKTU) kicked off the 40th Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) with an official opening ceremony held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on Monday 7th February 2022. The opening ceremony of the 40th Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Union of Teachers saw dignitaries and educators from across several Caribbean Countries who are all seeking to address challenges facing the Education Sector. In his opening remarks, President of the St. Kitts Teachers’ Union, Dale Phipps noted the purpose of hosting the event and expressed gratitude to the CUT for supporting the St. Kitts Teachers Union. “The St. Kitts Teachers’ Union is indeed humbled to host this conference and we say a heartfelt thank you to the CUT Executive for trusting us with such a mammoth task. The hosting of this conference will help to create further awareness of our Union in our country and beyond”, Mr. Phipps stated. The ceremony also saw an informative presentation by the Minister of Education, Youth Sports and Culture, the Honourable Jonel Powell, who explained why he felt pleased about the selected theme. He also used the opportunity to wish the Caribbean Union of Teachers all the best in achieving their goals despite the constraints caused by the global pandemic. Mr. Powell noted, “Over the next week as you leave this August body guided by your conference theme, “Educators: The Key to Development and Recovery Amidst Current Regional and Global Challenges”, may your deliberations be frank, honest, productive and successful. I commend you and your officers on the selection of a theme that is relevant thought-provoking, action oriented and teacher centered”. Meanwhile, in delivering the feature address, former President of the St. Kitts Teachers’ Union and current Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ron Dublin Collins pleaded for more emotional and psychological support for teachers to aid in their wellbeing as they facilitate and guide a multifaceted approach to learning. “Throughout the pandemic we have seen the compelling and inspiring examples of teachers who went above and beyond the call of their duties to support student’s wellbeing; finding creative ways to reach students when they lost internet, when the devices wouldn’t work, when they’re having challenges with their assignment and there is no parental supervision. In this vein I want to strongly propose that focus be placed on supporting teachers more throughout this pandemic and beyond. Teachers cannot lead education recovery if they are not healthy, if they are not safe and if they are insecure in their own areas of work”, Mr. Collins expressed as he encouraged all unions to align themselves with future goals to lift the education sector. Additionally, President of the Caribbean Union of Teachers, Dr. Garth Anderson of Jamaica echoed the same sentiments as he delivered a profound state of the union address highlighting the importance of teachers in developing a nation. The ceremony wrapped up with a dance selection by the Anjolique Dance Company while the Brotherhood Drummers delivered a crowd engaging drum presentation. The 40th Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) will continue with several sessions this week and will wrap up with a special presentation on the topic “CXC Examinations 2022 amidst the current regional and global crisis”. Past First Vice President of the St. Kitts Teachers’ Union and Teacher at the Basseterre High School, Jennifer Williams chaired the ceremony.

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