ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Officials in the Ministry of Education will be making a strong proposal for an increase in the budget allocation for the ministry when they commence budget consultation this week.
Education Minister Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro said although the ministry’s budget has been topped-up for the 2012 financial year, the funds are not enough to effectively carry out the functions of the ministry.
The minister said the ministry will be putting forward its proposal to Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and Finance and Economy Minister Harold Lovell during a two-day meeting starting today.
“Those two days has been set aside for budget consultation from the various ministries and the Ministry of Education will be holding back no punches. We are going to be putting on a very powerful presentation that education is the most important ministry,” Dr Quinn-Leandro said.
The education minister maintains that the importance of education cannot be downplayed as it a critical contributor in the Human Development Index (HDI).
Dr Quinn-Leandro said any country that wants to be ranked as a developing country will have to place great emphasis on its human resource.
She noted that Antigua & Barbuda’s third place rank in the Caribbean and first in the OECS on the Human Development Index is attributed to the significant strides made in education over the last few years.
“Part of that positive ranking is because we have placed great emphases on education,” Dr Quinn Leandro said.
“Over the past few years, under the UPP, we have seen emphasis on empowering our young people in terms of scholarship and the advancement to universal secondary education where all students will have access to secondary education,” she added.
The Ministry of Education received just over $77 million in 2011.
Of the 187 nations included in the 2011 index, Barbados was the highest ranked Caribbean territory at number 47 with Antigua & Barbuda being second.
Countries fall into four broad human development categories: very high human development, high human development, medium human development and low human development.
Antigua & Barbuda falls within the medium human development category.