Basseterre, St. Kitts (September 22, 2022) – Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew presented yesterday, Wednesday 21st September 2022, his first day at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), at the Aspire Artemis Foundation (AAF) Meeting which focused on the value of STE(A)M as a platform for achieving sustainable growth and development.
The Aspire Artemis Foundation is an organization committed to promoting cultural exchange, language learning and holistic educational training opportunities to youth in vulnerable and marginalized communities globally. Aspire Artemis strives to educate, empower, and support youth by tapping into the power of creativity they possess, highlighting the successes of trailblazers and innovators as a means of inspiring future leaders.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed our government’s stance in ensuring that “access to quality education is a fundamental human right, and the bedrock of sustainable development and thriving societies and went on to highlight a trailblazer within our twin island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Maleah Erskine, referencing her academic journey and exemplary character. He stated that it is important to encourage our young women to become involved in the field of science.
“At age 11, Maleah Erskine while waiting during after school classes for her mother, a college math teacher, became inspired by the teaching and learning of math. She decided to try her hand at a few CXCs and found success in 1st form with Math and EDPM. In second form she tried her hand at a few sciences, with Human and Social Biology, IT and English. By her third form year, she did Additional Math, a bridge between high-school and college math, chemistry, biology, and physics online and after school due to Covid. To say that Maleah has a love for STEM subjects is a gross understatement. She literally immerses herself into all things related to this broad rubric, continuing a path of further enlightenment. By the time COVID restrictions ended this remarkable teenager had 14 subject passes and headed to college to focus on science subjects. She was only 14 years old.”
Maleah was expected to join the delegation later that day.
Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, also spoke to the learning crisis that was intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the children and their households. In speaking to our government’s response to this crisis he stated,
“Millions of them were disadvantaged by the cessation of face-to-face learning, and social interaction at the level which they were familiar. Millions of households lacked and continue to lack access to the technologies that would fill the gaps created by the pandemic. Our focus in St. Kitts and Nevis is therefore to create an enabling environment which makes us less vulnerable to external shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic. The establishment of solid ICT platforms is a critical part of the infrastructure necessary for strengthening our resilience in this increasingly uncertain global environment. We emphasize that we must sharpen our focus on ensuring that we invigorate our education systems based on equality, equity, and inclusion.In fact, just a few weeks ago, my government decided to introduce free tertiary education to ensure that all young people can have equal access regardless of their families’ income level or immigration status.”
Prime Minister Drew also assured the Heads of State of our government’s efforts to promote gender equality.
“It is our aim to advance women in public life through the appointment of women in our parliament, our diplomatic service, and other decision-making fora; and we have encouraged the private sector partners in our jurisdiction to prioritise the same. Saint Kitts and Nevis will join in global efforts to ensure that our women are at the forefront of our societies and applaud the efforts of Aspire Artemis and Hermina Johnny and her team, and its partners Microsoft in their multi agency partnership and its efforts so far and in future.”
He lorded the AAF for its endeavours in teaching young people the skills they need to utilize their voices and abilities in constructive and empowering ways.
“We are pleased to learn that AAF will continue to work with youth like Maleah, and Maleah herself, holding them as a shining example of the rich potential which lies within our youth particularly our young women and girls.”
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis extends its full support and commitment to strengthening multiagency partnerships as we continue to chart our path to achieving sustainable development in all its dimensions.