BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS - Quincy F.V. Lettsome
Quincy Lettsome’s entire life has been devoted to education, both to learning and teaching, and could be graphically presented as two parallels of self-improvement.
As a learner, he has come a long way from the Methodist elementary school in his native community of Tortola to earning a Ph.D. degree from the University of Hull, United Kingdom.
As a teacher, he moved from his first job of an assistant teacher at the Road Town elementary school, to his current position of Deputy Chief Education Officer with responsibility for curriculum development at the Department of Education and Culture.
Curriculum development has always been the focus of his attention, in particular the relevance of the curriculum to the students’ particular needs and the milieu in which they live. Upon his appointment as principal to the Cane Garden Bay Methodist primary school, for example, his attention was drawn to the intense interest shown by students towards local history and he tried to provide them with the maximum of information on this subject. While serving as head of the Geography Department at the British Virgin Islands High School, he introduced beach studies. This was indeed relevant since most students live within walking distance of the beach. Sports education has been enhanced under his leadership and today many members of the community can attest to the benefits they derived from being involved in sports during their primary school years.
In parallel, it was his concern about the relevance of the curriculum that encouraged him to start a research project which started in 1966 and terminated in 1991 with the award his Ph.D.
Dr Lettsome has always been conscious of the fact that no matter how relevant the curriculum might be, it would not be properly delivered if teachers were not familiar with it and sufficiently qualified. In his capacity as President of the B.V.I. Teachers’ Union - a position he has occupied on and off for some eighteen years - he has been one of the driving forces that kept the union in existence and has been instrumental in bringing about many positive changes. One of his most prominent achievements was the establishment of the Hull University Programme in the B.V.I., whereby many teachers could acquire teacher-training certificate and bachelor of education degrees without having to leave their homes and families.
His other achievements include the granting of study leave as a right, organization of the annual ‘Education Week’, introduction of inter-school general knowledge quizzes and the establishment of a Teaching Service Commission whose function is to deal with the recruitment of teachers and react to their concerns.
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