Nations receives prestigious education award
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School of the Nations Director, Dr. Brian O’Toole
School of the Nations Director, Dr. Brian O’Toole

SCHOOL of the Nations exemplary performance in the field of education, nationally and internationally, has led to it receiving the prestigious 2017 Caribbean Award for Education

The award was bestowed by Kuarlal Rampersad, the Executive Chairman of the Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professional Trinidad Chapter.
The school’s director, Dr. Brian O’Toole, in a statement said Rampersad made reference to ‘Nations’ stellar performance, as he pointed to Saskia Twahir, who outperformed 13,000 students at the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) to be the nation’s top student for 2017.
“Recent IGCSE and AL results from the 220 persons at ‘Nations’ taking Cambridge International Examinations saw 100 passes in a wide number of classes and 35 students achieving an A or B+ average,” the director pointed out.
He noted that the educational institution has been working for the past six years with 530 students in Guyana on the Australian Institute of Business MBA programme, and to date, 268 of them have already received their MBAs while others are near completion.
“Not only have they passed the MBA but they have achieved the top results from the 17 AIB centres throughout the world. In addition, 28 of the final projects are presently being considered for publication in international journals,” Dr. O’Toole added.
‘Nations’ also has a long-standing partnership with the Association of Business Executives (ABE) in the UK. With 850 students pursuing the various programmes offered by ABE, ‘Nations’ is now the fifth largest ABE centre out of the 232 ABE centres around the world.
‘Nations’ also has the highest number of top paper awards from all the ABE centres in the Caribbean for the 2016 examinations.
Currently, more than 150 persons at ‘Nations’ are pursuing the pre-law programme from the University of Cambridge or the LLB programme from the University of London.
Gabriella Edwards, a ‘Nations’ LLB student, received the Oxford University Press Prize for achieving the best results in the world in the University of London Year One LLB Examinations.

SPECIAL EDUCATION
Dr. O’Toole said too that Rampersad, in his remarks, also alluded to the work ‘Nations’ is doing in the area of special education.
A team of three teachers from the primary department recently returned from an intensive training in special needs education at Learning Rx in Denver, USA. They have now developed an innovative special needs programme at ‘Nations’ which is open to members of the public.
Mention was also made of the multi-faceted plans that are now on stream at ‘Nations’.
“A new MBA partnership has been formed with the University of Bedfordshire (UK) whereby specialisations will be offered in marketing, human resource development, hospital management and oil and gas management. ‘Nations’ is also now consulting with the National Accreditation Council of Guyana about introducing 16 masters programmes in the areas of law, public health, international development, social work, journalism, psychology, art and environmental management,” the director explained.
Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with Cambridge International Examinations to offer the International Certificate in Educational Leadership in partnership with the Ministry of Education to train educational leaders throughout Guyana.
‘Nations’ recently acquired the Registered Educational Provider status from PMI and will begin teaching the PMP and CAPM qualifications from October. The ACCA programme is to be re-introduced as well as OSHA courses on Safety and Health.
In response to the oil discoveries in Guyana, ‘Nations’ has formed a partnership with IHRDC in Boston (USA) and a number of Trinidad companies and individuals to develop a five-year technical training programme in the areas of electrical, mechanical and process technology at Nations School of Technology. ‘Nations’ is in the process of building a state-of-the-art workshop to facilitate this training.
But Rampersad, Dr. O’Toole said, was keen in pointing out that the institution’s development is not only in the areas of education, business, law and technology, but also in the performing arts.

PERFORMING ARTS
A formal partnership has been agreed with Nancy Campbell Collegiate Institute (NCCI) in Canada, which will see resource persons from NCCI coming to ‘Nations’ to promote the performing arts in drama, dance, art and music, he explained. Another aspect of this is that ‘Nations’ is now embarking on monthly gathering of artists to reflect on their practice and to chart a way forward.
“A TV studio has been established at ‘Nations’ which is now fully equipped. ‘Nations’ has also secured the services of Azikiwe ‘Ziggy’ Denheart, a gifted professional videographer of Infinity Productions, on a part-time basis, to nurture the skills of the students in this exciting medium,” the director noted.
He added: “With the success of the Guyana Robotics team, with our own Ryan Benschop from ‘Nations’ as captain, ‘Nations’ plans to develop a robotics club at the school. At a time when many investors are looking to move their money out of the country, the directors at ‘Nations’ are now investing in a 27-classroom, three-storey expansion at their Georgetown Campus. A new canteen and conference centre is in the process of being built,” Rampersad was quoted as saying.
Rampersad noted that a key aspect of the award was service to the community. “This is a distinct feature of the work of ‘Nations’. For the past eight years Nations has worked with 100 children and youth from the neighbouring Tiger Bay community whereby the children come into ‘Nations’ three afternoons per week for help with literacy and numeracy and for computer training, art, music and dance classes,” Dr. O’Toole said.
Additionally, the institution was also awarded based on the diversity of its work. The institution’s research arm, Nations Research Institute (NURI) has already undertaken major research projects for UNICEF, UNDP, ILO, IDB, and DFiD. Currently, it has five major consultancies under consideration for the CSSP, YIPOG and the CFYR programmes in the areas of youth development.
According to Dr. O’Toole, the award is the fruit of 20 years of efforts on the part of a large group of persons who have united together to translate the quote from the Baha’i Writings that guides the work of ‘Nations’: “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable vale, education alone can cause it to reveal its treasures and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.”

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