Tag Archives: Education

Common Entrance Examination: Termites Jonesing!

Submitted by William Skinner
Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education

Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education

Once again the annual ritual surrounding the release of the Common Entrance Examination results, has taken center stage. While the Minister of Education rants and raves about the mathematics results, the Principal of the University of the West Indies seems down spirited about the science results at Cave Hill. Any alert observer will see the connection. If the foundation is bad the building would eventually fall.

The Minister of Education refuses to see that if the results are deteriorating under his watch, it may be time for him to move on to another ministry. But we have little regard for holding our leaders accountable. Dragging retired teachers from their gardening and other hobbies to teach math will not work because there is no retired teacher in his or her right mind, who will leave healthy flowers and vegetables, to return to the quagmire that now envelops the Ministry of Education.

Our entire education system is on the verge of collapse but like many other decaying structures the final fall may take some time. Carpenters know about new coats of paint giving the impression that there are no termites. However the termites are there and they will get the job done eventually. Truth is that we are afraid to “touch’ a single rotten board because we fear that the house will fall down. Just slap some paint on it!

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To Barbadians ALL – Sir Hilary Beckles the TRUTH!

Submitted by Douglas
Sir Hilary Beckles Principal of UWI, Cave Hill

Sir Hilary Beckles Principal of UWI, Cave Hill

I write this out of a concern that we are not hearing the FULL TRUTH about this issue of the FUNDING of UWI education. As I read the comments of the Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary McDonald Beckles, I Cry shame on a man I formerly respected. As one of his former students I admired his brilliance and indeed while I have lost respect for this man, I must admit he did much to transform many aspects of the Cave Hill Campus. He built buildings, indeed monuments. I did hear staff, teaching and other, complain that you could not question him, he alone, had all the answers. I understand he brooks no opposition.

I was listening to many callers overs the past few months, and most recently when I heard a Government Minister trying to rationalise the decision to have students pay part of the cost of their education at UWI. I asked myself, how did we get here? Those who support the Government say this should have been in place a long time ago. Those who oppose the Government say students should not pay. We need to hear from the Minister of Education. He did not even touch this in the Estimates Debate. I have been trying to understand why we have reached this point, and have been asking questions of all kinds of people. They have all left me with more questions than answers and I therefore want to pose some questions to the University, its Principal, Deputy Principal and all the senior managers as well as the Minister of Education (and those who went before him).

Continue readingBeckles II, Beckles III, Beckles IV and Beckles V

University Education for the Young and the Unworldly

Submitted by Charles Knighton
“One reason universities are able to indoctrinate students is that students enter college young and unworldly.”

One reason universities are able to indoctrinate students is that students enter college young and unworldly.”

Each child who goes to a secondary school should do at least one year of national service… thus making a contribution to national development as well as becoming familiar with the world that they now only encounter way too late—the world of work.” Orlando Marville, Education cutsMarch 12 Advocate

While Mr. Marville’s article contains much to commend itself to the educational establishment of Barbados, I was most taken by his suggestion of the need for students to become acquainted with the practical workings of the real world before being indoctrinated by the progressive academic theories so prevalent in today’s universities. One reason universities are able to indoctrinate students is that students enter college young and unworldly.

Someone with life experience is far more likely than a kid just out of high school to understand that the best formula for avoiding many of life’s pitfalls is personal responsibility—get a job, get married, and then have children—not government help.

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Donville Inniss Says UWI Tuition Fees Must Stay

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Donville Inniss - Minister of Commerce, and International Business

Donville Inniss – Minister of Commerce, and International Business

“The Freundel Stuart administration says it is sticking to its guns to make Barbadian students at the University of the West Indies start pulling their pockets for tuition fees from next year even though welcoming a new private sector fund to bail out those who cannot afford to pay…The firm position was taken today by Minister of Commerce, and International Business, Donville Inniss, while launching a new charity known as Global Education Scholastic Trust…Inniss said the Government had done the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate, and would carry through with it…It is not easy for me as a politician that would have taken in recent debates to reduce fees at UWI with effect from 2014, but it is one of those things we felt we had to do, and we stand by that decision.”

What else can one expect from an uncaring Government, whose scions – and probably their scions’ scions – have had a free education at the UWI Cave Hill Campus? The motto of this Government is now “after me the deluge”! Is this the same Government that Minister Blackett called people-centred? I guess he means centred around the 16 DLP Government MPs, but night runs till day catches it!

Minister Inniss can spare us his crocodile tears!

You do not have money for our students at UWI Cave Hill, nor for the QEH, but you have millions of dollars in waivers – including one for food and beverage which no hotel has had before – to throw at a multi-millionaire named “Butch” Stewart, although he took over a hotel here and promised to develop and refurbish it so that Barbadians could get work, but absconded leaving it to moulder and the iron in it to rust! This left those who had hopes of getting a job there up the creek without a paddle! “Is that “the right thing in the circumstances of the economic climate”, Minister Inniss?

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Resolving Crime with Education

All too often, we see our children in the news. Whether rape, theft or murder, we see too many of our future generation making headlines for all the wrong reasons. We have to now look at ways to reverse the growing trend of youth crime and violence. And, peace education is one of the best ways to resolve and reduce these crimes. Informed learning can provide alternatives to resolve social conflicts within our society. Many young persons may not have the ability to know the difference between crime and its effects on the community, the society and the self. But if clearly demonstrated, they can be taught and in turn, encourage a positive message amongst their peers.

President of the Caribbean Mentorship Institute, Felicia Browne notes that “the past few weeks, and in the last 24 hours we have witnessed a rising trend of violence amongst our youths. There are deep fundamental questions that must be investigated to provide the best solutions to their problems. However, crime-prevention education and conflict interventions can alleviate some of these existing problems. The growing concerns of youth advocates are the age groups and genders of these victims. The victims of violence crimes have little or no social assistance to resolve their problems. For instance, we are observing a trend in young males being victims of violent crimes- some of which are or have been done by either a family member, friend within their circle or someone within their communities.”

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Notes From a Native Son: A Nation with a Hollow Where Public Morality Ought to be

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The political and economic failure of Barbados is like a slow motion car crash which onlookers are powerless to do anything about. As we look on, we can see the economy heading for a reinforced wall like a speeding, driverless car; we observe our leading institutions collapsing like a pack of over-used cards, while the high priests and priestesses of society preach about the solidity of these very flawed institutions. It is like Armageddon, we run screaming to the captains of industry, but there is nothing they can do; we plead with our politicians, but they are not listening; we ask our professionals for help, but they are pre-occupied with feathering their own nests. Repeating the growing lists of failings may hurt, but that is not like the pain felt by the marginalised, the disadvantaged, the outcasts. Like the man left on the floor of the hospital for four hours without any attention, then only to have a kind soul throw a sheet over him; like the man who collapsed at the wheel of his vehicle, only to find that calls for an ambulance could not be met – while the so-called Defence Force has an abundance of ambulances. Like a government refusing to pay Mr Barrack, while still pretending that it can engage in big capital projects.

Death of a Dream:
I seem to pinpoint the historical juncture when this rot set in when we started Barbadianising all our top management and public sector positions, regardless of the quality of the talent to fill those positions. This runs from the quality of programming at CBC, the leadership of our secondary schools and the nature of decision-making in the public sector. The only explanation is the rise of a petit-bourgeois nationalism in the years since constitutional independence which, in many ways, is driving the nation back in to the dark days of neo-colonial rule. The dominant belief now is that, no matter which political party one belongs to or support, this Barbadianisation of public sector jobs is a social priority over and above the quality of the service we deliver to the long-suffering public. In many ways, the irony is that this retreat in to a self-protective nationalism is taking place while the island itself is giving way to new forms of Barbadian-ness. This weakness is in most part an outcome of a weak public intellectual movement, as a reflection of the wider ruling elite. It is a small elite which has found it intellectually and politically cosy not challenging each other and accepting a consensus which is not ideologically tested in any way.

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UWI Fees Standing On Current Enrolled Barbadians Students

Submitted by Politically Correct (to alert the President of the Guild of this vital information)
President of the Student's Guild, Damani Parris

President of the Student’s Guild, Damani Parris – photo credit:Nation newspaper

This letter is not to slander persons in the Ministry but merely to assist the Guild in fighting the sudden increase in fees for Barbadian students. I will explain how to address this legally below from paragraph 2. The Ministry of Education, Science Technology and Innovation is a puppet Ministry which is suffering at the hands of the International community because of Globalisation. This is a typical encroachment on our sovereignty as a Nation. Changing a name does not mean that you are in alignment with countries that truly have science, technology and innovation based research saving the country money, creating new jobs etc. Minister Ronald Jones is quoted in the advocate as saying “The State does not have money and that citizens must stop being selfish and depending on Government for the State has no money (ADVOCATE 13/9/2013)

Every country listed here in Canada, South Africa, Denmark, Finland and more. I draw to your attention the UWI HANDBOOK and REGULATIONS for each FACULTY, as the first set of evidence and the quality assurance agency in Barbados which promotes quality assurance in higher education for you to use in your arguments. We will now see the power of politics and the role it plays.

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How to Change Education – from the ground up

You are invited to watch the video delivered by Sir Ken Robinson. He “addresses the fundamental economic, cultural, social and personal purposes of education. He argues that education should be personalized to every student talent, passion, and learning styles, and that creativity should be embedded in the culture of every single school.”

Local Tertiary Education

Submitted by Looking Glass
Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation

Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation

We are about the only country in the world where Tertiary Education is free and the cost to the taxpayer is truly excessive not only in terms of finance but in terms of what is taught and how it is taught. This is especially true of the kind of economics we teach and has implications for successful social and economic development.

Countries are not identical. They differ in terms of size, natural resources, social resources, population etc. China population exceeds one million the USA about 275000. Economics is a social science not a physical science. All we have is land, sea, sun and no natural resources. To be truly effective for Barbados it requires knowledge and understanding of the local economy.

Econ growth and development require technological and other growth to increase productivity. It requires structural factors social, economic and political to increase output and efficiency of available resources and investment. The agricultural sector is vital. Much of economic development in Latin America is tied to the land and growth of products for consumption and export. Much of the population is involved in agriculture. They grow every thing from coffee and cocoa, work on the land and have enacted vigorous development policies. In Barbados we are still inclined to avoid working the land and linking it to Slavery.

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UWI, Tertiary Education Cost and the Budget

Submitted by Fair Play
Sir Frank Alleyne

Sir Frank Alleyne

Sir Frank Alleyne’s interview on the People’s Business last night was spot-on. As usual, he was cogent, rational, reasonable and, of course, very ‘frank’, no pun intended. All the while, trying not to be overly critical of the administration at Cave Hill, but tacitly showing up its unreasonableness and excessive spending, nonetheless. He walked the proverbial tightrope (having taught there for decades, so he was somewhat circumspect), but he did it well.

It was very interesting television! Lots of good points were made; but  a couple salient ones stand out:

  • current physical development at the Cave Hill campus is not sustainable;
  • maintenance and personnel to staff the new structures will be difficult to maintain;
  • salary levels are very high;
  • UWI’s operating cost (to central government) has risen exponentially from about $53 million in 2005 to over $126 million in 2012-2013;

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