Another Meaningless Education Report From NACE

Submitted by Bush Tea

The report from the National Advisory Committee on Education (NACE) committee that has worked over the past two years to compile recommendations for the ministry of education on the future direction of education in Barbados is as predictable and useless as could have been expected – given the way that things are done in Barbados.

According to the Nation newspaper of Tuesday June 22, the report from the ‘NACE’ and presented by Dr Pearson Broomes – focused on five primary areas:

~ The provision of adequate and affordable educational opportunities

~ Enhancing the quality of education

~ Improving student performance and certification

~ Making school a rewarding experience

~ Ensuring that each child benefit from the educational experience

…each area being a predictable cliché of meaningless, general, terms that sound intelligent while essentially saying absolutely nothing.

The committee then goes on to recommend a number of ‘policy initiatives’ like;

…sending scholarship winners to UWI;

…allowing UWI to monopolize tertiary education in Barbados;

…zoning students for secondary schools

…taking 2 schools out to become trade schools

…establishing sixth forms in every school;

… etc etc etc

No doubt the newspaper report is but a brief summary of the committee’s extensive document, and it probably does not do justice to the value of the work done. However even if that is the case, anyone with a modicum of common sense must see that this is nothing but a wish list compiled by a particular segment of the education cartel of Barbados that serves only to pander to their particular interests and pet peeves.

In the first place, how can such an august group of intellectuals spend two years in researching this issue and yet fail to take the time to establish a clear strategic framework for national education in Barbados?

You know! like…

1 – What is it that we are striving to achieve in education in Barbados?

2 – How are we going to measure this achievement?

3 – How well / badly are we doing right now based on this measure?

4 – What are the main factors that impede / encourage success?

5 – Where does the best opportunities lie to improve results being obtained?

Now are these not the kinds of answers that you would expect from a fancy sounding advisory committee on education? Stupseeeee

Now I like Mr. Jeff Broomes the Principal of Alexandria! Any leader who is regularly at odds with his union is likely to be someone that is innovative, creative and actually doing things.

But when he seeks to justify the recommendation for zoning secondary school students (more so than is currently the case) on the excuse that it will improve extracurricular participation, he immediately set himself up for a downgrading by the bushman.

The sad truth is that most of the recommendations articulated by the committee are nothing but doltish ramblings without any basis in logic or common sense.

What UWI What??!!

Everyone except apparently those on this committee knows that one of the only factors that can drive some level of efficiency in Barbados is competition. The main benefit of the proposed University College of Barbados was to provide a practical alternative to the mediocrity currently endemic at Cave Hill, for large numbers of students.

A quick look at St Augustine Campus will show that numerous improvements and innovations only suddenly became ‘viable’ AFTER the establishment of UTT.

In a similar vein, why should UWI be guaranteed the intake of the scholarship winners every year? Why should they not have to compete for these students by offering the best options to stimulate their enrollment? The committee is saying that Barbados should place all their academic eggs in UWI’s broken basket – when far better developmental options may be out there to take our best brains to their maximum potential.

…Hilary must be on that committee….

What zoning what??!!

Notwithstanding the ridiculous ‘benefit’ proposed by Principal Jeff Broomes about improved extra curricular participation, the committee would need to explain the basis upon which it recommends tighter zoning. Why should a parent not have the right to send their child to WHICHEVER school they feel comfortable with – provided that the child meets the 11+ requirements for that school?

What makes Mr. Broomes or any education official more qualified than a parent to make this determination?

~Suppose the parent or a close relative works at the “far-away” school?

~Suppose a grand mother lives next door to the distant school – while parents work in town?

Stupseeee

What sixth form in every school what??!!

Towards what end are they recommending a sixth form in each school?

Unless there is a well thought out strategic goal in mind that drives this proposal with solid facts and data, this sounds just like another arbitrary brainwave that is driven more by the number of senior teaching posts that will be created than by any logical benefits to Barbadian youth.

What is wrong with Community College?

What take TWO secondary schools out to become what trade schools what??!!

Based on what??? Why not take 12 out? Is this just another expensive experiment too? After two years of research you would think that such a recommendation would be based on some clear strategic goals with coherent metrics to support the proposal.

With this poor level of planning being perpetrated on the people of Barbados at the so called ‘National policy level’ it is no wonder that we are at a loss to make sensible national decisions –particularly in crisis times. Does this not sound familiarly like the kind of ‘planning’ that went into Greenland, ABC flyover expansion, Dodds etc?

The real joke is that it is presentations such as these that garner PhD degrees at UWI. No wonder we need to bring experts from over and away to get anything done bout here…

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180 Comments on “Another Meaningless Education Report From NACE”

  1. Anonymous June 27, 2010 at 11:44 AM #

    Contrasting philosophically with the Singaporean model is Cuba’s educational model. Cuba’s educational model is also deemed one of outstanding success. As a relatively poor West Indian country, Cuba’s model may be more relevant to Barbados.

    http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/547664-1099080026826/The_Cuban_education_system_lessonsEn00.pdf

    The above report states:

    “What has allowed Cuba’s education system to perform so well, even under the severe resource constraints of the past decade, is the continuity in its education strategies, sustained high levels of investments in education, and a comprehensive and carefully structured system, characterized by:

    * Quality basic education and universal access to primary and secondary school;

    * Comprehensive early childhood education and student health programs (established as part of the commitment to basic education);

    – Complementary educational programs for those outside school-literacy, adult and non formal education (again as part of the basic education commitment);

    * Mechanisms to foster community participation in management of schools;

    * Great attention to teachers (extensive pre- and in-service training, high status and morale, incentives, transparent system of accountability, strategies for developing a culture of professionalism, rewards for innovation);

    * Low-cost instructional materials of high quality;

    * Teacher and student initiative in adapting the national curriculum and developing instructional materials locally;

    * Carefully structured competition that enhances the system rather than the individual;

    * Explicit strategies to reach rural students and students with special needs;

    * Strategies to link school and work; and

    * An emphasis on education for social cohesion.”

    It does not appear that Cuba deliberately ranks schools or assigns students to schools based on any presumed ranking of schools and students. Cubans would probably be perplexed by debates about zoning such as that which occurs in Barbados. Cuba has concerned itself with more meaningful matters. This is my criticism of the NACE report and those who harp on zoning in particular. It is my contention that zoning is a non response to the critical issues in education in Barbados. In Cuba “A form of competition permeates all classrooms as well as the school atmosphere and is promoted among groups in the same class,different classes, and the school and other schools. However competition in Cuba is called” emulation” because it is not considered an end in itself, but a method for self-improvement, developed through solidarity and collaboration among peers”.

    ” Emulation ” among schools and municipalities is assessed according to such things as:

    *Political and ideological work

    *Results of the teaching-learning process

    *School cleanliness

    *activities with the community

    and many other indicators.

    It should be noted that, like Singapore, Cuba places equal emphasis on technical and vocational education. As the report states ” approximately 50 percent of students who complete grade 9 enter Technical and Vocational Education (TVE)”
    The curricula is developed in conjunction with public employers’ organisations and students carry out twenty hours professional practice per week.

    The Cuban model places much emphasis on promoting those values associated with the political philosophy of the Communist Party and by extension the State. Individualism is discouraged, cooperation, solidarity and self sacrifice is promoted.

    .

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  2. Crusoe June 27, 2010 at 12:04 PM #

    @Fairplay who said ”. Explain to me why most Chemistry, Biology and Spanish students of QC and HC students find themselves at St.Leonard’s every Saturday morning for lessons.
    It is not about the best teaching it is about receiving the best students who still do a tremendous amount of lessons outside of HC and QC.”

    Methinks that Fairplay has just identified the whole crux of the matter and the myth that one school is ‘better’ than another.

    Like

  3. Atman June 27, 2010 at 1:02 PM #

    @Fair Play

    Well those two schools are considered “the best schools” in Barbados aren’t they? So obviously I have to use their standard as the measuring stick to satisfy the elitists. All I’m trying to point out that all schools should be at one standard as far as core elements of learning. If it is not possible for all schools to be equipped to handle the needs in the sciences, music, and sports areas, then they should be afforded the opportunity to attend the closest school that fit their needs…or take Saturday classes at a different school should it be necessary.

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  4. Atman June 27, 2010 at 1:08 PM #

    And I forgot to mention foreign languages as one of those special areas of learning.

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  5. Atman June 27, 2010 at 1:13 PM #

    @ Fair Play and Crusoe

    So are you two in favour or against zoning, since you’ve concluded that currently no school is really better than the other?

    Like

  6. David June 27, 2010 at 1:35 PM #

    @Atman

    Your position on the importance of zoning is understood and appreciated. It is something that is always debated when we discuss how we need to change our educational system to make it relevant. Today on a callin program a teacher made the point whether we will zone the teachers. His position which is purely anecdotal is based on his observation that the quality of teaching declines when teachers are posted to certain schools. Chew on that Atman.

    The reality, zoning is one facet of a very complex issue we are grappling. The documents posted by Anonymous (11.44AM) is recommended reading.

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  7. Atman June 27, 2010 at 2:33 PM #

    I see nothing to chew on David, you’re coming full circle. What does one expect when all the high scorers are sent to certain schools, and the low scorers to other schools? The same affect it has on teachers when they are posted at “poor schools”, is the same effect it has on 11-years-olds when they are sent to schools that are considered poorweakbad. It’s a psychological thing isn’t it? Make all schools equal by zoning and balancing the faculty at each school…thereby changing the mind set. Chew on that sir.

    Like

  8. David June 27, 2010 at 2:42 PM #

    @Atman

    Do you recognize the point that even if we have zoning a large number of our students will leave school with 2-3 CXCs having had no opportunity to develop their non-academic abilities in a system which focusses on academics?

    The problem is greater than zoning and that is the point you need to take on board.

    Like

  9. Hants June 27, 2010 at 3:38 PM #

    Barbados needs more Community colleges/ Polytechnics to allow young people opportunities to become qualified for the working world.

    The Canadian system of Community colleges are worth considering.

    http://www.georgebrown.ca/Marketing/FTCal-Jan/access/A737.aspx#maincontent

    Like

  10. Crusoe June 27, 2010 at 4:28 PM #

    While refraining from sitting on the fence (lol), I will attempt to voice my position.

    Although no expert on education or schooling, just a regular citizen, my thought is that per se, zoning will have little effect, to the positive.

    I do think however, that there are some valid positions stated above, not least Fairplay’s and Atman’s points on cause of perceived ‘success’.

    But, rather than pull some down, the reason for such success can give a clue as to success for all.

    If the reason for school success is caused by the entrance exam resulting in the ‘most diligent’ and successful students being centred to those schools, then also by their own additional lessons etc along the way while at secondary school, the inference is that the school’s success is per se, caused by the sum of the individuals attending that school.

    If zoning spreads these out amongst various schools, it may result in the perceived success being also spread out.

    However I must ask, to what gain? Is this a punitive measure, or a measure aimed at improving all schools?

    Zoning cannot in of itself solve the issue of improving school for all. It probably will solve the perceived succes of various schools caused by statistical measures, that is all.

    Are we interested in statistics of schools or improved underlying results of students?

    I opt for the first.

    Hence, may I suggest as aims of any improvments to the school system.

    Improve discipline in all schools. Without discipline, one cannot study and indiscipline disrupts class teaching.

    Indiscipline also causes potentially ‘good’ students to be led astray by a few vagabonds.

    One way is to bolster the supervisory authority in schools, whether by direct link to the Ministry of educaiton office, the Police etc, or simply by closer contact with parents.

    Improve learning difficulty with supplementary teachers. Many cannot afford private lessons. Thus, have a pool of supplementary teachers, either a couple at each school or a general pool, the job iof which is to assist those having subject difficulty.

    Improve learning /study centres at schools.

    Many students do not have conducive study areas at home, make these available at schools, after hours and at weekends, supervised. Have supplementary teachers available to ‘teach’ students how to study.

    Studying is an art, really.

    Make the parent and teacher associations in each school more vibrant to better address problems / issues for the teachers, such as discipline, environment etc.

    Improve the size and scope of both the Community College and Polytechnic. Focus on career training, whether academic or technical.

    The point is to make every child succeed, zoning will address symptoms but not the real crux.

    The point is also to show students that Barbados’s education is exceedingly good at secondary level and they must make the best use of it.

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  11. Crusoe June 27, 2010 at 4:30 PM #

    Big Oh oh ‘Are we interested in statistics of schools or improved underlying results of students?

    I opt for the SECOND!

    Like

  12. Bajan Truth June 27, 2010 at 4:50 PM #

    TO ZONE OR NOT TO ZONE, IS THAT THE QUESTION?

    This issue of education is so important for the viability of our country’s future that we need our best information, best minds and lay down the politics.

    How do we build a first class educational system that provides all of our children with their varied talents, the best preparation to make the most of their lives, to provide for themselves and to build a strong society and nation. Three or four major elements therefore need to be addressed:

    CURRICULUM – what do they need to know and when do they need to know it, to meet what challenges, to perform what tasks efficiently; how should this be taught given our children’s environment; technology; and changing conditions. How can we organise the timing and process of learning that the maximum number of our children can have their learning needs addressed in a way so as to promote thier success.

    SUGGESTION – periodic assessments to ensure relevance, look at trends that have implications for the curriculum; and continuous research on new methods and approaches to teaching this information to promote the best chance of retention and learning. Perhaps a regional unit could do this to save cost and spread value in the region.

    Lovely to have emphasis on all the disciplines in every school but as this is not possible becuas eof costs and availability of skills, some centres of excellence can be established and children go the ones best suited to his/her talents. The base subjects or core subjects should be of the same standard across the nation.

    TEACHERS – what kind of teachers do we need; what skills, atittudes, philosophy, what performance requirements and how will we ensure that they continuously meet these targets, and are kept relevant, and accountable.

    SUGGESTION: Teacher assessment programme and curriculum developmment programme under Edutech project is excellent, work at moving this forward.

    CHILDREN – how are we going to ensure that they have good self-esteem, build confidence, are focused, and get the appropriate attention to develop their skills and abilities. How will we test them for these interests and abilities, and how will we organise the school system to facilitate attendance at school; good behaviour; an animated and motivational learning environment; how will we promote good parental behaviour and build an alliance with parents and other stakeholders to ensure that our children have the type of environment that supports their best interests and their learning.

    SUGGESTIONS: A set number of compulsory parent meetings to discuss and train them in ways to support their children; counselling programme for parenting that they can voluntarily pursue professional help in parenting.

    Continuous assessment of children, another good Edutech component will eliminate the horrors and stress of 11+. Use computeirzed personality, learning styles and knowledge assessments to proivde a profile of the child, and in discussion with teachers; continuous assessment information provided by teachers make school assignments.

    RESOURCES – when we have answered these questions how will we ensure that as a society we can continuously provide for the education of our young, and make available all the resources we can afford to train our teachers, teach our children and ensure the integrity of our system by insisting on the proper distribution of those resources so as to leave no part of our society of children disadvantaged.

    There is room for more ideas and suggestions. Feel free to add more. But w emust fix this problem.

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  13. Bush Tea June 27, 2010 at 8:40 PM #

    The only meaningful benefit of zoning is to help those of us with inferiority complexes who did not manage to get into HC or Queens, to get over our hang-ups.

    The best persons to choose a school are parents (or the children themselves), and to avoid excessive demand for ANY school- for ANY reason, a fair and unbiased ‘screening’ test is the best means of distributing the allocations.
    That is exactly what we now have!! What is to be fixed?

    What zoning issue what??!!
    …even traffic issues are petty when dealing with the development of our children. The reason that they are traffic jams is precisely because parents deem it important enough to drive their children around (and not just to school, – to lessons, dancing, sports, scouts etc)
    If we are going to tamper with education to improve traffic why not tamper with it to save some of the $400 million that we can ill afford to spend each year? stupssss..

    The ‘problem is not our present (good) academic system. It is that we have no other equally effective talent development systems….

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  14. Atman June 27, 2010 at 9:45 PM #

    @David who wrote:

    Do you recognize the point that even if we have zoning a large number of our students will leave school with 2-3 CXCs having had no opportunity to develop their non-academic abilities in a system which focusses on academics?

    The problem is greater than zoning and that is the point you need to take on board
    ===============================================================

    David, I expect better of you. Calm down and realize that I have already agreed that there are special areas of interest that have to be addressed in the school system. That has nothing to do with the points I have put forward in favour of zoning. We seem to be on different pages of the book. Shall I place you and Anonymous at the same school??

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  15. David June 27, 2010 at 9:50 PM #

    @Atman

    Don’t mind going to the school Anonymous attended. His arguments have been very dispassionate unlike yours which is emotion based.

    Don’t be nasty now…lol.

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  16. Atman June 27, 2010 at 10:06 PM #

    @Bush Tea who wrote:

    The only meaningful benefit of zoning is to help those of us with inferiority complexes who did not manage to get into HC or Queens, to get over our hang-ups.

    The best persons to choose a school are parents (or the children themselves), and to avoid excessive demand for ANY school- for ANY reason, a fair and unbiased ‘screening’ test is the best means of distributing the allocations.
    That is exactly what we now have!! What is to be fixed?
    ================================================================

    So up to now you haven’t told me what makes one school better than the other. And on the comment of parents having the right to choose a school for their children, well that only applies if your child gets the required score for the school(s) that you have choosen. I have been able to conclude that the current system and tradition is so burnt into psyche of many Barbadians that they simply refuse to see the obvious, or they just don’t want to.

    What is to be fixed? …you ask?? Well I won’t bother to use the word “idiot” anymore. Ask that question to the government…the ministry of education…the ministry of transportation…and the ministry of home affairs.

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  17. Atman June 27, 2010 at 10:17 PM #

    @David

    We’ll see. It’s only a metter of time.

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  18. Atman June 27, 2010 at 10:24 PM #

    @David

    BTW, does always dispassionate=right and passionate=wrong? if you’re going to tell me that I’m wrong then say so, but what does my passion or lack thereof have to do with being right or wrong??

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  19. Anonymous June 27, 2010 at 11:07 PM #

    “Goodness Gracious” as my Granny would say, Crusoe and Bajan Truth certainly seem to have “got it”. Crusoe, claims to be no expert on education and schooling but his clearly expressed ideas have such practical merit that I wonder if he is not being overly modest.

    Zoning ALONE, is a “feel good” measure with some (but only a little) value as a response to the challenge of facilitating the successful development of a happy, skillful citizenry.The present three zone configuration (which, subject to correction, NACE does not recommend amending) will still possibly have children from St.John going to school in Christ Church as these are deemed to be in the same zone. My concern has never been the maintenance of the prestige of a few schools to the detriment of others. My concern is that those children struggling now get the kind of schooling that make sense to them and engenders their success once they and their parents play their parts. Zoning is not MY concern, what is of concern is that there seems to be no plan to change the present curriculum offerings, teaching and assessment methods, disciplinary structures and physical school environments. Maybe these are predicated on zoning but this has not been established. Therefore if zoning does not address these matters, how can I think that it deserves the attention that some including NACE give it? Further I remain sceptical about the claims that zoning will (a) eliminate an elitist mindset (b) reduce traffic congestion or (b) liming in Bridgetown. I await the yet unidentified “many other issues” that it will address.

    I again urge readers to read the reports that I posted on education in Singapore and Cuba to stimulate ideas for Barbados.

    http://www.intlalliance.org/Singapore.pdf

    http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EDUCATION/Resources/278200-1099079877269/547664-1099080026826/The_Cuban_education_system_lessonsEn00.pdf

    With David of BU’s indulgence I suggest that these documents should become part of BU’s virtual library. There are many links provided by bloggers on the myriad issues discussed on BU. Some of these links are so comprehensive, instructive and provocative that these should be cataloged for easy retrieval i.e without having to go through the original threads. For example, GP has posted so many original power point presentations on medical matters, MME has provided links on evolution and other scientific matters and even the much maligned Dictionary has posted links to alternative development technologies, that are likely to be of much use to researchers now and in the foreseeable future.

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  20. Atman June 27, 2010 at 11:25 PM #

    At this point I will withhold any further comments and allow the wise and prudent to have their say.

    Like

  21. David June 28, 2010 at 7:05 AM #

    @Anonymous

    Your suggestion about updating the BU Library with important documents is a good one. Unfortunately WordPress does rent its storage space. If there is a generous person out there who is willing to log on to WordPress and purchase credits to add to BU credits, we would purchase the space to support the suggestion.

    Like

  22. ezzy June 30, 2010 at 3:14 PM #

    @ Crusoe
    How can you consider bcc as brim, when this institution has been at the fore front and continues to evolve enhance the quality of educational its offfer by incorporating some level pacticality in their curriculum. Its no wonder why BCC students function better in workplaces as oppose sixth form students. Furthermore, why is there so much foucs being paid on grades thus as to defined an intellectual student. Most renowned persons all over the world as well as in Barbados were not all seen as the ‘bright ones’ in their classes but they are seen as scholars in their right.

    Like

  23. ezzy June 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM #

    What’s all the talk about zoning? what nonsense that is. I’m of the view that the current system of allocating students is not the best but at least it is fair. What also would be the pint of zoning? To do what? To determine which parish in Barbados produces to the brightest students. Time after time we continue to give our students handouts and zoning students would be just that. The 11+ to say the least is not all bad but it helps to prepare students for what expect as one goes on life. In fact, its teaches them about setting goals and aiming for the best, working towards those goals and achieving them.

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  24. Christopher Halsall June 30, 2010 at 3:49 PM #

    @ezzy: “What’s all the talk about zoning? what nonsense that is.

    That’s interesting… Because “zoning” is pretty standard in just about every industrialised (read: “first world”) country in the world.

    It costs a lot of time, money and energy to transport atoms (in this case, human students) longer distances, after all.

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  25. David July 3, 2010 at 12:14 PM #

    Looks like Lowdown and Bush Tea are on the same page or singing in the same choir.

    FRI, JULY 02, 2010 – 12:15 AM

    THE LOWDOWN: Gifts galore

    BY: RICHARD HOAD

    DUE TO GLOBAL WARMING or the El Niño effect, one of these issions or itties sweeps across our peaceful landscape every seven to ten years, wreaking mental havoc on the unsuspecting public and then disappearing into nothingness.
    One recalls a Shridath commission of the 1990s with much braying about Caribbean integration and fears of Patrick Manning moving into Government House. A similar Forde Commission in the 2000s with equally eloquent rantings about becoming a republic.

    Now we have a “major report on education” from a committee headed by Dr Pearson Broome or Broomes. Dr Pearson appears in both singular and plural forms in the media.

    With any luck this will follow CARICOM and the republic down the sink hole of history. But for the record, here are our biased views on the subject.

    We anti-intellectuals are persuaded that formal education (beyond the primary level) and intelligence are mutually incompatible. Indeed, formal education actively inhibits the development of common sense.

    There are exceptions. My contemporary Robert Vaughan insists he was “educated in spite of Harrison College and the University of the West Indies”, a view to which I myself susbscribe.

    First, the 11-Plus exam. We see nothing wrong with this as an indicator of which children are academically inclined. We see nothing wrong with the academically inclined children joining their peers in the schools that parents decide offer the best prospects for education.

    We reject as utter nonsense the statement that “Barbadians abhor the idea that their children from upper social standing should fraternise with children from lower social standing”. The 11-Plus exam has ensured that children from every village and hamlet make it to any prestigious school if they have the ability. All classes meet as equals and fraternise to their hearts’ content.

    We strongly object, however, to the current emphasis on academic education as if those not so inclined are somehow failures. That too is nonsense. The average successful firm needs maybe one or two graduates in specialised areas. Everyone else, including the managing director who must make critical decisions, should have no more than a basic education so as to develop natural intelligence and common sense.

    In a recent BBC comparison, it was pointed out that India opted for large numbers of university graduates, China for more basic trades. China’s development has far outstripped India’s. Graduates don’t produce. In fact, during the Cricket World Cup fiasco, thousands of artisans came here to hold down good-paying jobs while better-educated Bajans watched.

    We also reject enforced zoning and mixing children of widely different academic abilities so that non-academics suffer the perpetual trauma of not being able to keep up. Let us not pull down our “elite” schools in the pursuit of some standard level of national mediocrity. But, equally important, let non-academics fulfil their goals in other fields.

    Finally, we reject the suggestion that Barbados scholars be cloned in the narrow confines of the University of the West Indies. Let our scholars spread their wings, embrace new cultures, widen their perspectives.

    More on education later for I must acknowledge some gifts. First, a new puppy, “Gabriella”. Gabby is as cute as Rihanna but built more along the lines of the Graf Zeppelin or GV Marshall. Our security is now assured, what with the dive-bombing blackbird squadron on the front lawn who recently chased a Jenn’s Health Food driver to the confines of  his van.

    Then on Sunday a nice lady brought her Jamaican family to visit – a farmer who breeds horses and mules and his dapper 94-year-old father who still does the occasional dutty wine. Afterwards she presented me with a bag which contained another bag which contained. . . .

    I started to sweat, afraid to look. A big police fellow was due to come for milk. And me, caught red-handed.

    I was wrong. It wasn’t that. It was a bag of top quality Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Hoad goin’ be percolating in style! Muchas gracias!

    Finally Andrew Bynoe sent me a bounteous gift bag containing his collection of poems, accompanying CDs, his proper pork song, sundry trinkets and a whole gold pig!

    Alas he forgot to include a sample of Pie Corner ham but no doubt this oversight will soon be remedied. Blessings, Sir!

    Christmas come early, boy!

    • Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.

    Like

  26. David July 10, 2010 at 8:28 PM #

    For those who are interested.

    Lunch time lecture at The DLP Headquarters George Street to be delivered by our Minister of Education Mr Ronald Jones MP as he speaks on the subject of Challenges to Formal Education in The Era of Technology – Dilemma and Survival

    We look forward to welcoming all of you to The DLP Headquarters in George Street on Friday to listen to our lunch time lecture delivered by our Minister of Education Mr Ronald Jones MP as he speaks on the subject of Challenges to Formal Education in The Era of Technology – Dilemma and Survival.

    You are invited on Friday 16th July at The DLP Headquarters on George Street at 12.30, remember a sumptuous lunch is also served before the lecture.
    We look forward to having all of you there to take in this lunch and lecture.

    Like

  27. MD July 10, 2010 at 9:33 PM #

    How can there be challenges to formal education “in an age of technology”? Does the Minister know the meaning of technology? For those who write with slate pencils, the fountain pen is “technology”.

    Like

  28. Bush Tea July 10, 2010 at 10:31 PM #

    It must be REALLY challenging to be a minister of government and find yourself having to speak so often, to so many people, on so many topics about which you know so little……
    Mr Jones (bless his soul) is a passable primary school teacher (mainly because any male remaining in that profession is highly prized)……..
    ….a fair to moderate football administrator (mainly because football in Barbados is now largely a ‘rabble’ sport – and it takes a special type to run it)
    …..and a less than spectacular ex-union activist.

    So we can all expect that for his Friday speech, he will be scripted the usual line prepared by his civil service handlers. It will be the same drivel that would have been expected from Wood. and the the other education ministers (well – except Mia who used no written script -but remained highly focused on expelling as many men from positions of authority as possible, while installing her own personal agenda….)

    A REAL minister of Education would be able to articulate for Bajans on Friday, clear answers to a number of BASIC questions:…like

    1 – What are we seeking to achieve nationally in education in the long term – and in particular, what is the strategic intent with respect to the educational development of the 80% of our youth whose talents happen NOT to be academics?

    2 – What are the mechanisms through which government currently measures (or intends to measure) the performance of the various agencies involved in education to gauge their usefulness/ effectiveness/ efficiencies …. and why are they secret?

    3 – What EXACTLY can Bajans expect him, as minister- to contribute to improving national education in the next year /two years? – How can this be measured? …and what should be done to him in case of failure…? ….and

    4 – Why is there no conflict of interest in holding positions of Minister of Education as well as president of the Football Association?

    Like

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