Of concern to the BU household are the increasing number of hours being forfeited in the school year for one reason or the other in Barbados. Combermere Secondary School students have been the most visible example of being short changed because of a perennial environmental problem. Other schools have had to close classrooms because of the severe water management problem the country has experienced since December 2015. Somewhere between the environmental and water problems other issues have forced schools to close doors as well –industrial action comes to mind.
The obvious concern for stakeholders, especially parents, is how are students being affected by the short in class room time. As far as the BU household is aware there is no contingency to -or apparent urgency- to establish makeup classes. The BU household will retract if proved to be incorrect.
IF Barbados is serious about building a more productive society we must change the way we respond to situations that negatively affect goals (national). If schools have to be closed for extended periods commonsense should dictate that the ministry of education ensure continuity planning is legislated.
The BU household does not have the expertise in the area of testing, measurement and assessment and related matter, however, commonsense supports a reasonable expectation that the technocrats have calculated the number of hours required to execute the subjects in the local curriculum. What would be the result if a simple risk management exercise were applied to evaluate the effect loss of teaching hours so far have had on the school population?
Several weeks after the Combermere Secondary School was closed by the ministry of education there has been no decision to reopen. In fact, the latest news is that the senior school (5th and 6th forms) will have to report to classes at Erdiston Training College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic from Monday next week. The length of time it is taking to reopen the school rubbishes headmaster Vere Parris assertion that a sewer cover was left opened because of an act of sabotage. Too much politics!
BU’s simple recommendation is that an agreed number of teaching hours must be available to students. If hours are missed through no fault of the students makeup hours must be factored into the timetable. The extra time can be taken from vacation days or extra periods during the week.
What BU has recommended is not novel neither is it rocket science –we expect resistance to the commonsense suggestion. Bear in mind the use of available technology can make implementation a simple exercise.