Building A Relevant Education System Otherwise On In Life ‘You Gine Ketch Red Hell’

Ronald Jones, Minister of Education and Human Resource also wears the hat of President of the Barbados Football Association

The Michaelmas School Term begins tomorrow and will mean different things to different people. For many Barbadians it will mean leaving home one hour earlier than they have been for the past 8 weeks or so because  traffic woes will revert to causing a migraine.

For BU it will make a concern we have had for about the last 5 years more acute. While many have been focussing on the scarcity of males in the present school system which many attribute to the boys in crisis state. There is another concern that many of our experienced teachers, both male and female, have been making an earlier than planned exit from the teaching service.

It is noteworthy that the Human Resource Development Bill is before the Senate at this time. There has been no strident discussion on the need to strengthened that most noble of professions to date that we are aware. Perhaps this places the issue in its proper perspective. If the government is not making this a priory matter, why should the people care? Then again the government is suppose to serve the people so does it mean the people do not care? A worrying dilemma for a society which has used education as a vehicle for social and economic advancement.

BU is aware that many schools will begin the school term tomorrow short of teachers. Tomorrow the ministry of education will be making calls to many who are on a call list although academically qualified they are untrained nevertheless.  What are the implications for our school children when we create an unsettled environment?  We are already battling  with the curiosity that a coed secondary school system might have created a dynamic which we are unprepared. Now what happens when we have teachers for whom the techniques of early childhood phycology is alien?

What was the output of that National Advisory Committee on Education (NACE) floated last year. Was BU correct in suggesting it is just another Another Meaningless Education Report From NACE. Already the University College of Barbados is three years past its proposed launch date. For a country which flirts its investment in education – more than half billion annually – we are sure lacking a sense of urgency about what we need to do to retrofit a decaying and rapidly irrelevant education system when placed against the need to be globally competitive . Like our housing strategy we appear to believe that erecting concrete is the solution to the problem.

To encourage a dispassionate national conversation about education is like wishing for a Parliament which is not poorakey. Until we mature to the point where we can establish what are the critical success factors we want to establish for our education program over the medium term, we will continue to reap the benefit of a visionless approach to one of the more important planks which has supported national social and economic success.

0 thoughts on “Building A Relevant Education System Otherwise On In Life ‘You Gine Ketch Red Hell’


  1. Their needs to be some change in the schooling system of Barbados, I think we need to implement a trial and error type of system where if something does not work you just change it to something different, eg. Women teachers or co-ed schools, or even lower school upper school, what is the reason for this division? So you can get in long pants? Too much division and not enough about what matters in life thought, things like money management, manners and social skills. I could go on and on but I got to go to the bus stop now catch you when I get home to expand on this.

    Edutec is one thing that comes to mind. Why spend money setting up a computer lab that will be out dated in 3 years when you could put large screens tvs to augment the chalk board, show videos and stuff to the students, and why is it if a 2nd former has 4th form math skills he cant do a 4 form maths class?


  2. Our education system has been on automatic pilot since the 70’s. Neither the B.L.P.or the D.L.P has the thinkers needed to radically and progressively bring the necessary changes to the system. Neither party endorses continuous assessment that will monitor all students, especially at the primary level. They prefer the elitist and unfair Eleven Plus which highlights those with academic skills. We are still stuck in the Harrison College/Queens College syndrome. Both the Polytechnic and the Barbados Community College have been skillfully drawn into the elitist web and no longer carry out the functions for which they were originally intended.
    Unfortunately, when we do wake up , it is going to take a minimum of about twenty or so years to benefit from any meaningful changes to the educational system, to take effect.
    The system is now in a slow but certain march to absolute collapse and or irrelevance.


  3. @William Skinner: “The system is now in a slow but certain march to absolute collapse and or irrelevance.

    I was recently told by more than one person who might reasonably know that there are now more Medical Doctor candidates in the UWI program than the UWI can competently train.

    And definitely more than Barbados can provide jobs for.

    (The “Hmmmm….” is implicit.)


  4. Both parties have made token contributions to the education system in Barbados, like the rest of the civil service, many of the workers are just biting time until the nearest opportunity comes along for them to retire. Unfortunately many of the modern teachers are at school to teach a subject not a child, and there is where most of the problem comes with the boys, their concentration level at that stage of their lives is shorter than the girls, so the boys are left behind. Gradually we would see a downgrading of our education system because of the lack of dedicated teachers.


    • Does anyone believe this current crop of politicians have the balls to make changes to our system of education?

      They know what they have but where is the leadership to direct us where we need to go?


  5. @BU.David… With respect, you are now sounding a bit like the “other BB blog”.

    Should we here in Bim “Ping-Pong” forever?

    Or should we solve some real problems?

    It is, at the end of the day, up to us.


    • @Chris

      This a big problem because unless we see leadership and the public stops making this a partisan affair, we will go around the mulberry bush on this one.

      Did you read Bush Tea’s submission linked to this blog?

      Hell people prefer to read about Wickham and religion.

      Shows you where our interests and priorities are located.


  6. @BU.David: “This a big problem because unless we see leadership and the public stops making this a partisan affair, we will go around the mulberry bush on this one.

    So, just to be clear, what you are saying is that unless Bajans are told what to do they won’t do it for themselves?


  7. @David: “Whenever we have a cycle that is vicious we will have to intervene with a force that is disruptive.

    Please forgive me for this, but Fornicate Over (FO means different things to different people).

    Please stop trying to apologize for your inaction and/or ineptitude…

    …and get the job done.

    Again, this game is being played against your advantage.

    But it is being played….


  8. @David: “Unfortunately it is what it is.

    Bovine Excrement.

    It is how it has been designed.

    @David: “The kind of society we want to build will drive the design of the education system we want.

    Would it not mostly go the other way?

    The kind of society we hope for in the future is a function of the design of the society (including the educational system) we build now?


  9. “Ronald Jones, Minister of Education and Human Resource also wears the hat of President of the Barbados Football Association”

    Says it all.

    God help Barbados


  10. @Chris

    There must be some conceptual framework that guides the education system. Where are we trying to get to? Education drives it all, a learning society if you will.


  11. So I have been thinking about the education system in Barbados and it seems to me that education is not the primary objective.
    What is the reason for the education system in Barbados?
    It is a mechanism to implement social division, most of the criminals are old school mates and most of the ceo’s are school friends as well, this system has been design to teach you your “place in life” it was needed in the beginning when we were setting up a Barbadian society but as we are growing / advancing we need to adapt. I am sure you all can agree with me and if not please tell me why I am wrong.
    Do we want a society where your place in life is bestowed upon you not by your actual worth but by which school you go to?
    It’s time to admit that the school system needs some updating, for one I think the uniforms should be the same for junior and senior alike. That is the first most obvious change I would make, for the sake of removing division.


  12. Good discourse guys

    The Prince explains alot of where/why our leadership are the way they are. Also explains why nothing of substance that would radically alter society for the “good of all” will come from such leadership. Change will only come with “force” from below.Any notion of collaboration before policy is implemented is tokenism and PR. At the end of the day most policy is seen in a strictly economic cost-benefit light. To bring social, real life details to the table is asking too much for persons who have not been challenged to think beyond what they have been taught or told to think.

    @ready done.
    The purpose of the system is a little more complex than just determining place in life. It’s “supposed” to feed the economy, the society and their needs while simultaneously providing for individual growth, development and choice. Sadly only the former reasons have been utilised over the years and attempts at the latter have been half baked and poorly articulated and implemented, thus all that has happened is that the status quo has remained the same, purpose;y so too in my honest opinion.

    @Chris
    Who should determine, articulate and/or promote the kind of society we hope for in the future?


  13. Is the education system producing what is needed to feed our economy?

    I keep hearing that our economy is based on tourism, are the certificates being handed out reflecting this? What tourism related cxc subjects are they if any?


  14. I have the biggest joke, that is making everyone laugh. Imagine the Mins of Ed had a trained person who was getting results with children with learning or literacy difficulties. One day they move that person and send them to teach P.E. I heard this from a friend and only thing I didn’t do was to curse.


  15. @David

    In the current issue of Science there is an article which describes the benefits of co-ed schools and since many here decry the value of coeducation and portray the mixing of the sexes in the classroom in a negative light I thought that it would be a good idea to acquaint some of the readers of the findings.

    The attachment is a summary release as access to the article is restricted.

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/ps-ssi092111.php

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