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.