Notes From a Native Son: The Role of Education Policy in Development Part One

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The immediacy of the financial economic crisis facing Barbados is so important that there is a real danger of this single issue crowding out other equally important social and cultural policy initiatives, many of them far more important to the long-term development of the nation and its people. But, for a variety of reasons, including the routine acceptance of mediocrity, politicians, policymakers, parents and education professionals prefer to remain silent about the acceptance of this new normal rather than bite the bullet. Our nation is the poorer for this.

Knowledge-based Society:
For all kinds of reasons previously discussed in this blog, including demography, geographical size and economic limitations, the great opportunity for economic growth in Barbados is to develop a knowledge-based skilfully and prudently economy by utilising our limited resources and human capital to meet this collective goal. However, to do this in any objective and scientific way will mean confronting a number of demanding challenges, such as defining what it is we want to achieve as a society and the extent of the deferred gratification we are prepared to endure.

Advances in technology and the increasing movement of globalisation, even considering the current temporal reversal, means that if small island economies are to remain relevant in a more competitive world, they must invest heavily in survival. At present the dominant model of economic growth is the shift of manufacturing to low-cost economies, with value-creation and expertise providing the growth opportunities  in the more advanced economies, leaving the majority of the other nations in what is called the middle trap. But there are no economic, cultural or religious iron laws of development, nor are there any limits to human imagination and ingenuity. So, for small nations with limited resources, the big challenge is to be inventive and focused in their exploitation of intangible resources and the monetising of those assets. In the current economic race, the poverty and failure of imagination are major handicaps facing our politicians, policymakers and educational institutions. So far, despite spending about 12 per cent of GDP on education, the reality is that a lot of the money is terribly mis-spent.

Restructuring Schools:
The objectives of formal state-backed education to the school-leaving age of 16 should be simple and clear: the creation of first-rate citizens and the transferring of the national culture to another generation. The mechanisms for achieving this should be meeting benchmarks in literacy, numeracy and acceptable standards in social, moral, physical and emotional intelligence and general life skills – the qualities to make ours a better society. Therefore, formal statutory education needs to be based on wider shared social and cultural values, with an underlying desire to improve the rest of society. In the ensuing debate, there should be no sacred cows. Up for discussion should be the existing and other forms of methodologies and ideologies for delivering knowledge, including the didactic, whole-of-class lessons which our great grand parents would recognise. Equally, there is a need for the re-evaluation of the dominant forms of teaching, including focusing in exceptional cases on one-to-one individual attention and other forms of personalised teaching techniques. There is also a need to look at the effectiveness of class sizes and how these impact on learning and classroom behaviour; and the teacher-pupil ratio in infant, primary and secondary schools.
One thing that is clear is that the ideals of mixed ability teaching do not deliver in reality, in that by focusing on the middle group, those at the top and bottom of the ability range can often suffer.

At the bottom the outcome quite often are those school leavers who enter the adult world semi-illiterate at best and in any case functionally illiterate for a modern technological world. And, at the top are the bright and gifted who are left for most of the subject period to fend for themselves and get up to mischief. The result quite often is that they are excluded from class, get in to troubles with the school and welfare authorities and the end result is that unless they are rescued their fate is very much the same as the child at the bottom of the class. In fact it is now part of radical criminology, the epidemiology of criminal activity, is that often the so-called trouble maker in the class room is among the brightest.
To avoid an educational system in which ‘success’ comes from the crowded centre – the comfort zone of the mediocre and unimaginative – is to make provision for those two cohorts, by providing virtual centres of excellence for the brightest and best, a one-to-one tutoring for the weakest, staffed by a squad of floating teachers and coaches.

Once we have dealt with this basic infant and primary framework, the other challenge is that of the curriculum. Here it is important to stress that although a pupil may be gifted and exceptional in a single subject, for example maths, it does not means he will be gifted in all the other subjects. So, it is important that although the girl or boy may be taken out of the ordinary classroom for special tuition, s/he should be returned for normal teaching among her/his classmates. This is important for a normal childhood, including allowing the child to make friends with her/his age group. This being so, the content of the curriculum and the way subjects are taught will determine the future quality of our human capital. Apart from the core subjects, all lessons should be taught bilingually – Spanish/English, given we are situated in the largest Spanish-speaking region in the world. Mandarin and other languages could be taught in secondary schools and in language laboratories.

Delivery of lessons will also be important and the out of date whole of class method should be replaced with child-focused teaching, using electronic I-pads or tablets (or whatever the new development), thereby giving the teachers, heads, parents and authorities an objective method of monitoring and assessing the child’s progress. The menu of non-core subjects should include sports (other than cricket, football and netball), such as swimming, camping, scouting and guiding, introduction to money, road safety and others as relevant.

Secondary Schools:
With a good grounding from infant and primary schools, pupils should enter secondary school at the age of 14 (raising the Secondary school-leaving age to 18) equipped to take full advantage of a top quality early education. It is at this stage that they would be selected for a specialist Secondary school (or junior college), based on their aptitude and performance to date, although this selection method would not be for life. There will be an open door policy for late developers and those with undiscovered potential and abilities. For example, Secondary schools/junior colleges could be organised along the following lines:

School of Fine and Performing Arts

School of Languages

School of Science and Technology

School of Crafts and Skills

School of Sport and Entertainment

School of Administration and Business


Other Non-core Activities:
Apart from the obvious specialisms of the Secondary schools, young people should be offered the greatest number of additional opportunities, especially at a stage in their lives when they are looking for academic, sporting and recreational activities with which they are comfortable. Most of these will involve school and recreational activities such as After-school and Saturday clubs, which would revolve around the parents and schools. For example, a Saturday Club may involve dance and drama, chess, draughts, creative writing, golf, tennis, water polo, fine art, photography, sculpture, music, sailing, pottery – the list is endless.

Any reform of the mandatory educational system in Barbados must include a resolution of the role and authority of head teachers. This is even more import given the behaviour of some trade unions and of the scandal of the Alexandra School. The reforms should be widespread and include freeing experienced heads from the authoritarianism of civil servants and politicians. Headmasters will also become chief executives of their schools, having responsibility for the profit and loss account, reporting to a school board (the board of directors) – made up of representatives of parents, teachers, non-teaching staff, pupils, community groups and an ex-officio ministry officials – which reports to the constituency councils, restricting central government’s control only to a strategic
overview. Heads should have the right to hire and fire, within the framework of
the law and the rules as laid down by the school’s controlling management board.

Analysis and Conclusion:
It is generally conceded that the educational system in Barbados has collapsed. It is no longer what it used to be. About 70 per cent of school leavers are entering the jobs market without any qualifications, drug abuse and violence has reached
epidemic proportions in many of the island’s schools, and the political leaders are in a panic. This state of affairs is more than just another stage in the moral meltdown of a once dynamic, proud and steadfast nation. It is that and more. We are looking in the abyss of a country where the national leaders are wrapping themselves in the rhetoric of progress, especially the development of human capital, while at the same time ignoring the very educational system on which any such development must be built.

To develop a knowledge-based society takes imagination, determination and most of all, a willingness to attract the brightest and best working to work in the sector – from teaching, advertising and marketing to scientists. It means investing a great amount of time and effort in talking to businesses in the region and all over the world, the leaders of new industries and new forms of knowledge, businesses which can bring to Barbados a sustainable competitive advantage. It also means narrow-focusing on those businesses that a small, island economy can support by creating the infrastructure – from office space, to good logistics, getting things in and out of customs with relative ease – such as telecoms, internet, media and entertainment (TIME), industries which are re-organising themselves to face new and unknown challenges.

They are the ideas companies at the cutting edge of the new business models such as television programming, which depend on script-writing, production, actors, marketing, editing, soundtracks, sequencing and the other services. Barbados can easily become the centre of television and film production excellence in the Caribbean, even regional and by 2025 a world-leader in the TIME sector. Barbados can also become a centre of excellence for medical and dental services, if not in research, then in the application of new forms of medical-scientific knowledge to the treatment of patients by developing a dynamic medical and dental tourism sector. Then there are the other services connected with the life sciences – medical devices, from heart monitors to servicing equipment, and healthcare, world-class saleable skills which will act as a magnet to foreign direct investors. This will mean learning from the best, from Houston, Texas, the world leader and Manchester, England, number two, even headhunting some of their young, ambitious scientists and giving them a relative free hand to develop their research. For example, with the use of up-to-date technology, Barbados can become a world leader in cancer diagnosis, pulmonary research and treatment. This will mean re-focusing our education by encouraging young people to study the bio-medical sciences.

In a world of cutting edge nano-technology, with industries working at the frontier of scientific knowledge in chemistry and pharmaceuticals, in Barbados people are still obsessed with establishing a sea-island cotton industry that has been failing for generations. Then there is the digital industry, which is only now in its infancy, and which is predicted to growth by leaps and bounds throughout the 21st century. What these industries need is solid government and a mature legal structure, a friendly fiscal climate and the ability to recruit and retain skilled staff. All this could be achieved, or at least get us on the way, within a time-span of 20 years. There are fourteen Taiwanese-owned industries in the northern English city of Manchester alone, because of the city’s skills base. These firms bring with them a supply chain, from recruitment and advertising agencies, to scientists. It also means managing people differently not the traditional top down command structures, but a more collaborative way of managing talent. These are some of the enormous gaps in our knowledge-based education system.

Barbados should aim to be the first emerging nation to be on the Intelligent Cities Foundation list. The ICF measures things such ass community access to broadband and digital facilities and matching skills. They measure the number of jobs created in these industries and social inclusion. The decentralisation of educational policy will be at the heart of the reform of education with the strategic delivery of that policy. But it goes beyond that. Education policy must also include school accountability, school choice, teaching standards and professionalism, equity and adequacy in teaching, funding, teachers’ remuneration and career progress, training and the status of the profession in the wider society, and, most important of all, the contribution of education to the general development of the society.

None of this is beyond the imagination of our education official and minister Jones. All these are achievable if we could plan beyond the next general election or the colour of the party that introduces such progressive policies.

88 thoughts on “Notes From a Native Son: The Role of Education Policy in Development Part One

  1. Hal Austin@Knowledge-based Society:Curriculum,, here we go
    Good points but not for Barbados , 1st we must know the history of the Island before 1630 and up to 2013, Now you know me already
    We cant go no where and learn the world and other countries and we dont know our own land
    Yes People Plantations , Each school need to start from the earth under the school . Learn each Parish and the Plantations of each ,
    What they produce and so on , Names of the owners and who sold what to who and when , If you dont know where you live , where we came from and to get to where we are today.
    Its seems no one want to talk about home , but stuff our head about other lands where most may never go. Stupid at home ,
    Government just want for you to learn how to make beds and clean bathroom for who ever land at the airport.
    This is home first visitors 2nd ,After they all leave we still have to learn to feed our self from the farm land and earth.
    lets see they put the classes of the Plantations on the Knowledge-based Society:Curriculum, We dear you .
    Barbados will be up all night thinking ,, HOW CAN THEY DO THIS TO US ,? THEY THINK WE YARD FOULS ,

    • Minister Jones has stated that the 11 plus will not be changed soon. What he has not stated is what analysis or empirical data was used to support government’s decision. We are not producing/developing our people for the world of work. Our population skills are not aligned to the needs of the new world and in the process make us competitive.

  2. I entirely agree in the need for a radical rethink.
    The teachers and lecturers are too narrowly educated and can only teach from the book and there is little of practical value they can impart.

    Looking at the Leicester Space Centre which grew out of a teacher’s non-school interest that was taken into Leicester Grammar School and has been instrumental in enhancing the practical skills of the students. It doesn’t stop there, practically minded students can migrate into all branches of science and engineering.

    Manchester University as you have mentioned has been a knowledge hub for decades, turning out top bracket scientists and technologists.

    In this modern age, education is key and more easily available than ever to the world over, look at the efforts
    EdX a non-profit created by Harvard and MIT brings the best of higher education to students of all ages anywhere in the world via the internet with free MOOCs.

    One of your previous blogs mentioned Texas Instruments locating in Barbados negatively, except it’s impossible to believe that a company that spends more annually in providing coffee for their employees worldwide than they ever got in Barbados government grants.

    I also pointed out that a browser search on “Texas Instruments University” reveals a wealth of knowledge and tutorials to be taught in Universities and available free to anyone to download, yet I haven’t seen evidence that University students, graduates or professors avail themselves of this material. If they did, they would turn up in the numerous forums offering their design efforts or seeking help.

    The IPADS and tablets provide very powerful instruments for experiment and learning if there are people mindful of their usefulness.

    I remember a talk at a London Linux conference where one speaker questioned why no one under 18 was allowed in by recounting how a 7 year old kid approached him outside the Atlanta conference and said “Mr Hall, you probably won’t remember me but I submitted a patch to the kernel to fix …… problem”.
    The 7 year old didn’t learn that in school but he was able to submit a critical patch he figured out all on his own.

    The Raspberry Pi is a small cheap computer that is yet very powerful and being rolled out to schools across the UK. The expectation is that 99 of them will lie in some dusty corner but the 1 in 100 that is instrumental in providing those needed programmers, scientists and engineers is well worth the discarded 99 and down the road lessen the dependence on the products of Indian Institutes of Technology with industry reports such as the “Running on Empty” will be a thing of the past.

    Barbados should wake up to it being a technological world and it impacts heavily everything we do wherever we are – in fields such as agriculture, medical and drug research, education, transport, retail and whatever else we do, only limited by our imagination.

    The real question is how to kickstart an interest in what’s happening in the rest of the world and to use the often hated quote I read here – EXPLOIT THE PEOPLE for the good of Barbados as they are the only valuable resource available.
    Surely a better and more fruitful course of action than having them seeking lowly employment overseas or even at home.

    • @Minister Jones

      We continue to invest greater than half billion annually in education YET we have to rely on tourism as our money spinner. Something wrong!

  3. DAVID@ You starting to sound like Plantation Deeds, , That right David , We need no wait for people to get on a plane to live, If another plane never comes to Barbados we still need to live and depend on self , and self help,
    But We need new people to keep the Massive Land Fraud going and VISAs to USA for the people who to smart.
    When everyone learn the PLANTATION THEN we will have people who are free and smart not free and dom.
    The Master plan is what Jones doing , He must go , we glad he show his dum ass early

  4. BU David:
    Something is definitely wrong with the kind of people we elect to lead us.
    One must lead by example.
    The examples we have been seeing of our leaders are not good at all; especially in recent times.
    Our young people are not blind or death.
    We are heading SOUTH very fast, like the climate around us. If nothing is done very quickly to address this situation, I can not foresee anyone being able to change the path we are heading.

  5. Our Educators are holding our children back because some of our Educators can’t go any further. The technology has them running scared because they were too lazy to further their knowledge. Some children are more knowledgeable than some of the dim witted teachers. Many educators are of the piss poor calibre like our MOE Mr Jones. He is a disgrace to the Ministry of Education. He is unable to speak proper English, unable to pronounce words correctly and cannot even string a sentence together. He is a product of the great education system I hear people boasting about. Mediocrity is definitely the standard so keep lowering the bar by hiring third rate Ministers and teachers.

  6. David

    Why is education not a money spinner? Consider how many young people with Degrees following the ‘one in every household’ concept are working as clerks, shop assistants, security guards………or are simply unemployed. A Social Science Degree is a passport to what? A Law Degree is a passport to what – the bread line? The ‘market’ is saturated.

    • It is a new world which requires different skills to drive economic development. What is so difficult to understand about this reality?

  7. What is it about vapid, impotent, specious, self-applied mental titillation that Barbadians find so compelling? Why do we refuse to acknowledge that greed, self-interest, personal ambition and aggrandizement are the most powerful, creative and effective motivators of humans?

  8. Mr. Austin be assured that much of what you are saying here, was in some form ,presented to the Task Force on Unemployment nearly thirty years ago (1987) Furthermore progressive voices in recent contributions to this blog have argued that there can be no reform or restructuring of the economy without reform of the education system. We look forward to Part 2 of your submission.

  9. Do we ever hear the players at the Ministry of Education (including the minister) engaging/promoting the public/key stakeholders in conversions with futuristics in mind?

  10. @ Sid Boyce

    The point about Texas Instruments was that although it employed some of our brightest and best there was no knowledge transfer when they took their sticks and ran off.

    • The question has to be how up to the task were our brightest and best.
      TI is a corporation renowned for the development of its staff, so that doesn’t wash. If they teach skills and their staff are incapable of building on what has been taught it cannot be a fault of TI.

      This is the same corporation that is so happy with the quality of graduates from colleges and Universities in Ireland that they have just embarked on a $4bn US dollar expansion of facilities there.

      Look at the number of high tech companies that set up development centres in Ireland and Singapore – that’s because the high quality talent is available there.

      Google on a recent visit to South Korea reported that a remarkable number of final year High School students could pass the google exams.
      I don’t see any university students from the Caribbean taking part in GSoC (Google Summer of Code) where students are mentored to write code to expand features of existing software or come up with something new and innovative.
      The students have to present their ideas with a clear outline of what they intend to do and where it fits, then their submissions are chosen on merit before each is accepted and their task can officially start.
      Lots of advanced and useful software has resulted form these annual events. What’s more the code they write is open source and so is available to everyone and not locked away as proprietary code owned by Google. The students own the copyright and it’s released under an open source license such that if anyone extends or modifies their code they must make it freely available to everyone.

      Not an hour ago I was reading the UK edition of the Nation where a MIT professor of Barbadian origin on a second visit to London expressed surprise that only 9%, yes 9% of black Caribbean students attained science and technology A level qualifications against 39% Chinese, 30% Asian, 29% white and 29% black Africans. I forget the name of the foundation they have set up to try to improve on that woefully low showing.

      I am not in the least surprised as I have not seen a single person from the West Indies that is involved in any technical development collaborative forum, many of which include participants from across the globe.

      I think we are cursed with probably the highest percentage of technophobes on planet earth.
      I have a cousin in London who constantly is asked to set up new TV’s, etc. for an endless stream of West Indians, so he travels to their homes, reads and follows the instruction booklet and does the setup.
      The latest guy said he couldn’t set it up and neither could his son.

      Another cousin rang him up saying he couldn’t get the new TV working, he didn’t push the power on switch and stood there with the remote expecting something to happen. Power on, no picture – aerial not connected and on and on. This from a guy who worked for London Electric when he first came to England.

      My brother sent a burglar alarm down to Barbados from Florida, the electricians couldn’t figure out how to connect it up after they had laid in the basic wiring.
      On his next time in Barbados my brother got the same wiring diagram out, wired it up and successfully tested it. My brother never had any electrical training but could logically follow the idiot’s guide that’s provided, whereas supposedly qualified electricians could not.

      Too many instances of mental block when it comes to handling technology, suddenly the ability to read, understand and do what the book says becomes elusive.

  11. @ Sid Boyce

    I cannot see the point you are trying to make. I am sure Texas Instruments is a generous employer; it certainly is in Asia. All I was doing was recalling a fact: in the 1960s Texas Instruments came to Barbados and set up shop. They got a five-year tax break and at the end of the tax holiday they left the island.
    This was when the technological industry was in its infancy. After TI closed the former workers were not in a position to continue the business, nor was the government. This is a statement of fact.
    We may argue about the reasons why.


    • Any comments about the fact mid to high networth segment are sending their children to PRIVATE schools in Barbados in growing numbers? Is this a status thing or a lack of confidence in the public primary school system?

    • The point I am trying to make is that they wouldn’t lightly have moved out of Barbados.
      Exact reasons I don’t know as no one has offered any other than that they came, enjoyed the tax break and promptly left.
      The question I would ask
      Was the Barbados arm productive? Meaning if product deadlines and product quality were up to standard.

      They have very agile competitors and very demanding customers across the world and they must at least keep up and if anything stay ahead in order to remain in business and I am sure that is their sole goal wherever they are located.

      I am also sure they weren’t in desperate need of a tax break to the point where they felt an urgent need to move on to the next tax break offered.
      They certainly can’t afford to lag behind, they couldn’t then and they can’t now.

      Since 2009 I have been getting between 2 and 3 newsletters a month from TI to keep me abreast with their latest devices, techniques, applications and design ideas. They now own National Semiconductor who also used to send me details of their latest products.
      Likewise I get bombarded with the latest information from Silicon Labs, Altera, XilinX and others in the same competitive space.

      They run a serious business and they won’t invest another $4bn US dollars in Ireland if they weren’t a serious corporation and Ireland isn’t the only place they expand in.

  12. @ David

    I tried to restrict myself, but you are right. This is part of the corruption of the system.
    In any country, part from Barbados, 70 per cent of pupils leaving school without adequate qualifications would be a crisis. In Barbados it is business as usual.
    The reason is because the wealthy and well-connected do not use the public school system. As a democracy they are free to do this, but equally, if they want to send their children on to university they should be compelled to pay the full tuition cost. By sending their children to fee-paying schools they should automatically exclude themselves from state benefits.
    These are also the people who send their children on to university to study for first degrees in North America and Europe.
    At the same time, we must be careful of faith-based schools. If you send children from the age of five to faith-based schools, often separated by gender, and preach to them that they are special, then at the age of 18, when they are ready to go to UWI, they already know they are special.
    The social fabric of society in a small island is too important to allow this freedom – it is a freedom too far. Ban faith-based schools. We want an integrated society.


    • @Hal

      It is instructive that a significant % of the high performers in the 11+ this year come from the private schools.

  13. @ David

    This is precisely the point. Private education gives an unfair advantage. They should be banned from public exams and not be eligible for Barbados Scholarships.
    This is not a question of envy. If the articulate and well-informed parents exclude themselves from the public education system, it will never improve.
    However, if they become part of the system and see the poor quality of Little Johnny and Mabel’s work, they will be able to challenge the incompetent teachers.
    We need such parents in the system. Not using their money to provide an advantage for their offspring.

    • @Hal

      Some reform is necessary which is why structured discussions and analysis need to be hosted. It must be obvious by now.

  14. @ David
    Barbadian politics is an ideas-free zone. Just read the blogs when anyone puts forward an idea that people do not agree with.
    It is the one-dimensional mind-set created by a system of education based on learning by rote.
    Had the system emphasised critical understanding having rational discussions would be part of the national conversation; but we prefer party-laden yaboo.
    What new ideas for change have come from our minister of education, the man the prime minister thought was doing such a good job he not only re-appointed him, but appointed him for a time as deputy prime minister.
    I am not surprised other Caribbean people are laughing at us.

    • Here is an example of the lethargy and rudderless culture which exist in education. This blog was posted in June 2010.

      Another Meaningless Education Report From NACE
      Posted on June 23, 2010 by David | 178 Comments | Edit
      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:

  15. @ Sid Boyce
    I do not know why they move, nor is that the issue. That would be a policy decision made by the TI board.
    The FACT is that they left Barbados when the tax break came to an end – and there was no noticeable transfer of knowledge and expertise.
    You speculate on things you do not know about, nor do I.

    • I speculate based on the knowledge and insights I have gained in working for 3 such corporations in my 34+ year career.
      I know they provide first class training in all areas of business including sending employees to business colleges to enhance their effectiveness. They care about employee development, keep employees informed on what targets are set and at intervals whether the targets for the year are being met.
      Employees are also subject to annual performance reviews where all is laid bare, bullet by bullet and employees must write their own comments on the review and sign the forms.
      There is a streamlined corporate policy that affects the way the whole corporation is run.
      That’s the only way they can function.
      Non-conforming and under performing staff or units are not kept – it’s a tight ship from top to bottom.
      They don’t keep anyone on board if they don’t perform – CEO’s right down to secretaries are shown the door.

    • It may be nonsense to you and others but I know how these corporations are run whether you believe it or not. You may think you know but IMHO you don’t.

      Running a technology corporation is not the same as a financial services outfit with their voodoo economic theories and practices that send shares this way then that and all over the place.

      To quote Sir Alan Sugar when the headlines said how many hundreds of millions of pounds his company had lost in a day’s stock market trading, he didn’t lose a penny as he didn’t run his companies based on what the stock market said it was worth but on the real assets owned by his companies.
      You may also know that he showed the door to one business consultancy that came in to try to tell him how to run his businesses.

      One Harvard Business School type advised our company to close it’s school saving $9m a year and that the first year’s savings would provide us all with laptops and Computer Based Training. This advice was followed to the letter and in months the school had to be re-established.
      Shuffling figures around in a computer where the logic is based on a fallacy is not real world and we’ve seen the resultant economic melt down it has caused – GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out.

      If you are saying that TI up sticks and left without communicating their decision to the Barbados government and their employee wage slaves, that would have been totally out of character, unless they thought they were dealing with total dead heads with whom they could not communicate.
      In that case, it wouldn’t have been TI’s fault.

      I am sure their decision and reasons had to be communicated to all interested and involved parties. What they had to say may have been so painful that no one there has ever conveyed it to the wider public.

      The silence is deafening and all that has been and is being said is a facile and totally dumb “They came, took the tax free status for 5 years, then they left”. An awful lot must have happened in 5 years.

      When a product hits the market it is already obsolete, the designers learned better ways they could have done it and a new development cycle is started. It’s an iterative process, the more you know the more you realise how little you know, that’s the real world of technology and some of us have been there.

  16. @ David
    You have the stats to support your claim about private outperforming public schools? Six out of the top ten does not necessarily equal out performance. How do the six this year compare with the previous years’ six?

  17. @ David
    If Bajans knew what was happening in the public schools, it would not only be the elite moving to private schools, but anyone who cared about the welfare of their children, and could afford the $$.
    Public schools have become centers for harbouring hoards of civil servants euphemistically called “teachers” who are forced to go there from time to time to ensure their monthly welfare handout.
    If you were able to access statistics on the results that some of them have been getting over the years you probably would not publish these either…you would be too ashamed.
    ….they get promoted none the less (indeed promotion is often seen as the best way of dealing with the unproductive jokers).
    …anything goes..
    Low morale
    Low standards
    High absenteeism
    Low discipline
    No accountability
    No assessment
    …and this is the teachers yuh!!

    Where would you send your child?….
    Wuh even Sir Hilary could see that 🙂

  18. The private school teachers work very hard. Ironically enough, some of them as not as “paper” qualified as some in the public school. Those private school teachers have to earn every cent of their salary. They do not have the luxury of taking time off to go to the courts to collect child maintenance, go to the dentist or going to Price Mart to shop, all during school time and the poor principals cannot say a word to those teachers.

    Some of the teachers in the public schools are unhappy with the level of supercessons taking place/ and have taken place over the last 5 years. Many resort to sick leave, or just do minimum work each day. The CXC results should make interesting reading in August.

  19. Bush Tea , you summed up the feelings of some of the teachers quite well, low morale, high absenteeism etc.Barbados will soon its status in the region as one of the best education system with its high CXC passes. The low morale is not only in the primary schools, but secondary too. If Karen Best , Ronald Jones ans Harry Husbands continue to interfere in the running of schools, then these are the results expected. The money people will pay those same teachers for extra lessons to get ahead of the rest of the population.

  20. @ David
    That’s why I argue that full scale zoning at the secondary level will lead to a similar gravitation towards private secondary schools. Mark my word!!

    @ can’t wait
    Karen Best can’t tell the difference between a proper fitting wig and a mop. What do you expect?

  21. LOL @ Can’t wait
    It is a basic rule.
    Put an idiot in charge of ANYTHING and you can be assured of the inevitable results. Unfortunately, Bajans have this asinine idea that education equals or substitutes for wisdom/ common sense, and we casually put people in leadership positions because “they got papers”….. Brass bowls!!!

    If you educate an idiot (free of cost) all you will get is a big-headed brass bowl idiot. …and such morons could mash up ANYTHING in short order 🙂

  22. Notes From a Native Son: The Role of Education Policy in Development Part One@

    everyone seem to be stuck on Deeds for land I wish you all luck , BFP seem to be slowing down , We hope no one made you stop doing what you have been doing , Time is Up for the crooks and fraud men , Warn all those dealing with land to stop , think , and see what the BLP and DLP has done to our Island and land,
    Buy nothing , look and see for self Clear titles and have a bank in the middle of the deal with insurance , We more deeds , Land Fraud is massive with the land tax department with Mr Forde…. dont loose your money in these hard times ,
    Now lets hope BU dont shy away from the Hard truth of the Matter,
    The Truth is here , People calling us about there DEEDS,

    Let Do this PM and AG and Sink man ,, Lets go DEED for DEED
    Ours are Root and Clear titles , We are at this boiling Point now,,,Let dance, People are not taking this over taxing every year , Time is up PM fraud man you time is up,

  23. @ David
    It never ends.
    Did you watch the Nation Talk back on Sports Thursday night?
    …same basic problem.
    Idiots in charge
    Easy money knocking around
    Piss poor results
    Cover-ups of information and results

    …and a lotta stupid ignorant talk shops.

    One of the panelist call for MORE money…. Ha Ha LOL
    Right now we get NOTHING for $20million per year.
    What do you think will we get for $40million per year under the same lot ?
    …nothing times two! LOL LOL Ha 🙂

  24. @ enuff and Bush Tea
    46 students from private schools will be going to Queens College. I would not be surprise that a similar number, or more, will be going to Crumpton Street.

  25. Sugar quota falling yearly
    Tourism numbers falling daily,
    CXC results falling yearly,
    Hotels closing monthly,
    Layoffs happening weekly,
    Cost of living going up hourly,
    Taxes going up shortly.

    What do we have????

  26. @Bush Tea

    No did not watch Talk Back, waiting on the one which confronts the issues in the Judiciary. Was there conversation about how preparation the next Olympics is coming along?

    Many teachers in the public system are retiring with pleasure.

  27. @ Sid Boyce

    Whatever experience you are quoting it is speculation. You do not know anything about what goes on in a boardroom.
    I speak as someone who works for a FTSE1200 company, reports daily on the leading companies in the world, and have been studying financial economics and policy for over 40 years.
    All this is nonsense. The only fact until there is further evidence is that TI came and left and there was no continuation of the business.

    @ Can’t Wait

    That is why we cannot allow people with money to buy advantage for their children in the important early years.
    As a democracy if parents want to spend that money on fee-paying education, that is fine, but then they should go on to develop their fee-paying secondary schools. But in any case they should be excluded from public scholarships.

    The other issue is that every year the CXC sends full reports on individual schools to the ministry of education. Why don’t they publish these figures so that parents know which schools are succeeding and which are failing and in which subjects.
    Also, the CXC selects a top school every year. Which Barbadian schools have won this? If none, then why not? These are questions for Mr Jones and Stuart the Silent.
    Why is St Joseph’s Convent in St Lucia consistently the top school in the CXC region?

    PEOPLE will go home more and more and we hope they find time to study what they dont teach in schools . The roots of all problem with fraud and the people at the so called top , that will be at the bottom soon.
    Dealing with the nation that needed to corrected and the truth be told ,In Barbados we all have been living a lie , Big LIE and only the truth can make things better. No matter what school grades are, there will be no work when the truth is under our feet.
    Barbados and its people might need to learn on the Bible by staying home to see how things are to be , Ministers in the Church are also crooks , Setting up tents then building churches as they feel they own the land, Crooks sending messages and preaching on stolen or misused land cant to to holy.
    Any thing to bypass the law to get some thing free.Everyone want to be a Minister in the govt or the church , They all will pay the price soon for they all ripping off the people in their minds and pockets.
    Barbados seem to be loosing its SOUL and the DEVIL is in the MIX.
    At the end of the day we all will run to the bottle and stay drunk and hope the truth goes away.
    All of the Problem Barbados face is in the LAND, cause and effect .
    Kensington Plantation 73 acres F. Alleyne, BROAD STREET, OVAL, BAXTERS WHITE PARK ROAD BOTH SIDES.


  29. @ Can’t wait | June 14, 2013 at 8:14 PM |

    We notice that many on this blog-who were vehemently opposed to any proposal of privatizing or outsourcing the delivery of other aspects of socially important services currently performed primarily by the public sector- are now singing the praises to high heavens the benefits and successes of going that alternative ‘private sector’ route.

    There will be no improvement just further deterioration in the quality of public sector educational offerings as long as these “career” politicians who are failures or misfits in other areas of work are allowed to dictate things and micromanage these functions.

    The greater the options given to parents to send their children to private schools at both the primary and secondary levels the greater would be the chances of saving this country’s education system from further deterioration and socially dangerous dislocation.

    The MoE that consumes the largest slice of taxpayers’ money has become a total political football as witnessed from what emanated from the AX inquiry.
    Get the politicians and their political lackeys calling themselves senior bureaucrats from controlling the management of the schools- as Hal Austin suggested- and we would see a marked improvement in standards both in the reduced taxpayers’ funded public sector and an expanding private sector primarily incentivized by income tax breaks and scholarships to the poor but intellectually gifted children.

    Let the MoE and its mandarin just set the standards and occasionally inspect to ensure they are being met. Success will be judged by the outcomes at the secondary and tertiary exams level.

    • @ping pong

      You should not be so dismissive. What about the statement you are prepared to challenge?


      A good addon to Hal’s posit.

  30. “That is why we cannot allow people with money to buy advantage for their children in the important early years.”

    what nonsense.

    “But in any case they should be excluded from public scholarships.”

    more nonsense.

  31. @ Hal Austin | June 15, 2013 at 2:30 AM
    “As a democracy if parents want to spend that money on fee-paying education, that is fine, but then they should go on to develop their fee-paying secondary schools. But in any case they should be excluded from public scholarships.”

    You are being reasonable and morally just here, Hal!
    If these parents can pay good bucks to selfishly set out from early to give their little clones an “early advantage in the elitist educational race” then they can continue to support their charges from their own private resources up to the secondary and tertiary level.

    However, we should be a bit fair and recognize that since those parents who deliberately opt for “privatized” education for their charges they are indeed unwittingly taking some load off the public sector delivery stream and limited resources.

    We must, therefore, offer some incentives to those parents to encourage them to see that the private sector route is indeed the route to go by allowing them to deduct some of the cost of tuition from their tax bills. But this tax deduction must have a reasonable maximum limit and be available to all taxpayers who make contributions to their children or young relatives’ privately-funded and-provided education.

    An alternative private sector educational funding scheme with similar tax incentives (and one, by the way, suggested to the BLP which they subsequently promoted it as one of their fiscal ideas) is that of allowing registered educational plans (REP) as tax deductions similar to the Registered Retirement Savings Plans; but, again, with a maximum upper contribution limit to allow fairness and reasonableness to taxpayers.

    Such a private sector oriented funding scheme (don’t be surprised if the current DLP MoF announces it in his upcoming budget) would also have an added benefit in that it would help stimulate the sagging financial sector and open another market for socially worthwhile savings and insurance products instead of those infamous and dangerously packaged EFPA’s and their greedy family of “pyramidal-type” financial schemes.

    What are you views, Hal?

  32. @ Ping Pong | June 15, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    P P, you just can’t dismiss Hal’s suggestions as “Nonsense”.
    On what grounds are you deeming his recommendations as ‘nonsense’? What are your alternative suggestions to replace the ‘nonsense’ Hal has put on the table?

  33. islandgal246 | June 14, 2013 at 11:22 PM |

    Sugar quota falling yearly
    Tourism numbers falling daily,
    CXC results falling yearly,
    Hotels closing monthly,
    Layoffs happening weekly,
    Cost of living going up hourly,
    Taxes going up shortly.

    What do we have????

    created by our GLORIOUS “recently awakend” Leader
    and Hub ah de Universe!!!
    The ONE and ONLY ( Thanks GOD)

    “FRuendel MUGABE AMhim Dadda”

    proponent of the “dont do what I do ;.jus do what I SAY” ideology
    for running(badly) Piss Pot size Nations anyplace on the globe.
    OH Mr DAVID, we miss you sorely.
    You in your wisdom;
    Fruendel MUGABE Amin Dada’s
    real vocation and put him there.

    A Mr NOBODY named AS SOMEBODY,DEPUTY of NOTHING,but “EMPLOYED”; BUT disposed of.
    ,quietly resting, peacesful and slumbering.
    WHY DID YOU DIE ,BEFORE you took the position from him ?
    Why did you allow this NARCOLEPTIC NOBODY,this DEPUTY DREAMWALKER,
    loose on unsuspecting BARBADOS
    thrash in his Psuedosonambulistic misery, angry at his EARLY awakening,
    BLINDED and Burdened by his unexpected thrust into the DAYLIGHT of Reality!!

    Oh Woe!Oh Woe!

  34. @ David
    “….Was there conversation about how preparation the next Olympics is coming along?”
    Boss, sometimes you does mek REAL sport yuh hear!!? Preparations for that will start in 2015….late…
    The assistant secretary of the Olympics Association said that they will help to strengthen sports federations….(get them to do push-ups?? 🙂 )

    Streaming stopped before the end, but um was pathetic for what was shown….
    Summary – sports will continue to be a waste of $20m per year.

    On Education…
    Why wunna don’t leave Ping Pong though? Wunna hear that that man bright as shiite?
    Ping Pong is right. Which parent is going to do anything other than the VERY BEST that they can afford for their children? …or should?
    Why should a parent be FORCED to downgrade their child’s education so that a shite system can benefit from their resulting frustration….? Hal could be serious?

    If those brass bowls who are stuck in such a poor system do not have the resolve and vision to RAISE their standards to match those DEMONSTRATED by the private schools then their asses deserve the shitty results that they are getting…

    Hal gets caught up in too much sociological theory and idealistic hypotheses.
    Ping Pong knows draft.

    • @Bush Tea

      Nobody is saying a parent should not do the best for their children, the issue is whether the should be encouraged to do so all the way through secondary and tertiary.

  35. David the onus is on Austin to justify his nonsense. I suggest that he should start by explaining the words “we cannot allow”. Who is the “we” and further what is the “advantage” (is it food, housing, mental stimulation, health care, affection, encouragement ?!!!). In Barbados, private schools in and of themselves offer NO academic, affective support, sporting or performing arts advantage over Government schools. These private schools merely facilitate parental anxiety that their children do not mix with those in their estimation deemed “undesirable” or as is increasingly the case, the less than businesslike manner in interacting with parents that has become a feature of some Government schools.

    • @Ping Pong

      Understood but it seems that Hal has always been willing to defend his positions AND it is out of share perspectives that we are able to reconcile positions anyway.

      In summary: The current education system is irrelevant to facilitating Barbados’ competitiveness in the global market. It is financially unsustainable. It should not be whatonly parents want but what are the national priorities additional to what country can afford.

  36. “It should not be whatonly parents want but what are the national priorities additional to what country can afford.”

    WTH?!! What ever Hal has, seems to have infected you too! What do parents want that is at odds with “national priorities” ? Do you understand that the “country” and “parents” are one and the same? The problem here is some pompous buffoons in policy making positions who love the sound of their own voices and who think that making grand sounding “directives” about “national priorities” will result in some improvement or the attainment of some positive outcome. Does anyone remember the over six hour speech in parliament made by Minister Jones on the National Human Resource Strategy Plan? Or the NACE report?

    • @Ping Pong

      Why is it so difficult for you to accept that national priorities can differ when compared to those of individuals? Parents shape individual positions often based on narrow real world experiences which can easily be out of sync with national strategic positions. Those who lead do so because they are expected to bring analysis and esoteric thought to planning.

  37. @ Davidf
    “It should not be whatonly parents want but what are the national priorities additional to what country can afford.”
    True Dat.
    But these are not mutually exclusive demands. High quality education REQUIRES that parents always have the right and ability to choose what is best for their children, while a visionary government has the responsibility to ensure that the overall system is functioning as close as possible to meeting the high quality requirements of everyone, while being in synch with national strategic objectives.

    The problem comes when there is no vision from government, no strategic goals, and an idiot in charge of national policy. Should parent then surrender their right to selfishly seek their own children’s best interest?

    Bushie’s problem is our seeming willingness to try to change everything ELSE except the brass bowls in charge.
    If something does not work as specified, the FIRST thing that should be changed is the brass bowl in charge. FULL STOP……not simple parents seeking to do what they are designed to do….get the best for their children.

  38. @Ping Pong.
    Being REALLY realistic.
    Hal is a Paid hand.
    Needs to create controvesy.
    Otherwise what would we have to “comment” on.
    No comment=No blog
    I enjoy BU.
    Gives the air of “actually doing something”
    Doing what??
    Well that your bag!!

  39. If so called “national strategic decisions” are NOT a synthesis of the “individual” positions of the many citizens then such “national strategic decisions” could ONLY be those of some self opinionated individual and certain to be useless. I would go with “narrow real world experience” over delusional, pie-in-the-sky BS.

    You used the word ‘esoteric’. That was a good choice (probably Freudian in origin). Readers should look up the meaning. You want citizens of a supposed democracy to act on plans made through “esoteric thought”?!

    • @Ping Pong

      No you are misunderstanding the point and your interpretation of democracy can be challenged as well. One only has to be 18 to vote and participate in a democracy, this is the only qualification! What is the compensating factor for the ignorance some will bring to the debate/thinking? History is replete with stories about the role scholars and the learned have played shaping societies.

  40. Actually David, this is a discussion worthy of the halls of any great Learning institution. 🙂
    What constitutes a truly sound democratic strategic decision?

    Is it the esoteric thoughts of a novice government minister (often, the ramblings of an old disgruntled civil servant with more hidden agendas than you can imagine) …?

    Is it the collective rants of mostly uninformed citizens who are generally focused on their own little selfish goals?

    Is it the vision of some appointed GuRu who must be expected to know such things?

    Is it the purview of academics who are comfortable with the procedures surrounding such things?

    Or is it determined by trial and error…like we seem to be doing in Bim….?

    It is actually the challenge of LEADERSHIP.
    The ability to read the collective wishes of citizens, Guide them through communication and education and consensus towards a common acceptable collective position and then implement the policies and goals so decided.

    It is a COMPLEX, unique skill that is so rare, that wise organizations place GREAT resources into seeking out such talent, provides ridiculous remunerations, and get rid of them immediately that it becomes clear that results are not as expected.

    …but not us. We have a system where TRULY TALENTED leaders can never be interested in national leadership because it is beneath them to do so….
    We elect those who are incapable of making the big league, and keep them around until they qualify for their pension – or are able to migrate to some other parasite-type position with the CDB, World bank UN etc.

    Our results are deserved and inevitable.

  41. @ Ping |Pong

    You say my proposals are nonsense, but you are not saying why. What are your objections. If we are to avoid social inequality then we must work together as a society.
    This includes the education of future generations of leaders. For many Barbadians, although I do not agree, Harrison College is the best school in the country. We must examine why. Is it the quality of teachers? Or the facilities? Or does sit attract the best pupils?
    If it is the quality of teachers, then we can bring the other teachers up to grade; if it is the facilities, then we can improve thee in the other schools; and if it is the quality of the pupil intake, then we can work on that. Is it social background (nurture) or nature (biology)?
    The point is that the old First Grade schools have been getting privileged opportunities for longer than most Barbadians have been alive.
    We have had numerous BLP and DLP governments, why haven’t we changed things?
    The issue is that the people who benefit most from this distorted system are the people who make the policy decisions.
    Change it. I suggest minister Jones and his band of supporters go back and study the methods of the late J.O Morris at St Giles, one of our greatest educationalists, who is not recognised for his genius.

    @ Miller

    People who opt out of the system, be it education or health, should have no special taxation dispensation. They are free to opt back in.

  42. @Bush Tea

    The esoteric thoughts of a novice government there is an oxymoron if ever there was one…lol.

    Agree with your last comment. It is a very complex and dynamic ‘system’ which has to be managed by the actors with government the decision maker of last resort obviously. After all this is the system of government we have.

    Knowledge must be shared (24/7) by all and the wisest system finds a way for the best of the best learnings to mesh to influence the roadmap.

  43. Bush Tea nails it:

    “It is actually the challenge of LEADERSHIP.
    The ability to read the collective wishes of citizens, Guide them through communication and education and consensus towards a common acceptable collective position and then implement the policies and goals so decided”.

    There is nothing esoteric in the statement above and its approach to decision making and implementation.

  44. @Hal Austin

    I have NOT commented on your proposals. I have expressed objection to two statements in your comment written in reply to Can’t Wait on June 15 @ 2:30 a.m.

    As you have raised the issue of social inequality, I find it ironic that you should wish to exclude tax paying citizens who pay not only for their children’s schooling but the schooling of others as well from public scholarships.

  45. @Ping Pong

    Maybe we are splitting hairs so let’s make a final point on this particular point.

    Imagine a company which identifies a vision/mission position to propel the business over a stated period. The business plan which will identify the tactics/activities to make it possible are driven by all sources ie. Internal and External to the organisation; consultants in many cases. Some of the tactics/activities therefore will require higher level input.

    Bush Tea has identified a Vision/Mission position but the fun now begins to operationalize and roll-out activities and programs. This is where the esoteric business comes in to play.

  46. Exactly what does Hal mean when he says 70% of the graduates from the school system have no qualifications? can some benchmark for this statement be provided? Whats the evidence for this notion of the collapse of the education system?

    Is there evidence to suggest that students who successful complete O and A levels in say Chemistry, Physics, maths, biology, who are provided with adequate on the job training (as say in germany) lack the knowledge base and skills to function in a high tech environment? If that were so I would be slightly more appreciative of the highly jaundiced argument presented by hal. I think the burden of proof is on hal.

    • Not contradicting anything you wrote but just to give you an idea of what a first rate education system produces that’s probably unmatched my any countries other than Germany, China , Japan, Singapore and North Korea and I’d also like to mention Ireland — read and see why the major corporations from Europe, USA, Australia and Western Europe rush to India every year to grab their graduates.

      I personally know that Orange here in the UK got rid of most of their programmers and replaced them with contractors they bring over from India, providing them with accommodation, transport etc.

      Some weeks ago I read an article on how Western European companies were sidestepping immigration laws to get these guys in.

      Pay attention to the Alumni section towards the end.
      You can see the important and very significant contributions these guys have made to the US economy.

      Very recently Australian high tech companies were bitterly complaining about their government’s intention to make it harder for them to hire these guys to work for them in Australia.

      It’s amazing that Western Europe and the USA prefer to bring these guys in from India rather than adopt a similar model of education.

  47. @Observer

    Hal is correct. Matthew Farley has been saying it for the longest while that 70% of secondary school students in this country leave school without certification. Observer, you need to get close to someone in the school system who can give the real information. Outside of Harrison College and Queen’s College, the other secondary schools’ subject teachers only enter children for the various subjects depending on the perceived ability of the students to pass the CXC examination.

    So for example, there are approximately 160 students in the 5th form of most of the secondary schools , QC and HC will enter everybody to do the subject of choice of the students. At the other schools with the same cohort of students, only 6 might be entered for say Literature, another 10 for Chemistry and so on and so forth. The students who are not entered to do an external examination will just be on a permanent lunch time on the school compound, or spend a bit of time on the road, in the bus-stands etc. This is what Karen Best, Ronald Jones and Harry Husbands should be looking at, how to enhance the system and not putting square pegs in round holes. to the extent that teachers are so disgruntled and do not perform as their counterparts in private schools.

  48. @ Sid Boyce

    I hope that you are not implying in your submission that the countries that you list with these sterling education streaming systems present the panacea for the world because the last time I checked India, with all its premiere programmers that all the premiere ICT companies in first world countries are lobbying their respective government’s for immigration reform and accommodations for, their own back yard is in a mess, overflowing with slums and poverty.

    Your submission subtly suggests that with these education models that are the envy of the world the economies of the countries of origin and the wellbeing of their respective citizens changes overnight which is not the case

    • I think Sid Boyce lives and may be works in a different Britain to me. I wil restrict myself to financial services. Ten years abgo all British fianncial services companies wanted to outsource to India, mainly becauswe of the low cot.
      Howe er, predictably – I wrote about this on a number of occasion – India is a kleptocracy and within a short time there were numerous fraud on people’s accounts. Most companies are now bringing that work back on shore.
      It is the same thing about the two dominant development models in the world – India and China.
      I have said min my notess that the motivation for the two models aree totally different. With China, it is to reclaim its perceived place as the top culture in the world, a position it held for most of the last thousand year, until the rise of mercantilism.
      With India, we are dealing with a culture that is fundamentally corrupt, inward-looking, selfish and will implode on itself. It is now in the beginning of that state.
      Whether it is the micro or macro, India will fail because of India. That is why we have to be more cautious of China.

    • Many of the Indians I know would agree with you about the corruption and deprivation. Stand in line in a queue at Bombay railway station and you’ll see corruption before your own eyes.

      Amidst the muck there are jewels and there is a huge population to draw on. So far the corruption doesn’t seem to be impeding growth and expansion.

      Remember that in Britain and many other so-called first world countries only 2% of the population has been the driver of advancement.

      Even here in Britain we see massive corruption and creeping deprivation – huge corporations paying little tax on their huge earnings, the bedroom tax that caused a woman to commit suicide here in the Midlands, etc.

      China, Russia and almost everywhere there is corruption and where the implosion is likely to happen first, second or third is anyone’s guess as instability is everywhere.

      In the USA, NRON,, The Wall Street scandals, etc. None of it was pretty.

      In Greece the reporter who was jailed for exposing the foreign accounts held by Greece’s richest who refused to pay local tax and the government wasn’t pursuing them.

      The collapse of Cyprus based Greek banks that put Cyprus in financial peril.

      In a nutshell, India and China are on the way up and we are on the way down without a parachute or if we have a parachute it has massive holes.

    • I agree there is abject poverty to be found in India and in China. I have said here in the past that they are probably tens of millions of Chinese living on less than a dollar a day but that still doesn’t deter the Barbados and other Caribbean governments from going to China with begging bowls.

      If the world is depending on China and India for such talent, then there must be some merit to their education systems.
      Those that stay at home and the growing number of returnees are the fuel to propel those countries to world technological leadership.

      Without the drugs that India produces and sells at low cost, Africa, parts of Asia and elsewhere would have nothing to fight the ravages of AIDS.

      In the early 1960’s here in Britain they used to say the Japanese produce cheap rubbish they sell and that the majority of Japanese could live on a bowl of rice a day.

      Fast forward to today where substantial parts of industry in Britain is owned by Japanese and Indian corporations with China coming up fast on the inside. They never saw it coming and they are just waking up to the fact that those countries are not standing still.

  49. .. the Chinese knew and had positioned its citizenry for globalisation and the role education would play in terms of economics and growth . there citizens are a reservoir of knowledge a commodity that develop as well as underdeveloped countries need. no wonder they can march into any and every country without firing a shot,, if Barbados continue to lag in ignorance and not understand the need for education reform in a globalize word . then the country would continue to suffer the wrath of economic effects and slow growth.. the days of dependency are over . ,Now is the time to pass the baton over to or most valuable resource our people and education reform is the only way to do it and necessary .one which is comparable and equal in terms with other countries who knew the secret and value that education would have as a new way of doing business across the world transplant itself… .

    • Hi AC,
      You are mirroring exactly what I told a guy in Texas.
      We fight the wars with the vast sums we borrow from China and the Chinese walk in after us and take over.
      As the old saying goes “These Chinese are clever”.

    • @Bush Tea

      Maybe you have gotten it a little wrong? Maybe EWB thought that by educating our people we would have made the required adjustments along the way to align with being competitive and smart on a global scale.

  50. Steupssss

    The truth is that there are few countries ANYWHERE that has a better fundamental education policy than has Barbados. ANYWHERE!
    What India what?!?
    …been there?
    To bushie, India is the most depressing place on earth. The fact that a small percentage of the population is wealthy (by exploiting the poor miserable masses) justifies nothing…. Nor does the fact that a minute percentage excels in science and information technology.

    The problem with education in Barbados stems from the lack of vision and the piss poor management and administration of what is a REALLY good fundamental system.
    Singapore is better

    …….. not by dint of a fundamentally BETTER education system, but by a MORE INTELLIGENT STRATEGIC FOCUS than ours.
    Where Dipper chose to focus on an ” educated ” population which he then expected to do intelligent things, Lee’s focus was on RESULTS – with education being a FACILITATOR.
    …so whereas Barbados developed this idiotic approach of valuing and paying people based on qualifications, Singapore values and pays based on PERFORMANCE, so education is used in Barbados to collect papers while in Singapore it is a MEANS of being productive.

    EWB miscalculated. If he had asked Bushie, he could have become aware that “education” is NOT an end in itself. An educated Brass Bowl simply becomes a Big headed, conceited Brass Bowl.
    Education is a MEANS towards a MUCH bigger end……even bigger than Singapore’s “Productivity”.

    When we learn to focus on the desired END or ROOT objective, we will find that results are MUCH more in keeping with desired expectations.

    …..or as has been said somewhere before…
    “Seek Ye FIRST the kingdom of heaven, AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED UNTO YOU…”

  51. @ David
    ” Maybe EWB thought that by educating our people we would have made the required adjustments along the way to align with being competitive and smart on a global scale”
    He DID….
    ….he was wrong.
    WE DIDN’T!
    ….which is Bushie’s point.

  52. Here is a great topic for you David.

    The company is trying to take over 24 446 square feet of land which her father bought from Molyneaux Plantation in 1994.

    Read Nationnews.

  53. the fact is that china was isolated from the west because of its communist agenda. suffered economic boycott which contributed to most of its poverty along with countries like india whose religious theology was viewed with skepticism and suspicion by the west and limited them to the amount of financial power the west would give to them not by isolation but by closing off some of their ability to source other markets, another factor which help to bind them in poverty. not to mention corruption…….however with these barriers all but eliminated by the west these countries have an army of people more than enough to leaves a giant financial foot print across the world and makeup for the economical and social losses they people have endured this in part to their govts understanding the value of universal education. Now with globalisation and open and free markets and other countries willing to work alongside them. investors are seeing these these human resources as valuable commodities having the skills and knowledge and answers to a competitive global environment .does Barbados have the human resources to compete on a global market that requires more than a doctor or lawyer

  54. Minister Donville Inniss posed the question an audience today – Is our education system producing critical thinkers? Perhaps he needs to pose the question to the Cabinet.

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