Barbados Community College (BCC) Standards Plummet

Submitted by Neil Watchman

The Barbados Community College has managed to gain a meagre two scholarships of the total of 45 scholarships and exhibitions awarded. Not surprising, since the Minister of Education has made it clear by his periodic mouthings, that the Sixth Form School is the way to go.  Of course, the big winner is the Caribbean Examination Council, whose CAPE exams these sixth form students will be preparing.  Good for them and their parents.

In the meantime, the BCC has been limping along, neglected and for evermore under-resourced even in good financial times. Its main asset has been its dedicated teachers who have given beyond the call of duty.   Not the same, though with its senior administration (Principal, Deputy principal and Registrar) which, with a mix of appointees by seniority and political affiliation, has yet to constitute a stable, competent team to handle the running of the institution.  We are told that the College is currently without a principal as Dr. Austin, who was appointed some eighteen months ago, has not sought reappointment.  In other words, folks; the College has gone through two principals in as many years.

In 2016, the institution applied to the Barbados Accreditation Council for registration. We understood that this is the phase that precedes accreditation. Members of the public, I am sure, will be surprised to learn that the BCC is not an accredited tertiary institution; for all its fifty or so years of contributing to the higher education, it has not yet met muster.

Added to this, powers in the Ministry of Education, for various reasons, have always treated the BCC as a second-class academic tertiary institution after UWI.  That is, until now that university fees have increased prohibitively putting the vision of “a graduate in each household” in jeopardy.

We believe that blame for this state of affairs can be laid fairly and squarely on back of the series of lame-duck Principals and Deputy Principals that have been appointed over time; people without any management training to speak; people who simply administered the system but had no vision of where it could and should go.   The last two Boards under Stephen Broome hired a number of top level staff including a Building and Facilities Manager, a Human Resources Manager and a Chief of Security.  As a local visitor to Carifesta, you cannot help but notice the new signage and new toilet facilities.   Kudos to Building and Facilities.

But the governance system has not kept pace with the physical improvements.  Sources indicate that the Human Resources Manager position has turned over twice in the last three to five years, the most recent resignation being effective earlier this month.

Of greater concern is academic governance which is in such a state of affairs, that the Barbados Accreditation Council, we have been told, has granted the institution a one year registration rather than the normal three year period.

We have also learned that several factors contribute to this state of affairs. One of the most crucial, that could go some way in explaining the dismal performance on Barbados Scholarships this year, is the downward adjustment of its grading system.  According to the BCC Student Handbook, which until recently was available online, the institution moved its pass mark from 50% to 45% in 2011. To my mind this is a backward step but one which was evidently okayed by the Board of Management which can hardly be expected to do better, given that it is virtually a one-man affair.

We are also learning that the College has made its provisions for so-called supplemental exams so generous that all a student has to do is earn about 40% to be eligible.  Also, if the student has missed a final examination, he or she can also “do a sup” as the students like to say.  There are no controls over, for example, on whether a student missed an examination for valid reasons, such as illness; once the student finds a sympathetic ear, he or she can find a Tutor or a Senior Tutor and command a supplemental examination.

So, if you are looking for a good reason why the BCC’s performance in the recent scholarships has been so dismal, look no further than the state of their academic governance.

As a tax paying parent and a past student of the BCC, I find it hard believe that it has sunk to this state and apparently is still sinking, if the reports coming out of  the institution are anything to go by.  The impression we get is that academic discipline and student behaviour have been at an all-time low. Reports of drug use and general uncouthness to tutors have also been on the increase over the last year or two.

Perhaps the BCC is ripe for investigation by an independent commission so that tax payers can get some feel for how their ever increasing tax dollar is being spent at this institution. Until the BCC gets its house in order, parents are perhaps better off sending their children to Dr. Browne’s Sixth Form College or one of the increasing number of sixth form schools that our good friend, Mr. Ronald Jones, has set up.

72 thoughts on “Barbados Community College (BCC) Standards Plummet

  1. The BCC used to get the lion share of scholarships and exhibitions. Students from sixth form schools left to go to BCC as they thought it was easier to attain a scholarship. As sixth form students struggled to cope with CAPE, principals began to complain to the ministry as BCC got the glory when their students won scholarships.

    Another thing that the principals complained about was that BCC students were able to write over exams in order to qualify. One year the BCC got the lion share of scholarships. In a move to appease the principals, the ministry changed the GPA requirements for a scholarship. Since then the BCC has been struggling to get even one scholarship.

    It does not help that BCC has gone down hill since the last principal left despite his pitfalls……neither does having the same chairman for all these years help as there are many complaints about his leadership.

  2. Did anyone read Stephen Lashley’s comments in BT where he said that it is not Barbados’ fault that things have gone so wrong with Carifesta?

    Can someone, anyone tell this man that this event is being held in Barbados and that it is his responsibilty to make sure everything was planned properly.

    If everything was going smoothly, he would be upfront taking all the glory.

    He has to admit that they bit off more than they can chew……it was a dumb idea to host Carifesta weeks after Crop Over.

  3. I wonder why fellows laugh about BCC. It is totally sufficient for this country, given the current status of economic progress. You do not need a university degree to serve at Apes Hill Plantation or Sandals Plantation, washing COW´s or Butch´s feet.

  4. @Neil Watchman “Members of the public, I am sure, will be surprised to learn that the BCC is not an accredited tertiary institution; for all its fifty or so years of contributing to the higher education, it has not yet met muster.”

    This statement is mischievous and mis-leading.

    Since the The Barbados Accreditation Council was only established in 2004 it is mischievou s and mis-leadingto to say that BCC “for all its fifty or so years of contributing to higher education, it has not yet met muster” and in any event accreditation is a voluntary process . An institution applies for accreditation when it feels ready to do so, so it is not a matter of not meeting muster, and it certainly can’t be that it has failed to make muster for 50 ears when the accreditation council is only 13 years old.

    Simple Simon, who knows more that a little bit about accreditation.

  5. @Prodigal Son August 24, 2017 at 9:27 PM “The BCC used to get the lion share of scholarships and exhibitions…One year the BCC got the lion share of scholarships. ”

    Dear Prodigal: So which is it?

    “The BCC used to get the lion share of scholarships and exhibitions”


    “ONE year the BCC got the lion share of scholarships.”

  6. @Prodigal Son August 24, 2017 at 9:27 PM “It does not help that BCC has gone down hill since the last principal left.”

    I agree.

    The death of Registrar Syd Arthur was a great loss as well.

    I suspect that there has been some political shenanigans at the College recently.

  7. @”if the student has missed a final examination, he or she can also “do a sup” as the students like to say. There are no controls over, for example, on whether a student missed an examination for valid reasons, such as illness.”

    So how does one determine if an illness is real or fake?

    I suppose BCC can ask students to bring a “sick certificate” but I can bet you that if they do those certificates will reflect genuine illnesses, just as the sick certificates submitted by parents to the NIS reflect genuine illnesses.


  8. All is not that well with CXC either. From the Trinidad Newsday,248003.html

    Concern over CXC re-marking process

    SEAN DOUGLAS Monday, August 21 2017

    PUPILS who query their marks in the recent Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) could end up being short-changed, according to a retired teacher.

    Also a concerned parent, the retired teacher who maintains very close links with former colleagues, told Newsday of changes made last year by the CXC which could undermine pupil queries. She said unlike in past years when a query would be handled by the CXC completely re-marking the pupil’s exam scripts, as of last year and continuing this year the CXC no longer performs a full and fresh evaluation but rather merely does a tally of marks awarded for the different sections to ensure the numbers were correctly added.

    In past years, if a review found errors in the original tallying of marks, this would lead to an automatic full re-evaluation of the exam script, she said. She said this change was the subject of a circular sent from the CXC to the Ministry of Education and then to school principals in April 2016.

    “The query process is now that they just add up your marks. You still pay your 30 Barbados dollars, but just for a tally.” She said she’s not sure many parents know of these changes, but there is a lot of concern among teachers.

    The parent said in the past, the CXC had found when requests for a re-marking were made by pupils, only 15 per cent of re-evaluations ever resulted in a fresh mark being awarded.

    “Maybe they felt it was a waste of time,” she said. “And maybe the change is part of their cost-cutting measures.” She said she was unsure if CXC now has an option for a pupil to pay a bit more to get a full evaluation done on their script.

    The parent also expressed concern that pupils may be further disadvantaged by the CXC’s new e-marking of exam scripts. She said, previously teachers would go to marking centres such as in Barbados where they would cluster around tables and mark papers according to a supplied rubric or model answers, but in a spirit of interaction and collaboration that benefitted pupils. “If the markers found a trend that pupils were all interpreting a question in a particular way (different to the model answer), they would discuss it and perhaps say, ‘let’s give a mark for this’. This would lead to consistency.

    “However now it is all digitally marked by each marker at home with the rubric but without much collaboration.” Education Minister Anthony Garcia told Newdsay he had heard of these concerns and will discuss all such matters when he meets schools principals this week. “If there is any validy, we’ll decide what to do,” he said. Garcia said the CXC is a prominent regional body whose integrity must be maintained, even if challenges must be overcome. Newsday could not reach CXC assistant registrar – public information and customer services Cleveland Sam for a response to these concerns.

  9. More schools ungraded in CXC blunder, Redman says
    Added by Colville Mounsey on August 24, 2017.

    While the attention was on Combermere School, President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman is charging that students from other schools also had their school-based assessment (SBA) projects ungraded by the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

    A local media report had yesterday presented Combermere students as being in tears because SBAs from the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination business management class and a Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate geography class had not been graded.

    One student appeared to blame the school, stating that while there was a problem regarding the teachers and the running of the school, he did not think it would have affected the students’ results.

    Redman, who yesterday told Barbados TODAY the CXC had committed a major blunder, today revealed that students from at least two other secondary schools here, as well as schools in St Lucia, had suffered a similar fate.

    “This is not the first time that incidents like this have occurred with the CXC, they have done this with various subjects in various schools repeatedly. This year, Combermere is not the only school with this problem and I don’t understand why the focus was on Combermere School. Reports reaching the union indicate that the St Michael School had students receiving ungraded for environmental studies at CAPE [Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination] and the Minister [of Education] himself was at pains to point out that there were no problems with the marking of SBA’s. So, therefore, it can’t be the teachers,” said Redman, who also pointed that St Michael School students were ungraded for Caribbean Studies.

    The BSTU president further disclosed that even after a glitch in the CXC system had forced teachers to twice submit the SBA marks for a Principles of Business class, the entire class was ungraded for their projects.

    “At Springer Memorial some Agricultural Science students suffered a similar fate and I understand today from a colleague that St Lucia has issues with CXC results in Information Technology and other subject areas,” the union boss said, while accusing the regional examination body of playing “fast and loose” with children’s education.

    “The union is saying that these types of occurrences are happening too frequently across the system. I remember a few years ago every single student in Barbados doing Art received an ungraded mark. Where are the checks and balances at CXC when red flags like this arise in this computerized state of the art facility of which they boast and operate,” the teachers’ rights advocate stressed, while lamenting that it would cost parents to challenge their children’s marks.

    “Normally it takes just minimal investigations to produce reversals and amend such results. CXC is too quick to issue ungraded results and the Ministry of Education has to take the lead to protect Barbadian students in these circumstances. Our Government spends too much money with CXC for this to inefficiency to continues,” she argued.

  10. Bajan Free Party/CUP-PCP.Violet Beckles Plantation Deeds from 1926-2017 land tax bills and no Deeds,BLPand DLP Massive land Fruad and PONZI on said:

    You ALL were warned, Take it and Shut up, More Pain and Death to come, Keep helping your Masters and their paid Slaves to keep giving you all Shit, Have some salt, Think Think think use your God given Heads with Barins and Study what you turn your backs from, History can never be changed, Its the Key to All things, Pick up a BOOK, Google Seek , Nothing but a set of Ph.D., Md, Sir, Pimps. none of you cant plays this shit in no other Nations. Call your Nation pimp paper or go on CBC and support these 60 top crooks in Barbados so the World can see your hidden faces, Jack asses for Life till DEATH, History Will never forget you all unless David BU remove this site, They need to fail History for its nothing but lies,You All better study the land , When done you all wil know where We stand in pain and lies,


    Fri, 08/25/2017 – 12:00am Barbados1
    The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is not in the business of failing their students.
    This is according to Cleveland Sam, assistant registrar of public information and customer service with the CXC, who spoke with the media yesterday morning.
    “CXC does not do anything to disadvantage the student; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. We try to put mechanisms in place so that students can gain the grade. There’s also an appeal process if students feel like they have been aggrieved or wrongfully given a grade that they do not deserve,” he said.
    Alluding to the issue at a secondary school where students recently received ‘ungraded’ marks, Sam explained that when CXC gives students this result it means that one of the components of the examination has not been received by CXC.
    “There’s a Paper 1, which is a multiple choice, a Paper 2, which is the structured, answered questions and the SBAs [School-Based Assessments]. If the SBA component of the examination has not been received by CXC, then the student is given ‘ungraded’,” he said.
    He expressed that this could have happened for various reasons, either the students may have done the SBA and the school may not have submitted it; or the school may have submitted the SBA and it was not received by CXC. He assured that once this was established, CXC, along with the local registrar, in this case Barbados, would investigate the matter to see where the SBA is and whether it was done. He added that if the SBA was done, it will be graded and the student will be given the grade as this was “the general policy in relation to students receiving ungraded”.
    “We are not in the business of failing students, or making students’ lives miserable, we want them to succeed and achieve. And hence, this is why we’ve put various mechanisms in place to ensure that the students are not disadvantaged. So once the investigation is completed and CXC finds out that the student is not at fault or the student would have done his or her work and it was submitted, we would try our best to ensure that the student receives a grade,” he assured.

  12. Bajan Free Party/CUP-PCP.Violet Beckles Plantation Deeds from 1926-2017 land tax bills and no Deeds,BLPand DLP Massive land Fruad and PONZI on said:

    Long talk and Dogma please dont Dog Ma,

  13. Nice words from Mr Sam. What else would he say?

    He needs to explain why the results were released a week late and why the marking period went on two weeks longer than initially scheduled.

    He needs to respond to reports that for some subjects there were insufficient markers and that many markers were inexperienced as markers and even as teachers. Some markers did not even teach the subject they were marking or at the level of the examination e.g CAPE.

    He needs to refute reports that teachers were asked to mark scripts the day before the results were released to students yet grades had been sent to the ministry three days before!

    He needs to refute reports that there are still unmarked scripts and that predicted grades were used to assign final grades.

    He needs to assure students that a query of grades will involve more than a simple tally of marks awarded.

    He needs to explain why an ungraded result was assigned even though the SBA sample was sent to CXC electronically but CXC markers could not open the files yet CXC made no effort to get the school to resend the SBA sample files. The VOB news is reporting that ungraded results have been received by students at 5 schools in Barbados!

    I challenge CXC to subject its examinations, marking schemes and script marking to independent external scrutiny.

    However I expect this concern to be another 9 day wonder until next year when the problems reoccur again.

  14. @Simple Simon. Could you explain this, then? With hundreds of accreditation bodies across the world, why would the administration of a college would wait 37 years (50 -13) for the government to tell it to get accredited? A proactive administration that understands about strategy and with an eye on competing globally would not have been in this position. The local accreditation would then have been icing on the cake. You see Simple Simon, it is never so simple! You don’t have to be mischievous! In addition to general education, managers need managerial training, an aptitude for management and a healthy dose of common sense. These seem to have been absent from the BCC . In other words, square pegs in round roles all the time…with no end in sight. Let’s hope the next principal is from outside BCC and has the required qualities. With an election in the offing, I am not very optimistic!

  15. @enuff. Now you see this answer you give; that would get you a failing grade at the BCC. I giving you….38%. Nuh supplemental for you!

  16. CXC is a complete waste of time, money, space and resources.
    Always has been …and Bushie has been preaching this from its inception.

    CXC is one of the mistakes made by Arthur in his quest to set up some kinda “Caribbean kingdom” under CSME….. lotta shiite.

    One of the FEW THINGS that should NEVER be insular in the modern world (where borders are disappearing and everyone is next door)….. is the establishment of educational standards.

    Any idiot can set up his own school and declare himself to be ‘Professor Doctor Low’, BTTP, MBBBB, BSd. …. or whatever….
    It don’t mean squat…. particularly when none of them can get a senior job in their OWN LOCAL businesses and damn way….

    For a few measles dollars per script, we COULD have continued having our students professionally graded by world class international institutions – while spending scarce resources in ensuring that they INDEED outperformed the best students anywhere….

    …but then these huge collection of parasites who don’t want to do and REAL work in teaching would be unable to enjoy the lotta perks they have …ain’t it??!!….

    Lotta lotta shiite!!!

  17. With the focus on BCC,Combermere School need to be properly scrutinized as the biggest let down in education in Barbados in so far as Barbados Scholarships and Exhibition Awards are concerned.All the hubris,all the boast,all the pomposity,this over rated school has not fulfilled its promise to its students by providing quality teaching staff dedicated to success at the highest academic level.Shame on you teachers.You have failed the Major and his persistent efforts at promoting pride and industry and giving Barbados its national colours.
    One can count Combermere’s failure at Scholarship level by counting the number of awardees over the years.You can count them on one hand.Shame,shame and damn shame.

  18. If the GPA required for a scholarship is now higher, how does this equate to falling standards? What schools were “feeding” BCC the scholarship winners? Are students from the same schools now opting to stay and do 6th Form rather than go to BCC? #justasking

  19. @ enuff
    You playing you don’t know that we measure ‘standards’ by the number of people who ‘pass’.. What GPA what??!
    Bushie is still waiting to hear how these ‘scholarship winners’ have been a benefit to Barbados …to be worth the cost and effort to persists with the nonsense.

    The very last thing this country needs now is another forensic, nano-nuclear, bio-technical analyst.

    How about a ‘scholarship’ for someone who understands decimals, can multiply whole numbers, and has the basic skills needed to be a Minister of fine ants?


  20. How about ‘scholarships’ for those wanting to study technical disciplines that would prepare

    them to work in emerging industries in Barbados.

    Alternative energy ( Solar, Wind turbines ) and INDUSTRIAL DESIGN.

    Barbados can still continue with their 1960s path of scholarships for Doctors Lawyers and Priests.

  21. Neil Watchman, I have some questions for you.

    What Accreditation agency, board, institution or department is responsible for the accreditation.

    I also want to know what is the criteria set for a learning institution to receive an accreditation award. I ask these questions because I am of the opinion that the Barbados Community College if accredited by a bonafide accreditor, would not have made the grade in the past, and definitely not in the present. Please do not get me wrong, the college has set an excellent standard and provided a sound basis, but it is not a high standard, and it is not a progressive basis. What you highlight as deficiencies in the college is really the level set and established. I will agree that you need persons with vision as well as good educators who are renown at what they do. I do not see a problem with a pass mark set at 45 percent if the work involved is producing a student equipped and prepared to make their mark in the working world with all that they have learnt base on the fact that they have succeeded in courses that were design to produce the best. I just believe that the standard is way below accreditation and that the college has flexed the work load towards producing excellent students to just students who pass and are simply lack lustre.

    The principles and I am sure you do not mean the late Norma Holder, might be construed as square pegs in round holes, but they are managing in very hard times with limited resources, and a political system that is not really think tank material.

  22. Bushie
    Tek yuh time I did building my “argument” but now you mash it up, as my next step was to question the obsession with scholarship winners and ask “where are they now” and how are they contributing.😁

    • @enuff

      Many are know to negate on their bond obligations however those who return we can judge by the lack of leadership in the many spheres of society.

    • Too besides, given our mindset to travel a traditional path why would a scholarship winner study in a discipline that will not take flight in Barbados? Is this a case of chicken and egg debate?

  23. @Bush Tea August 25, you have said on these pages quite repeatedly that you like to mek a lot of sport, whack and talk cow-dung (my word not yours)…. thus I presume your rant on CXC and your position in this debate is your daily anodyne pill of Bushtalk!

    How can you palaver re your neologistic ‘albino-centric’ frivolity and then lambaste Arthur and cohorts for seeking to establish their own examinations council… good Lord of course there are problems but has that stopped our intelligent students from entering UK or other educational institutions and excelling!

    What a biased screed you whack to suit the time of day as the mood catches you… To quote you: “Lotta lotta shiite!!!” Indeed.

    Incidentally, you do not need scholars in the House…you need them to ADVISE those who don’t know their decimals….so what is your point exactly! LOLL.

    @Gabriel re Cawmere, REALLY! Why do people have that school in their craw for donkey years now…..

    Even Cawmerians with their hubris choke in their gullets….despite all that their old scholars have achieved they forever seem to compare themselves to Kolig, QC and Lodge… like Branford Taitt and his crew who seemingly enjoyed the label of the ‘Combermere Mafia’ when several of them held seats in the House…. as if they had finally bested the Kolig boys & QC girls! Madre Mia!!

    In this guise scholarship goes directly to being academically superior and having an aptitude for study particularly as it relates to others and based on a national ranking scale…. but how can we dismiss so cavalierly the broader context that several persons from Combermere, Alleyne, St. Michael’s and others not from the two elite Bajan schools have excelled and been superior to others as their professions and careers developed.

    The critique of the poor management and performance of the current institution is a valid one surely but I refute the assertion that teachers past, whether there or other places have in any way failed the students ….

    @Enuff, and I too am bemused by our scholarship winners….several years ago I made an attempt to research past winners and see where they were now….at the time I could find no record by GIS, Min of Ed or even on the various school websites of a comprehensive or even a cursory list….and of course finding archived Nation/Advocate references are a pot-luck…

    The point is that everyone seems embarrassed or otherwise confounded by the whereabouts and life of Bajan scholarship winners… and frankly I have no idea why they should be.

    Let the scholars scatters to fields afar…ideally they recall from whence they have come and help those with the skills and dedication from this rock….nothing wrong with that. Many will remain also.

  24. What should be of concern to all of us is what Charles Herbert said at the Institute of Charter Accountants lecture held a few days ago.

    In essence he said that the NIS is going broke…………the NIS is at this point holding 1.9 BILLION dollars in useless government paper. This equates about 75% of the NIS funds. In addition the government and its agencies owe NIS 225 MILLION dollars.

    Everyday we hear stories of people complaining that they cannot get claims from NIS. It was revealed that it is now taking up to one year to process sick claims. Can you imagine this?

    Now we know for sure when the resident JA’s were on BU a few days ago saying that we on BU were prediciting that the economy would crash every year since 2013………. now we know why……………they have been draining the NIS.

    The last acturial report had predicted that the fund would run into difficulties in 2024 but the fund has been in difficulty since 2013.

    This is what happens when you put someone like Chris Sinckler who had never run a budget in his life in charge of the economy of a country…………we are truly screwed.

  25. I now understand what the liar meant when he said at the meeting a few Fridays ago when he asked where he was to get money from if not from the increase of the NSRL.

    He said the CBB told him that they cannot print anymore money

    the banks are not lending him

    and the NIS told him that they cannot give him anymore

    So now we know the NIS is broke………

  26. Ping Pong post at 8.45 am is one that needs investigating.
    CXC does get away with bare ignorance every year. How could CAPE results be out and scholarships announced and marking not finished or finished on the same day.
    I have a strong feeling that the files for emarking would not open and they left them out and assigned them ungraded. Remember teachers were marking from home.
    CXC is moving too fast with the technology.They introduced e-marking of scripts and SBAs and January 2018 e-testing multiple choice papers would be done online. Schools cannot even get proper wifi connections to download simple files, you could understand 100 students trying to access online MC questions.

  27. @David

    We don’t even remember our scholarship winners. David Jean-Marie head of the Port formerly of the Transport Board? Charles Herbert, recently called a buffoon on BU? Many are doctors and actuarial scientists but others did engineering, languages etc, I know quite a few to be honest. I am neither for shaming winners or berating schools that haven’t won any or many; because the focus ought to be on what happens after, whether one is a national scholar or not; or residing locally, regionally or internationally. Wuh bout Chevening, Commonwealth, Fulbright and Rhodes scholars, which all require more than academics? Who getting these?

  28. @Prodigal Son August 25, 2017 at 4:19 PM #

    Do not worry. Everything is happening as predicted: NIS broke, devaluation (food and goods 20% more expensive than last June) and shooting all around the island.

    You do not need to be Cassandra to predict that next year NSRL goes up to 20%, exchange fee to 10% and reserves low as 300 millions.

  29. I met some Guyanese ladies today complaining about Barbados and Carifesta……….how disorganised Carifesta is ………………imagine that! Hurts my heart.

  30. Prodigal,

    No wonder. Guyana will be soon a very happy country, given their natural resources offshore.

    I predict that from 2020 on many Barbadians will emigrate to Guyana.

  31. Tron,

    Did you hear the report on VOB news yesterday?…………….Eddy Abed said car dealers said that their sales are down 50% over last year’s figures.

    That one I would ignore as I very well remember that there was a report saying that people were taking the opportunity to change cars ahead of the NSRL increase. So if they bought cars before the increase, car dealers cannot expect people to be buying again.

    Other merchants said that their sales were down 10-15%………so there goes Chris’ chances of cutting the deficit in 9 months………….we are dead!

    The unions better up the thing as from all projections, the NSRL will not yield the results that Fumble and Chris expect……..not that anyone ever believe that would happen……….

  32. @Neil Watchman August 25, 2017 at 8:55 AM “Simple Simon. Could you explain this, then? With hundreds of accreditation bodies across the world, why would the administration of a college would wait 37 years (50 -13) for the government to tell it to get accredited?”

    I am happy to explain.

    The system of accreditation is principally an American system, although other countries are beginning to adopt/adapt to this American type system. And since it is principally an American system these accrediting bodies accredit only colleges and universities which are in their own jurisdiction.

    Legitimate accreditation bodies (and there are plenty of bogus accrediting bodies lol!!!) typically accredit in their own particular geographical location, so you won’t find for example American accrediting bodies accrediting Barbados institutions. These American bodies don’t accredit Oxford or Cambridge, or the Sorbonne or Tsinghua University (China) either. But this does not mean that these universities are not fine institutions. That does not mean of course that the Barbados institutions and Oxford or Cambridge, and the Sorbonne or Tsinghua University (China)are not fine institutions.

    And in any event there is/was no necessity for the government of Barbados to tell BCC to get accredited. And who says that “the government” knows anything about accreditation or even needs to know anything about accreditation. Most accrediting bodes are non-governmental, they are made up principally of academics, college/university administrators and librarians.

  33. Did anyone listen to Justice Carlisle Greaves today on Brasstacks?

    Our Chief Justice and Attorney General would have learnt a lot had they listened!


    Search here and you will find that some of our “big shots” who like to call themselves Dr. This and Dr. That “graduated” from American non-accredited universities, which is the same as not graduating at all.


  35. Prodigal,

    There is no country in history which succeeded in getting back on track just by higher taxes every year. So far we have seen ZERO structural adjustments to the public sector, that is firing at least 10,000 appointed civil servants, erasing at least 75% of all ministries, public enterprises and Barbadians embassies abroad, merging the courts, abolishing the senate plus introduction of fees at QEH and for secondary education.

    One could call that “decolonizing” Barbados from the British past and turning Barbados into a streamlined, smart microstate like Monaco, Liechtenstein or Singapore.

  36. The Barbados Community College has formal articulation agreements with more than a dozen foreign colleges/universities:
    and has signed memoranda of understanding with nearly a dozen more:

    In addition there are many, many foreign institutions which on a case by case basis, and upon application by the student will grant some credit for work successfully completed at BCC. For example two young relatives are furthering their education at X university abroad. One youngster went to a brand name Barbados school up to CAPE the other to one of the other places+BCC. The one who went to BCC received 6 credits for work successfully completed at BCC.

    Of course there is always room for improvement, but please don’t dis BCC. The education which I long ago received at BCC has served me in good stead, and has permitted me throughout my life to earn a decent living.

  37. I never understood why this government thought it necessary to open an embassy in China at a time when they were told that a world recession was coming.

    Do we still need a High Commissioner and a deputy in London at this time?

    Do we still need a High Commissioner and a Consul General in Canada at this time?

    Do we still need to have Tony Marshall living off the hog in New York?

    Did it make sense to spilt the BTA into two just to give a dlp stalwart’s daughter a CEO position thus adding more jobs than before?

    Do we need all of these unproductive ministers whose jobs are only part time, prime example the idiot Kellman who spends his day on social media?

    Do we need all of these failed DLP candidates as parliamentary secretaries?

    This government has only itself to blame for the mess they have this country in.

  38. @Tron August 25, 2017 at 10:27 PM “introduction of fees…for secondary education.”

    We tried this before and what happened was that most people did not go beyond elementary school, and most girls had no hope to stepping into a secondary school.

  39. @Prodigal Son August 25, 2017 at 10:51 PM “Do we still need to have Tony Marshall living off the hog in New York?”

    Good questions all at 10:51 PM, but with reference to this articular question you know very well that as soon as the government changes it will be some BLP stalwart “living [high] off the hog in New York?”

    Who you trying to fool?


  40. A little bit more about accreditation:

    Canada: Canada does not have a system of national or regional accreditation.
    Italy: The formal system for accreditation of State University programs in Italy began in 2001.
    Netherlands: The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) is a binational organization formed by treaty in 2003
    Portugal: The Portuguese Agência de Acreditação (state-managed Accreditation Agency) for higher education is, since 2007, responsible for the publication of the national ranking of higher education institutions and degrees.
    Russia: In Russia accreditation/national recognition is directly overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation. Since 1981, Russia has followed the UNESCO international regulations to ensure Russian institutions and international institutions meet high quality standards
    United Kingdom: In the UK it is illegal to offer a qualification that is or might seem to be a UK degree unless the awarding body is a “recognised body” authorised by a Royal Charter or by or under an Act of Parliament to grant degrees, a “listed body” authorised by a recognised body to offer courses leading to a degree from that recognised body, or the qualification is a “recognised award” designated by order of the Secretary of State.
    The United States: The US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (a non-governmental organization) both recognize reputable accrediting bodies for institutions of higher education. They also provide guidelines as well as resources and relevant data regarding these accreditors. Neither the US Department of Education nor the CHEA accredit individual institutions.

  41. @Neil Watchman “Members of the public, I am sure, will be surprised to learn that the BCC is not an accredited tertiary institution; for all its fifty or so years of contributing to the higher education, it has not yet met muster.”

    So this statement is either mischievous or disingenuous.

  42. Bush Tea

    How could you accuse Arthur of CXC when it was first established in the late 1970s or early 1980s?

    I remember sitting CXC subjects in 1981.

    I attended a private school and in those days, unlike my public school counterparts, we had to pay GCE & CXC fees. Unfortunately, CXC ‘s fee was a bit more expensive and many students opted to write GCE.

  43. @ Thomas Lynley
    …so who do you want Bushie to accuse…?
    Arthur was the only person since Barrow and Tom who have actually accomplished anything…good or bad.
    Had he not funded the nonsense (driven by his CSME madness) it would have died a natural death like the rest of the CSME idiocy.

    @ Dribbler
    It is often hard to tell if you are dense ….or just simple.

    It is not self-evident that, in a world that has become a little village, … the way to compete successfully would be to aim to be the VERY BEST that there is ….ANYWHERE?
    NOTHING therefore is as critical as the education, preparation and certification of our children.

    Only an idiot would see benefits – in such circumstances – or setting up your own parochial examination system, while declaring that you are seeking mass graduates (one per household) as your indication of ‘success’.

    LOTTA SHIITE!! …as the current RESULTS attest…!!!

    Success would come from HIGH QUALITY….. quality which can even outdo international standards.
    …and it is only by measuring yourself against INTERNATIONAL standards that you can be sure that you are getting (or not getting) quality.
    Shiite man… even school children get that line of thinking.

    See how many of them go on to do the US college entrance exams?
    See how the same shiite CXC has been copying the Semester system?
    See how they now have a mock copy of the GPA grading system?

    We spend MILLIONS each year to get a ‘poor copy’ of an examination system…. and for what…?

  44. Bush Tea

    Don’t try to be smart by shifting the goal post. Mentioning Arthur funded the shiite is shiite, and you know it.

    Assuming CXC was established in 1980, Arthur became PM 14 years later, in 1994. The council would have already passed through its developmental stages.

    Additionally, CXC is not a Barbados thing, its Caribbean, therefore the Caribbean governments and Guyana are all responsible for financing the Council.

    And speaking of Guyana, that South American country records an excellent pass rate each year, with students passing 11 or 12 subjects at grade one……
    ……….Unheard of in the other Caricom territories.

  45. @ Bush Tea: CXC is vital to our region, if for no other reason than that it is an expression of our independence. That it has made some blunders simply means that there is room for improvement; ditto BCC. I think the techies are ruling CXC. Of course the old computing adage applies: garbage in – garbage out.

  46. Bushie, can you do me (maybe the blog too) a favor and stay with the moot sans the self serving ad hominens!

    In this case tho I am both dense and simple.

    Too dense to understand how “measuring (ourself) against INTERNATIONAL standards” which at a basic level involves things like “the Semester system” and “the GPA grading system” is asserted by you from both sides of your mouth… ONE breath.

    And in the other breath a full throated condemnation of the very aim to match those and other international educatinal standards by developing our own intensive programs.

    Clearly too dense, to be able to decipher that intense logic.

    And definitely too simple to appreciate how we can start to exceed those and other current international norms unless we understand them and build our superior systems over them.

    I certainly agree that “Success would come from HIGH QUALITY”….but iit appears you perceive that Barbados and Bajans who for generations have sipped their educational guidance from the cups of the Brits, Americans or whomever are now an island onto ourselves as a font of educational knowledge on quality.

    How absolutely wonderful !

  47. @Simple Simon

    Thanks for the research. You have to dig a little further, however. It appears that some accreditation bodies are now looking beyond their own jurisdictions, a move which makes strategic sense. See: This particular accreditation body is related to health. The QEH in theory could be accredited by this body. While we are talking here about “educational accreditation”, accreditation is a much wider topic.

    In relation to education, there is institutional accreditation vs. programme accreditation; they are usually obtained in that order. Conceivably therefore, BCC could have any of its programmes e.g. pharmacy accredited by an appropriate non-Barbadian accrediting body.

    The BCC articulation agreements you refer to are clearly not accreditation agreements but are about scholarships. Here is an extract from one that you cited:

    BCC has entered into other MOU – the Canada-CARICOM Leadership Scholarship Programme. The institutions involved in this year’s scholarship applications are:
    • Canadore College
    • Lambton College of Applied Arts & Technology
    • Bow Valley College
    • University of Winnipeg

    How to apply:
    To apply for this type of scholarship, please note:
    • Applications for scholarships are announced each April
    • The College submits the names of students who have expressed an interest in the scholarships following discussions with the relevant Divisional Heads
    • etc

    Somewhere in that memorandum of understanding, but not published, would have to be some agreement on required credits, which credits are linked to the BCC’s grading system. A university or other Community College will first look to see whether grade equivalencies exist e.g. is BCC’s B+ equivalent to their B+. In the case of transfers, it will also ask for course outlines to see whether a course by course exemptions can be granted. Even if BCC were accredited, recipient universities / colleges might still adopt the procedures outlined here.

    We’re not trying to dis BCC or be mischievous (you seem to have a preoccupation with this). I could make the same comment about Bus Tea’s attack on CXC but I see it as a technique for provoking discussion (unless he tells us otherwise). On the contrary we are trying to speak to that “room for improvement” you wrote about. The BCC is paid for out of the public purse and therefore, the public ought to have some insight as to what goes on there and have their say on it, if they choose. This is still a democratic country, the last time I checked.

  48. @Sunshine Sunny Shine
    With respect to Norma Holder, we should let the dead rest in peace. In relation to your question about accreditation, the Barbados Accreditation Council is the accrediting body we should be concerned about here: The first point to notice is that it is a government agency! This is has come out of a wider CARICOM strategy to infuse quality throughout the region and make goods and services internationally competitive. Please look up CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality. I left out the link to speed up posting.

    @Hants. The BCC started as a “sixth form college” under the inspiration of Mr. Erskine Sandiford to provide support for students taking overseas Advanced level exams e.g Cambridge A’Level. Somewhere along the line the BCC started offering it own qualifications e.g. Pharmacy, Paralegal etc. Later the Associate Degree was born. Today it offers Bachelor’s Degrees.

    My concern has to do with lowering of the pass mark on the grading system of the BCC.

    If memory serves me correctly, when the BCC started, its Associated Degree the pass mark was 60% although it was “accepted” that 50% was a pass. This in itself was problematic because it really meant that there were two pass marks! Then it went “officially” you could say, to 50%. Now it is 45%. So was the pass mark too high? Or is it that the quality of the student has become so poor that it needs to be dropped? Both?

    It seems that there is also a regime of supplemental exams so that, in effect, there are two sets of exams each semester. Is this more testimony to the fact that student standards are so poor? Bear in mind that, according to the Student Handbook, a student can only get a max grade of C for a supplemental.

    I have since been told that the institution recently dismissed students whose GPA fell below 1.50 for two consecutive semesters. Other reports would lead us to believe that some students have been sitting tight for some time with GPA’s below 1.00 e.g. 0.08. Where are the standards here?

  49. FI have long thought that something is amiss at the Combermere School other than the current perceived germ warfare.For too many years this institution has produced high quality students who,having left school go on to graduate from myriad universities with flying colours,first class,upper 2nd,masters and doctoral.I posit that the opinion that many,not all of the teachers at the school are cavalier and indifferent in their approach to teaching towards excellence in all things.Leadership is crucial.Political interference is a no-no.Principals must be given unfettered authority to remove square pegs in round holes.There are too many square pegs in round holes at the Combermere School.Send for Major Noott,as it appears since Cammie Tudor did the school a great disservice in 1961 in an apparent rebalancing act for his removal and banishment to Guyana,Combermere has been marking time in its continued failure to reach that measurement of success which results in Barbados Scholarships.

  50. @ Thomas
    In Bushie’s opinion, Without Arthur’s input, CXC would have gone the way of the dodo bird.
    Arthur was a do-er.
    …he just had the wrong priorities.

    Left to others who just talk shiite, it would have been just like the caribbean court, caribbean free trade, Carifesta, and all the other CSME mis-priorities.

    @ Dribbles
    It in NOT possible to dictate to Bushie how to whack…. so forget THAT!!

    What our education system needed was VISIONARY leadership to inspire our children to see themselves to be as good as … or BETTER THAN… children anywhere else in the world.

    To do this, a VISIONARY government would seek out the MOST ESTABLISHED, MOST RECOGNISED, and MOST EFFICIENT examination system that exists ANYWHERE…. and then focus on preparing OUR children to succeed under such a system.

    THAT, boss … is what quality is all about.

    A brass bowl, (on the other hand) creates his OWN examination system, small, frail and shoddy as it MUST be initially; He then spends MILLIONS trying to mimic the already established systems; – while tinkering with shiite initiatives to accommodate the POOR educational standards of the students- who have been NEGLECTED in the whole shiite process.

    We all see where you fit.

    It ONLY makes sense to create our own examination system if it is to be a WORLD CLASS SYSTEM, whose acclaim will reach far and wide – and which will exceed ALREADY ESTABLISHED market players….and which will be cost effective.

    Whereas Bushie would support investing in creating our own food – despite LOWER import cost for foreign food…
    Whereas Bushie would create our OWN BANKS – even though the Canadians do it better…

    The setting of international STANDARDS for our children DEMANDS that we measure against internationally accepted and established benchmarks….

    As you would by now expect of brass bowls, we import shiite food; we get rid of local banks in favour of BETTER quality foreign banks; ….. BUT then we spend money which we DON’T have to CREATE a shiite CXC…. to create our own shiite ‘scholars’…. who mainly do squat!!!

    Brass bowls are AMAZING people…. if indeed we are people…

  51. David, that an interesting thought.

    Without being hyperbolic isn’t it fair to say that any such study can mimick the broader societal demise.

    I pellucidly recall just in the last decade or two when one enterprising entrepreneur had that series called ‘Old School Ties’ (or similar moniker; memory fades) and the massive appeal Waterford had coming out of that exposure.

    But in that same breath of high potential I can simply conflate the crashing sound of deflated hopes with two words: David Thompson.

    Yes a bit over blown but the grist for debate is: as goes into the sewer the “moral fortitude” of former scholars like that luminary PM and folks like Mr Harris – who were integrally and almost inextricably linked to their alma mater- so too goes/went the school.

    We can blame maladmnistration and all that but that school has always been the sum of its parts and the old scholars were always one very big part…. so we can start and most likely end with the absolute break down and nefarious shenanigans of that group and PTA and the overall moral failures of those who were most prominent.

    Truly very unfortunate…. but were there is life there is hope.

  52. Combermere has been specially targeted for devaluation – as has Barbados.
    In both cases, it has been successful.

    Our old systems worked FOR SPECIFIC REASONS…. Visionary leadership.

    Major Noot left like-minded persons in place to succeed him… and to continue his vision.
    Harry Sealy, HD Maynard, Broodhagen, …. and a long list of REALLY special teachers…

    Our ‘Ministry of Eddykashun’ introduced a new methodology of shifting principals and teachers around like pawns in some silly game – which obviously kills any such legacy learnings and any historical commitments to an institution.

    To “solve a problem at Alexandra’s”, for example, the idiot ministry moved teachers from AX to other schools- that had no such problem ….and vice versa.

    Now what do we have….?
    Same problems – different schools.

    Great vision ain’t it??…. we did the same shiite with our politics…. changed from visionary types like Crawford to shiite lawyers, shiite talkers and stink liars……

    BTW…. did the Satan monument now at the Garrison not originate out of Cawmere?

  53. A number of years ago, it was felt that students at BCC could win a scholarship more easily at BCC for a number of reasons. Due to subsequent a change in the grading of courses and the criteria of awarding scholarships a couple years back at this institution, BCC hasnt had much scholarship nor exhibition winners since that change. Didnt the author of this story realise that?

  54. @Kevin. ‘parently not….if you think he really talking ‘bout scholarships! But I got some questions for Neil Watchman.

    @NW. You like you knocking two tings… downgrade of dey pass mark and dey sups or what evah duh call dem at BCC. Tell me if we getting it right: duh lower the pass mark and then giving sups willy nilly, too? Wuh is dey conditions fuh a sup? People does get sups at UWI, too? At overseas colleges and universities? If students in performing at BCC, yuh mean duh in got nuh provision fuh sending duh home?

    Fuhget scholarships! You feel it bad enuff at BCC fuh Standard & More to downgrade dey Associate Degree to a Q rating?

  55. @Standard & Moore. “Tell me if we getting it right: duh lower the pass mark and then giving sups willy nilly, too?”

    That is what I am saying.

    “Wuh is dey conditions fuh a sup?”

    Simply 40 but less than 45%. From what I gather, it does not matter if you did all of your course work or showed interest in the course etc.

    “People does get sups at UWI, too?”

    UWI, like most universities make provisions for an aegrotat degree. It is one awarded if the candidate was unable to attend (usually a final year exam) because of illness. (See UWI also has provision for an oral exam. I know because I was involved in administering one there years ago.

    “At overseas colleges and universities?”

    I have checked the following universities and colleges so far: Western College, Keyano College, McGill, Concordia University, and they all make provision for a supplemental. However, almost without exception, they spell out conditions and treat it as a serious matter. In some cases students have to pay $40 US plus and in at least one case, the medicals submitted by students are scrutinized by the university’s doctor. I have not submitted the links here because that would cause this post to be treated a spam (See BU Comments Policy)

    “If students in performing at BCC, yuh mean duh in got nuh provision fuh sending duh home?”

    Oh no! there is. It is in the Student Handbook. If the student gets a GPA of less than 1.50 for two consecutive semesters he or she is dismissed. I understand that only this semester some students were dismissed but if rumours are anything to go by, some of those dismissed were called back to do a supplemental. It would be interesting to get confirmation of this.

    “You feel it bad enuff at BCC fuh Standard & More to downgrade dey Associate Degree to a Q rating?”

    Depends on what your Q is for. Don’t get me wrong. There is good stuff going on at BCC but it appears that there some elements there, either out of ignorance or sheer stupidity, who do not understand the importance of making students work for their degree.

    Frustrated tutors often complain too many students do not buy textbooks or read anything given to them. It seems as though there are some elements in BCC who do not understand that earning a maximum of a C for a supplemental does not do the student as much good overall as repeating a course and possibly getting an A+.

  56. On 25th August @ 6:03 David posted in this thread, a report by Cara Foster titled: CXC not in business of failing students.

    In that report Mr Cleveland Sam of CXC is quoted as saying “There’s a Paper 1, which is a multiple choice, a Paper 2, which is the structured, answered questions and the SBAs [School-Based Assessments]. If the SBA component of the examination has not been received by CXC, then the student is given ‘ungraded’,”

    On page 4 of today’s edition of Barbados Today, Mr Ronald Jones, Minister of Education, is reported to be saying that the case of ungraded results had nothing to do with SBAs!!

    Well what did cause CXC to issue ungraded results and other spurious results?

    Like much else in Barbados, the standards and reliability of our once excellent education system is slipping. However what is really disturbing is that the citizens are apathetic and unconcerned.

  57. @ Ping Pong
    Like much else in Barbados, the standards and reliability of our once excellent education system is slipping. However what is really disturbing is that the citizens are apathetic and unconcerned.
    Why is that disturbing Boss…?
    Here was Bushie thinking that you understood the concept of brass bowlery….

    Our education was NEVER ‘excellent’.
    It was once ‘on the right track…’

    The citizens are ‘apathetic and unconcerned’ because (like brass bowls) they ‘know not that they know not…”
    ….somewhat like a sheep being taken to market….
    As far as he knows (…or cares) it is just another walk to another pasture….

    What is really, REALLY disturbing …is that we can have someone so reprehensible, undignified, ‘brawlish’, and uncouth for a ‘minister of eddykashun’…..

    Shiite man!!!
    Even a sheep would drive two butts in the donkey of such an oaf….
    But BBBBs are special…

    So the cell phones in school are off again…?
    If these morons cannot decide and execute such minor issues, how can they solve crime…?

  58. So now the SBAS are corrected!

    “When CXC results were released on August 18, entire classes from Combermere, The St Michael, Grantley Adams Memorial and Springer Memorial Schools were left bewildered when they received an ungraded score for their school-based assessments (SBAs).

    “Where we have been given the evidence of the SBAs, those have been marked and the students would have received updated pre-slips through the local registrar,” CXC spokesman Cleveland Sam told the WEEKEND NATION yesterday.

    Sam said the marking would have occurred in recent days but shed no further light on the matter.”

    I am left to speculate that if no intervention was made by the Ministry then those students would have been left with ungraded results.

    Yet all those in charge at CXC will continue along merrily! Will the Ministry of Education strongly request an investigation of CXC and in particular of the online marking process? Will the Ministry stop be so subservient to CXC and assert its status as the agent of the owners of CXC i.e. the people of the Caribbean Community?

    Before Bush Tea chimes in, or are we all really brassbowls?

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