A Proliferation of 6th Forms

Two events occurred in November 2017 to stoke the concern members of the BU household have about the state of education in Barbados. On the 22nd of November news circulated about a fight at The Ellerslie School- recently renamed- between two boys, one reported losing a finger, chopped off with a cutlass and on the 28th November the same school officially launched its 6th Form program.

On the face of it many will agree that increasing 6th form programs on the island shatters a widely held perception about privileged access to 6th form education. For many years 6th form was accessible at the so called older secondary schools. There is nothing wrong with being proud of ones school tie, it becomes an issue if it serves to promote elitism and classism in a country. Let us not forget that registration to do pre-university programs via Barbados Community College (BCC) and Samuel Jackman Presod Polytechnic (SJPP) have been oversubscribed in recent years, a case of the demand being greater than supply. Minister Ronald Jones is on the right track if the objective is to make 6th form access widely available.

What troubles BU though is whether in the race to build a legacy before the next general election Jones and cohorts at the ministry of education are not compromising the standard of education at the newly installed 6th form schools and the wider education system.

If one engages stakeholders in the education system one gets the impression that there is a lack of strategic planning being engaged to ensure that 6th form expansion is effectively implemented to achieve the objective.

  • Are the 6th forms being rolled out based on the zone system for example?
  • Have all of the 6th forms been adequately outfitted with the tools and equipment necessary to optimally deliver the curriculum? There are examples of newly installed 6th form students having to travel to other schools to access lab and other facilities to execute the curriculum.
  • How has the expansion impacted teacher effectiveness at the schools, for example, what is the downside to drastically decreasing the noncontact hours of teachers? Will the management of the school space be adversely impacted? This is important in a school environment where there are concerns about rising deviance. This week the Gabby Scott, Chairman of Foundation School Board expressed concern at the school’s speech day about bad behaviour by school children in the system.
  • How has the rollout of 6th forms by a cash poor government impacted? If some teachers have to deliver classes from 1st to 6th forms, is this the ideal condition?
  • Should the ministry implement a 6th form program at school where the physical plant cannot accommodate the program and consequently there must be ‘floating classes’?
  • Are we happy that with the enrolment number in 6th forms classes at some schools where the numbers are small and a few subjects have had to be eliminated?

To reiterate the point, we have no problem with expanding access to 6th form if done effectively and efficiently and not hurried by a general election timetable.

On a related point about education.

The BU household is appalled at the comment reported in the local press attributed to Minister Ronald Jones that he felt sorry for a father who recently visited the Foundation and Deighton Griffith schools and was arrested and remanded to Dodds after threatening school management with a cutlass.

I know that young man very well and I have never known him to be what he seemed to have demonstrated, so there had to be some catalyst that would have caused that. I think that some of our parents need guidance on how to handle conflict and to him that would have been a conflict. Leaders of schools have to be equipped to bring calm when a person comes hostile.

From those to whom privilege and opportunity are given, we have the right to expect much.”
John Vasconcellos

Is this where we have descended?

62 thoughts on “A Proliferation of 6th Forms

  1. It is generally accepted that some children would require an additional year in the 5th form to complete what is popularly called their CXCs. However, at some of these new 6th form schools, students were shown the door, to accommodate the new 6th form, rather than allow them to complete the second year in 5th form. These children are being disadvantaged so that Jones could get his name on a plaque.

  2. On the face of it many will agree that increasing 6th form programs on the island shatter a widely held perception about privileged access to 6th form education. For many years 6th form was accessible at the so called older secondary schools. There is nothing wrong with being proud of one’s school tie, it becomes an issue if it serves to promote elitism and classism in a country.”


    Interesting comments…………. and I agree with them.

    I applaud government’s policy of increasing the number of 6th form schools in this island.

    As BU correctly mentioned, more 6th forms “shatter a widely held perception about privileged access to” education at that level.

    Unfortunately, levels of “elitism and classism” still exist among parents and students as it relates to education.

    This raises its ugly head during common entrance exam and especially after, when the press highlights the “top boys and girls,” meaning those who passed for Harrison’s College & Queen’s College. Then unsatisfied parents “congregate” at the Ministry of Education, attempting to change the schools their children “passed for.”

    I remember during my school years, many students applied to gain entry to 6th forms at Harrison’s College, Queen’s College, Combermere and Lodge. I also recalled a childhood friend who attended Alexandra, but insists she is a Combermerian, because she spent two years in 6th form there, (which automatically erased the 5 years spent at Alexandra).

    It seems as though these forms were created to accommodate students specifically from the particular school and without taking into consideration students from other schools without 6th forms may want to apply, unless all schools will have 6th forms.

    At Ellerslie, for example, the 6th form student count will be small and as BU suggested, certain subjects may have “to be eliminated.” How many students are prepared to apply to Ellerslie’s 6th form as opposed to “over crowding” HC, QC or BCC? At the end of the day, to some people, it’s not 6th form education that’s important…….. it’s the school where that level of education is acquired.

  3. Having Jones lead our national education policy is EXACTLY as would be your appointing ac to moderate BU, then…..putting a mop on Vincent’s head, and making him her assistant.

    This is all as hopeless as Hastings currently is…..

  4. Unfortunately, levels of “elitism and classism” still exist among parents and students as it relates to education.
    Your point being?
    Obviously there are CLEAR differences between the Jeff Cumberbatch’s and Ping Pong’s of this world ….and the ac’s and Dompy’s…. Call it whatever you like.

    Any education system that FAILS to cater for such DIFFERENCES in talent and CAPABILITIES will have been designed/ modified and led by an IDIOT….. and perhaps advised by Peter W.

    @ Artax….
    Do not jump on a bandwagon just because nuff brass bowls are on board already…
    (Bushi still owes you for those low blows you threw the other day….)

  5. “Caswell Franklyn December 8, 2017 at 6:52 AM #

    “These children are being disadvantaged so that Jones could get his name on a plaque.”


    I have to describe your comments as rubbish because you should know better.

    If Stephen Lashley could be awarded the Gold Crown of Merit for his leadership in planning CARIFESTA, (which is a “one off” event) and for doing a job he is being PAID to perform…………

    …………. surely we should expect Ronald Jones to be among those receiving knighthoods in the Queen’s new year awards for his contribution to education and leadership in creating more 6th form schools.

    • Artax

      You have a penchant for adding apples and oranges and then call the total pears. What the hell does Stephen Lashley getting an independence honour, for doing the permanent secretary’s job, have to do with Ronald Jones indiscriminately rolling out 6th form, without regard to the impact of other children in the schools?

      You have too many chips on your shoulder and they are causing you to become irrational.

      There was no space to accommodate the 6th forms at some of these schools and the Ministry of Education sacrificed children who were not ready to sit CXC exams.

      This type of nonsense has been going on for years, where principals accept athletic students from other secondary schools into six forms, in order to do well at sports. Athletically challenged students from those 6th form schools are then not allowed to return for a second year in 5th form. Jones is merely expanding on that to see his name on plaques.

      Sent from my iPad

  6. The greater question is: What is the real
    purpose of more sixth forms. There is
    nothing to gain here in real terms. Are we
    still he’ll bent on certification or should
    scarce resources be used to produce
    productive citizens armed to find their
    places in the new world economy.
    This is just another extension of an already
    elitist system and once more places
    emphasis on the academically gifted while
    deliberately ignoring the others.
    No wonder then they are “floating”about the
    place . More of the same.

  7. As someone I have discoursed with on several occasions, I can say without apology, Jones is an enemy of brilliant children on the island, he has no regard for their progress or wellbeing, he is a qualified failure as minister of education….he has proven it time and again….

    …….the day he is kicked out of parliament will be a blessing for ALL children on the island.

  8. @ William Skinner December 8, 2017 at 8:04 AM
    “The greater question is: What is the real
    purpose of more sixth forms. There is
    nothing to gain here in real terms. Are we
    still he’ll bent on certification or should
    scarce resources be used to produce
    productive citizens armed to find their
    places in the new world economy…”

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Skins.

    That’s a ‘helicopter’ view of the educational challenges facing Victorian Barbados.

    Why a country, with fast disappearing financial resources, would want to promote and expand such an outdated elitist form of ‘post-secondary’ education?

    Isn’t ICT on the verge of making such format redundant and irrelevant?

    After creating this pool of ‘excess to requirements’ Sixth Form graduates where would they be heading afterwards?

    To apply for an unaffordable place at the UWI to pursue some degree which has little or no relevance to the 21st Century?

    Or would these future graduates be finding themselves on the block equipped with academic and other unmarketable paper qualifications?

    Isn’t this policy at odds with the same Minister’s request to have more babies?

    Educated people do not breed like rabbits to create further parasites on the public welfare system?

    Aren’t there already too many young unemployed people (voluntary idle) in the country which will soon be witnessing a paradigm shift in its employment profile as the offshore financial sector goes up the creek and the low value-added commercial activities of import, ‘store’ and retail begin to contract at a fast rate as access to forex becomes a matter of day-to-day survival and rationing become the order of each business day?

    Where are the future jobs going to come from if Barbados continues to lag behind in many business aspects and skills needed to attract foreign investors or to produce goods and services competitively enough to attract foreign buyers in order to earn forex?

    Why create another segment of ‘mis-educated’ disgruntled, hopeless segment of society to end up as an additional burden on the criminal justice system?

    Why not consider the introduction and/or expansion of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to make young Bajans more internationally marketable and broaden their horizon of opportunities in order to exit the economic hellhole around the corner?

    Here is the perfect opportunity to make better use of ICT instead of it current focus on entertainment and gossip.

  9. William Skinner at 8 :04 PM

    Is there a contradiction between certification and productivity ? For most of us a certification that we have the skills is very necessary. For example we need a certification from the returning Electoral officer that the candidate passed the exam. If we did not do so all kinds of imposters will be climbing the stairs to the House of Assembly.

  10. Examining the issue of expanded sixth form places, I find the education policies confusing.

    Obviously with the lack of jobs for young school leavers we have to expand institutions that will expand their school base skills while giving them an opportunity to mature and learn responsibility. Those extra two years of guidance have in the past enhanced our youth’s development. Especially where parents are AWOL.
    The new world that we live in requires a higher level of critical skills. Learning by rote at the CXC level is inadequate. Very often the Skill based components are done by the teahers, copied from the internet etc. So if we want cut and paste experts ,cut off the education at age sixteen. If you want to develop decision making skills, give the youth the extra two years to mature physically , mentally and socially.

    The alternative is to turn them over to those on the physical and internet “Blocks”.

  11. @ Caswell

    And how the hell do apples, oranges, pears and too many chips on shoulders come in?

    You are OVER REACTING because my comment was made in JEST. It was Just a joke………sarcasm.

    In other words I was being jovial about your contribution re: Jones trying to get his name on a plaque……….

    I meant rather than giving Jones a plaque as you stated……….. the same way they gave Lashley a national award for his contribution to culture, seeing Jones wants 6th forms to be his LEGACY…………. they may want to give him a national honour for what they believe is his contribution to education.

    Seeing that you can’t RECOGNIZE SARCASM, perhaps it’s you who has too many chips on your shoulder and your head has become SWOLLEN from constant accolades from Bush Tea.


  12. @ Miller at 9 :41 AM

    Regardless of the subjects studied we are developing the cognitive skills of the youth. ICT requires a grasp of the arts and the sciences. Arts for training in creativity and communication and Sciences to spot the non sequiturs for what they are. Knowledge is the base of the ICT Age . They need Mathematics and the Sciences as well as languages etc.

    Of course we can take the irresponsible course and consume what technology is developed abroad. That is the worse form of slavery.

  13. If there are going to be 6th forms I support them where numbers merit. During my mostly wasted years in HS we always had students who had to traipse off to HC to continue their education via 6th form. Those who were unable to access HC journeyed to the Community College prior to entering UWI. I hope HC today is not a reflection of HC of the 60’s/70’s as one of my friends who went there for 6th form never mentions the association since he found it to be a hotbed of classism/racism and would have preferred to remain at his former school.

  14. @ Bernard Codrington December 8, 2017 at 10:37 AM #
    “Regardless of the subjects studied we are developing the cognitive skills of the youth. ICT requires a grasp of the arts and the sciences. Arts for training in creativity and communication and Sciences to spot the non sequiturs for what they are. Knowledge is the base of the ICT Age . They need Mathematics and the Sciences as well as languages etc.”

    We don’t see the application of ICT to the teaching and learning process as any end but as a more effective means for preparing students for the world of living and working.

    ICT is just a tool; not any technological god to be worshipped as a substitute for human thinking.

    BC, you speak in normative terms. The output from the current educational system to meet the demands of the fast-changing marketplaces leaves much to be desired.
    It is just not fit for purpose in a modern world.

  15. Sargeant 10 :38 Am.

    I concur ,with the addition that it was always so.

    But surely cliquism is not the fault of the students but that of the parents. Kids listen very carefully to what they parents say and more importantly what they do.
    I can attest to the fact that many students having moved to the first grade schools after getting their ” O” levels at second grade schools, hide the fact that they transferred to the first grade schools.

  16. Bernard Codrington December 8, 2017 at 11:10 AM #

    Barrow, Tom Clarke, the list is endless. It was ever thus. Just look at the protective status Harrison College has.

  17. Miller at 11:06 AM

    Miller I passed through the same maligned education system.
    My children passed through the same system and we are equipped to deal with anything that this modern world throw at us.
    We went to school to learn how to learn ,not merely to collect diplomas and certificates; nor ladders up the social and economic systems.

    And we have/had to compete with students from foreign education systems. Knowledge is power and moreover how to use that power is the key.

  18. @ Sargeant
    I hope HC today is not a reflection of HC of the 60’s/70’s as one of my friends who went there for 6th form never mentions the association since he found it to be a hotbed of classism/racism and would have preferred to remain at his former school.
    Another non-point from you in 24 hours…
    Perhaps you need to go back to bed and try waking up all over again…

    Do you know that your friend may be a freak?
    Do you know how many that went to HC in sixth form only proclaim themselves to be from the ‘other place’?
    Do you know that it is dangerous to use a SINGLE example to make a broad point?

    On another note…
    Jones is promoting sixth form schools because he has discovered that it is something that he CAN get done.
    Everybody likes it…
    It sounds like progress
    The teachers like the increased status and pay…
    The children like it
    The parents like it
    CXC likes it
    The fact that it makes no damn sense has probably not even been considered.

    @ Artax
    Bushie calls it as he sees it.
    Caswell is a man who exhibit strong traits of altruistic commitment to fairness, justice, rules and proper procedure…. an asset in a thieving country.
    However he is ALSO a miserable so and so at (most) times…… like you.
    If you did not know that before – bust luck
    ha ha hah

  19. @ Hal Austin at 11:19 AM

    I agree with you. I could add a few more names; but as you know I prefer not to discuss persons.
    I would like to add that many of the Barbados Scholars that grace the Honour Boards at Queens College and Harrison College started off at the then secound grade schools.

    But the past are for lessons. Have we really learned anything?

  20. @ Bernard Codrington December 8, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    I am quite certain that many contributors to this blog can similarly attest.

    So what has gone ‘wrong’ in Barbados?

    How come people with degrees from UWI cannot make decisions or implement policies or achieve outcomes which were successfully done by those with just an education from the older secondary schools and by some of those with a mere 7th standard education?

    How come in this modern ICT age people still have to wait two weeks (unless you have an inside contact) for something as simple as a birth certificate or spend hours trying to renew their road tax, driver’s licence or even pay their taxes?

    Or is it a classic case of GIGO as a result of too much ‘freeness’ attracting cheap crap?

    “It’s not good for government to tell people that the world owes them a living and that things are free.”

  21. Miller at 11:46 AM

    Not much has gone wrong in Barbados that cannot be fixed by putting the right people in management at the political , public service, and private sector levels. All three arms of the nation need to take fresh guards.

    UWI graduates are not the problem. Are UWI graduates alone in management positions in Barbados? Are you sure that the automated systems that you indicated as inefficient were designed by local software and industrial engineers ?

    Yes ,they are classic cases of GIGO. They are classic cases of the frame of mind that is programmed to believe that everything that is new is good for Barbados. Everything that is designed by foreigners is good for Barbados. We are basically looking around for places to apply computer technology. Technology that may not deliver the quantity and quality of services and goods that we want. We like spending big bucks on the wrong things merely because others know what is best for us.

    In sum, when the graduates of our education system cannot hold their own when they travel and win access to foreign labs and universities ,that is the time to panic.

  22. It is called common sense!!!!

    What parent will not try their level best to avoid having their child go to a school where more recently cutlass wielding students or in the past teachers involved in the production of pornographic material inhabit?

    Classism and elitism, my great toe!!! …. just a reflection on common sense as applied to reality by a caring parent.

    Remember, just one instance, a few seconds and your child is maimed for life.

    So, if your child requires extra tuition to go to a school that is supposed to be top notch then you will cut and contrive to give the child the extra lessons.

    You will become involved in your child’s education and you will see to it he/she gets whatever advantage you can give.

    You will set a goal for your child to achieve and weep tears of joy when the child achieves it.

    Nothing to do with classism or elitism.

    …. perhaps you could argue that it is easier for a better off parent to come up with the funds, but we are not talking about a wash pan of money.

    …. and if the teachers at the school expect more from the students, they will probably get it because they would not settle for less!!

    If you could show that students did not earn their places at the “older” secondary schools on merit and the sacrifice of their parents and themselves, you could bring that argument about classism and elitism.

    Expect more from your child’s school, get more!!

  23. John at 2:14 PM

    I understand quite well where you are coming from. Even before the Common Entrance Exams parents of all classes strived to get for their children the best education they could afford.

    If the child got sidetracked by classism and racism he would have wasted his parents money. One had to recognise those game plans very early and avoid them. Many ,unfortunately, did not see them and failed the system. No ,the system DID NOT FAIL THEM. If one was bright enough to pass English , Arithmetic, and a General Paper which tested one’s common sense then you had enough intelligence to side step the traps.

    But yes there are still tensions in the system and middle class children do have occasionally problems at public primary schools. They are usually asked;” What are you doing here?”

  24. @ Enuff at 3:38 PM

    That is one of the sources of my confusion. There seems to be no internal consistency in the education policies. Traditionally, the 6th form prepared a student for matriculation into university. Not many went; but in addition to that, it prepared them for the clerical and middle management grades in the professions, including the Civil Service.

  25. Bernard Codrington December 8, 2017 at 4:54 PM #

    In the 1960s all it took to get a civil service job was two O levels.

  26. Every school system operates in support of the encompassing socioeconomic system. The schools can only reflect the wider societal norms which often subvert equity, merit and the promotion of the dignity and well being of all citizens. Meaningful education reform cannot occur in the absense of revolutionary social reform.

    The education system is working according to plan as it produces citizens who are conspicious consumers insensitive to ecological constraints, competitive in the pursuit of individual concern and uncaring about others.

  27. Ping Pong December 8, 2017 at 5:06 PM #

    Sometime go I asked John for the curriculum his mother studied at Girls’ Foundation. The purpose was to determine the standard of education required by the society. I was criticised by some of the Neanderthals. But it is a tested way of analysing the standard of education I society. I under stand new no longer teach Latin and Ancient Greek at our top secondary schools.

  28. @ Hal at 4 : 56 PM

    Your memory is a bit rusty. One needed 5 “O” levels at one sitting. One also received up to two increments in the pay scale for “A” levels.

  29. Couple years ago Minister Jones announced the government intentions of creating more 6th form schools across the island. And so he has done. Kudos to him…. Many students had few options after they past 16 as space at SJPP, BCC and the 4 older 6th forms were limited.So these new 6th forms are helping to reduce that problem. 6th forms should not be subjected to zoning. I went to a older sec school. There were always returnees who wanted to ‘repeat’ 5th form and if space permitted they were given entry. There were always floating classes. So what if teachers have to teach from 1st to 6th. Isnt that already they case at the older secondary schools? What is the writer trying to imply about teachers at newer 6th form schools…. There were subjects, even at the 4th/5th form level, that were unsubscribed in my time e.g. typewriting and the teachers had to go look around and ask around for students to take on the subject. I welcome the new 6th forms. CP and Alexandra should be next as the north dont have much options.

    • @Kevin

      Did you even read the concerns? Do you understand what non contact teaching hours are meant to achieve in a school environment? Do you understand concerns about a teacher teaching a timetable that straddles 1st to 6th form? Remove your lense for a moment.

  30. Can some one please kindly
    a-define contact teaching hours;
    b-define non-contact teaching hours
    c indicate what non contact teaching hours are meant to achieve in a school environment?
    d- explain the concerns about a teacher teaching a timetable that straddles 1st to 6th form?

    • Teachers under the Act are required to have minimum non teaching hours to plan classes correct papers etc. This is nothing new. If six forms are being added to schools without support of bodies read teachers, it means manpower will have to come from the existing complement.

  31. @Hal Austin December 8, 2017 at 11:19 AM “Barrow, Tom Clarke, the list is endless. It was ever thus. Just look at the protective status Harrison College has.”

    @Bernard Codrington December 8, 2017 at 11:36 AM “I would like to add that many of the Barbados Scholars that grace the Honour Boards at Queens College and Harrison College started off at the then secound grade schools.”

    Is it classism or is it elitism by merit?

    In any event it does not matter where one went to school or university. What does matter it what one has done at school or at university and especially what one has done with one’s LIFE after leaving school.

    Nothing so sad as hearing a fraud a convict a deportee or a spouse beater saying 40 or 50 years later “I went to…”

  32. If more 6th form schools will better prepare more students for university education, and afterwards for successful lives then good.

  33. David @ 7:22 PM

    Have modern day teachers been genetically modified since the 1960s? In the good old time days teachers straddled forms of eight year olds and forms with 20 year olds. What problems are you imagining ?

    • @Bernard

      Wouldn’t describe it as a problem in a strict definition but a six form is pre university training and some will ask if the rigour of the syllabus requires a greater level of focus and specialization? If there is a concern it maybe that a teacher at the six form level should be senior and probably justified in demanding a commensurate pay. Hopefully Caswell is in a position to comment. Bear in mind Bernard this is a BU perspective.

  34. Dr, Simple at 10 :22 PM

    Yes.That is the intention. It worked in the past for the ” privileged.” It can work for the “underprivileged.” By the way do we still have those classifications? We too like to separate ourselves,do we not?

  35. For those who are still grappling with the true purpose of education, it is instructive that they look at how Japan revolutionised its education system after World War 2 and then emerged as a world power.
    Having sixth forms at all the schools will not make any significant difference to our socio economic problems/development. It is fallacious to suggest that all that matters is “what children do with their lives ” after school. Those , who are now armed with certificates and degrees and cannot find work will have a different take on this position.
    Education should be seen as a tool for national development as well as the development of the individual. Dressing it up in pearls is akin to dressing pigs in a similar manner. The problem is that we have failed to strike a symbiosis between education and our national goals and have put education on the back burner for the better part of forty years.
    Peter Laurie, recently called for the eleven plus to be abolished; Ralph Jemmott has also indicated that the system is in need of a serious overhaul. Such people cannot be accused of knocking down the ladder because they represent the generation of those who the system worked for during that period of development. They are intellectually honest enough to conclude it cannot work for us now.

  36. David at 1 :31 AM

    Is it a fact that sixth forms are added without the staff being suitably increased?

    Teaching a subject at sixth form level does not require a senior teacher with a demand for more pay. One teaches a subject because one is qualified to do so. Moreover, sixth formers would have acquired the skill and habit of learning. Students at secondary schools go to school at that level to learn not to be taught as one is taught at primary school. It is guided learning.

  37. Are we not holding the bull by the horn. The problem with Barbadian education is at the other end, nursery and primary. That is where the money should be invested. In this way, after 11 years of mandatory education we should be reaping results – world-class students (enter at age five and taking GCSEs, CXCs, baccalaureates at age 16). Under the current system, by age 16, the rot has already set in.
    One measure of our failure: the CXC publishes an annual school of the year, how many times have Barbadian schools won. They also publish a student of the year, how many times have students from government schools won?
    We have got to stop fooling ourselves about the quality of our education. It is not what it used to be in the 40s,50s and 60s.. Even our graduates are second rate. Just read some of the PhD theses – or read the postings in BU.

  38. @ Hal Austin at 1 : 29 PM

    Normally I would agree with the views expressed in your submission. The fundamental problems are multifaceted :
    In the BU household there are many views as to what constitute education;
    There are various views as to what education is supposed to deliver;
    What some people indicate as education is not education at all.
    What some persons want the education to deliver ,it cannot and will not.

    This is like religion. Not worth arguing about. I think we should leave it to those qualified in education and the politicians.

  39. @ Hal
    Your point re: re overhaul at nursery and
    primary levels is correct. The very first act
    should be to abolish the eleven plus. The
    tinkering with dixth forms is mere window
    dressing. Until we wake up and witness
    an eleven year old getting a national
    scholarship for excelling at something
    Other than math and English we are
    just wasting time.
    Until island scholarships are given in
    art , drama , etc we are going no where.
    Until a Samuel Jackman student gets
    an island scholarship in mechanics etc……
    and I can go on and on.

  40. @ Hal at 1 :29 PM

    We have and we do produce world class students. Please do some research and ask the persons who should know.

  41. Bernard Codrington December 9, 2017 at 2:33 PM #

    Every country produces the occasional student. Let us use the CXC as a metric. How do we do? How do we do in Pisa?
    Who are our world-class 16 yr olds?

  42. Hal at 2:40 PM

    The information is easily obtained from the Ministry of education and UWI. Many of these statistics were published in the news papers.
    To assist you in comparison with other countries use per thousand of school pupils as your base. You may discover that Barbadian students do just as well,if not better, at the Common Entrance level ; at the CXC level and at the graduate level.

    What kind of measure is an occasional student? You are just as uninformed as a blogger who wants Barbados to produce 3 Rhiannas every year.

  43. Bernard Codrington December 9, 2017 at 3:42 PM #

    You are usually very rational. There is a Principle in law that you do not ask a question unless you have the answer.
    Barbadian students do not do as well in the CXC exams, far less the Pisa scores. And the university is not even in the top 5000 according to the Shanghai league. Further, the campuses score differently. UWI is not even among the top 500 universities in the Caribbean and Latin America, according to some measures.
    We can be polite so as not to appear over-critical, but in the early 21st century, time is short, we must improve.
    For your information, the ministry does not breakdown exam results preschool. I put this question to a senior CXC official and he said they sent all the figures to the ministry. . I am also surprised that the newspapers do not pressure the ministry to publish the figures. In the 1960s they use to.
    I am afraid you read different papers to me. Which papers were the statistics published and when?
    I do not have to carry out my own measures, we already have Pisa and Shanghai. I may be uninformed, but I do not want three Rihannas or three Nobel Laureates. . I want improved educational standards for all our youths.
    Our standards are poor even according to Caribbean standards. Check out St Lucia, Jamaica and Guyana.
    Our educational institutions are poor for the simple reason that instead of discussing policy, BU chooses to discuss who the minister is having an affair with.
    This is an old debate and I do not want to repeat something I have been saying for years. See my old Notes…..

  44. Hal

    Let us agree to disagree on the matter of education. As I say it is like religion . Every one has a perspective. On this occasion we cannot agree.

  45. Not trying to get into big boys party so I gine politely seek an invite n go knock, knock…

    @BernardC, you gotta give @Hal his due in this one. His 1:29 n 5:40 ring the bell loudly.

    There is no viable excuse that we don’t have a bariffle of stats on school success metrics. You say it’s available but when I did some checks in the past it was hard find anything propa at GIS, Min of Ed or otherwise. If that has changed then I am glad.

    I could not for example some years ago find the simple metric of Bajan scholarship awardees by year…NO WHERE. Even a search on Advocate and Nationnews sites proved difficult.

    And from kindergarten to 11plus Hal sure is right that much emphasis is needed.

    Maybe it has been said by you, Hal or Enuff already but the simple fact is that another two years for school leavers means two less years being tabulated as unemployed by labor dept. Coupled with the admission/tuition issues at UWI that is actually an awesome political move.

    The cynical push and pull of politics.

    It is tantamount to a dog chasing his tail to offer more 6th forms and prep for college and life yet at the same time disband the Alma Parris institution and funnel those very needy kids back into the same schools likely getting 6th forms.

    So do excuse my cynicism. This grand policy plan is a pure fallacy of a that type tail chase. You smart fellow know the life course of a fallacy!

    @William are you suggesting that top students at SJPP have not received scholarships (Developmental Scholarship or whatever that pays a full ride] to further education to a higher level?

    Or are you saying that said top students need to be given national props and acclaim when they are so awarded.

    • @Dee Word

      The stats are available like Bernard indicated BUT securely guarded. BU recalls a few years ago on a talk show former Chief Education Officer Wendy Griffith-Watson referred to stats regarding the performance of Springer School and backed off when asked to produced the evidence. Why would successive administration not want to be transparent and share performance information to inform public discussion? Why should taxpayers have to ask the ministry as Bernard recommends?

      On Sat, Dec 9, 2017 at 9:49 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:


  46. There is a supposed link between capability of citizens in Mathematics and national development particularly in the age of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). In the June 2016, CSEC examination 92 544 candidates in the Caribbean region sat the Mathematics exam. 44.3% were able to attain a passing grade. Only 11.6% achieved a grade 1, the highest possible grade.


    In Barbados probably only 30% of the age cohort (which is different from the percentage pass rate) achieve a passing certificate in Mathematics. The last time such results were made available to a newspaper was in the 1990’s. Then, of the approximately 2000 Barbadian students sitting Mathematics only 70 were able to achieve a grade 1. The pass rate has improved considerably since then but mainly through significantly lowering the standard of the examination. However, even with the “dumbing down” of the exam, pass rates above 50% continue to be elusive.

    In Barbados, all schools are staffed with Mathematics teachers who have at least an undergraduate degree in Mathematics. Many teachers have received teacher training at Erdiston College. Every secondary student has access to textbooks through the textbook loan scheme. Internet access is pervasive. Every Barbadian child of normal cognitive and physical function has access to secondary school. Yet most Barbadian students find CSEC Mathematics challenging.


    Is a sixth form of 30 students really a priority?

    • @William

      You are aware that many SJPP students reprent many who were not accepted by BCC and the Cave Hill?

  47. Ting-a-ling you hear the school bell ring
    Ting-a-ling-a-ling don’t you hear the school bell ring

    One more thing I would like to say
    before I go away

    Please play Mr Music play
    this happens to be the order of the day

    I no got it
    sister no got none too
    tell me what are we going do

    Jah know
    true true

    Giving thanks continually
    ain’t got no time for folly dally

    Keep you rocking
    keep you shocking
    make you feel high
    touch the sky

  48. In the UK only only 3.5% of 16 year olds who took the maths exams passed at the highest grade in 2017. What percentage was it in Barbados?

  49. @ David
    All i am saying is that the outstanding technical/non academic students should be given equal focus and national props as those paraded every year in the press with island scholarships etc.. I am not aware about where they were rejected.

  50. Bernard Codrington December 9, 2017 at 8:10 PM #

    The perils of Googling. Let me explain: nearly 50 per cent of UK school lea vers go to university in the UK; to get into university ALL students must have GCSE mathematics and English; to get most jobs, all applicants must have level two functional maths and English.
    To get over this, the state now funds all post-19 job hunters and university applicants to take the relevant courses. Even to get a job as a supermarket checkout person you must have level two functional maths. I have mentioned this here before, that although the courses are free few black people seem to take them up.
    In the recently re-organised maths exams, there is now a foundation course and a higher course, both of which are a higher level than the old O level and GCSE. That is the situation in the UK today.
    By the way, my intervention is about education policy, social policy, not about teaching or education theory. I am not a teacher, although there are two teachers in my home and others in my family.
    For your information, I read the Times Higher Education Supplement every week, and have done for years. I am not a regular reader of the Times Educational Supplement for the above reasons.

  51. @ Hal at 6:20 AM

    The statistic at 8:10 PM related to the UK GCSE. which is equivalent to the CXC. Both of these exams are taken at age 16. We must compare like with like.
    I googled PISA as recommended by you. Barbados does not appear because it is not listed. That does not mean it is so bad it was off the chart.

    Actually I was in UK in August ,I read the Times Education Supplement and that is why I can assert that Barbados very often does much better than most advanced countries. Actually the past mark in the UK was reduced.

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