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Education over the years

A Toast to Education: Minister Ronald Jones, PS Cecile Humphrey, Audio Visual Aids Chief, Walter Harper and Education Chief Laurie King salute the opening of the exhibit.

Remember the days of milk and biscuits, the mobile cinema, the health van at school for check-ups, or better yet, the mini-mini skirts?

Well if you don’t, a trip to the Grand Salle of the Central Bank any day from tomorrow until October 11 should more than jog the memory, or perhaps furnish you with information you never knew about the last 50 years of education in Barbados.

The exhibition, themed 50 Years of Universal Free Public Education, was opened last night by Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, who got more than a few brains ticking with his own early memories of education as a boy.

Recalling schools like Unique High, Marshall’s Academy, Community High, Mapp’s College, he remarked that they existed for a purpose.

“That purpose was that the public sector in the ’40s, the ’30s, the ’20s, the ’60s, even into the ’70s and ’80s, could not accommodate the mass of students who were hungry for education in our country. I wish to salute their contribution to the knowledge of our people. Without them one does not know how Barbados would be,” he stated before a small audience at last night’s opening.

The minister noted that even back then schools were turning out entrepreneurs.

“So when people speak that we did not have entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, it is not true. There were [tons] of entrepreneurs in Barbados. The lady who went from the bottom of Wilcox Hill, Silver Sands to St. Andrew for greens was an entrepreneur. The husksters, the itinerant sales persons of Barbados who walked, left home at 4 o’clock on mornings so they could get to St. Andrew,” he stated.

It was the food basket of the country, then he noted, but most of those people had migrated and abandoned the land for new housing districts.

Jones said the church too played a major role in education, because without that influence many of today’s parents and grandparents might not have been served by the sector.

The exhibition chronicles areas of education’s development, like the high schools, milk and school meals services, subjects, the contribution of the unions, the many ministers of education, among other matters. It will be open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (LB)

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