Credit to Carter
by Joyann Gill
As Dr. Dan Carter was yesterday honoured “for his sterling contribution in the field of education”, it became increasingly clear that this outstanding educator, who had fulfilled the roles of teacher, principal, education officer and senior education officer, was being saluted for all-round contribution to his society.
This was evident from the pronouncements made by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, as he presented a plaque to Carter at his home in Thornbury Hill, Christ Church.
Carter’s honour came as the ministry marked 50 years of universal free public education (1962-2012), under the theme Celebrating 50 Years of Universal Free Public Education and recognised retired stalwarts from within this time period.
Describing the man, who had spent some 41 years in the sector, as a “professional educator”, Jones who, as a young recruit had first encountered him at Christ Church Boys in 1976, said: “[You exemplify this] in that you went on to do your first degree; you continued as you taught and found [the] time and opportunity to do a second degree and obviously … went on to do your doctorate.”
Pointing out that more persons of this mould should be found in schools, Jones said: “Persons who develop their knowledge continue to work with the children and give to them the best that they can get. Students emulate their teachers or professors and teachers must, by example, demonstrate a commitment to good study, to intellectual discourse and to writing, [thus] adding to the storehouse of knowledge that is available to be used by mankind.
“These contributions to knowledge can last till eternity – buildings might go, roads might have to be repaved, new technologies would emerge, things go into obsolescence, but knowledge/information which is created would stay alive for ever. We still refer to the work of Aristotle, Plato, Durkheim and Shakespeare… So you find that words and knowledge perpetuate over time and, therefore, the teacher is critical in our society and the world to help [with] the perpetuation of knowledge [and] the storehouse of knowledge.”
It was noted too that as a senior education officer, Dr. Carter had continued to develop his knowledge, particularly in the area of history while working in the Planning, Research and Development Unit, “the centre of the ministry” given its flow of data, research and policy implementation.
The education minister stressed: “Dr. Carter is a historian, and particularly spends a lot of time looking at what I call the educational history of Barbados and those who would have contributed to the educational development of Barbados…”
Urging that more research be done of an evidence-based and action-based nature, Jones, a former teacher, himself, added: “Original research helps to create an environment and a society that is knowledge-based, that is suited to the time that we are in and Dr. Dan Carter truly is a product of that thinking and persons like him should be held up for the people of Barbados [to see]…
“It would have been difficult for him coming through the system but all of the opportunities that would have been provided, Dr. Carter utilised not only for himself but to help others as well.”
The educator was also commended for his work in the community, particularly with respect to the Oistins Fish Festival, which he has worked with for over 35 years. [He is] “a community man in this pivotal and critical part of Christ Church”, declared Jones, while expressing the hope that he would continue to give of his time and effort in writing and adding to the storehouse of knowledge.
In accepting the token of appreciation, Carter said he felt “honoured” and admitted that there had been challenges in his career, especially in teaching.
However, he added: “But when you look back, especially when you meet your [past] students and they stop you in Broad Street and say ‘Look, you were my teacher’; [or] ‘Mr. Carter, how are you?’ And the bolder ones say, ‘Dan, well you can’t flog me now, so I can call you Dan’ – you derive a lot of satisfaction from that.”
He also acknowledged pleasure at having chronicled moments in education and disclosed that he was in the process of completing a text on Empowering the Disabled that would outline developments in special education.
Stating that it should be printed sometime next year, Carter said: “So, I am still trying to complete my journey in terms of writing the history of education in Barbados.”
He added: “I would like to crown everything, though, by publishing the History of Education … and I would really like that to be my signal contribution to education.”
As he shared thoughts on the way forward for the sector, he stressed that the curriculum was the core aspect of education.
“I would like to see the curriculum always fashioned and remodelled so as to allow our students to be within the 21st Century, with all the technology, but at the same time not for it to lose its humaneness,” he said.
Explaining this further, he added: “We still have to live as human beings and sometimes we might get too technology driven and then at the other end we do not know how to live with one another… I like the human face of things; the curriculum must be looked at constantly so that we can produce persons that are equipped to manage and to live in this world of high technology.”
Carter, who retired in 2007 after 10 years in the Ministry of Education, entered the teaching service in 1965 and was posted at St. Giles Primary. His publications to date include Lawrence T. Gay; Historical Developments in Barbados; History of the Ministry of Education and History of Society Primary School.