Teachers in charge

barbados would be in trouble if authority is removed from teachers

If the education system continues to take away the authority of teachers we are going to have more problems in Barbados, says Reverend Wayne Kirton.

He was speaking this morning at a service to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the St. Mary’s Primary School at The Church of St. Mary at Cheapside, The City.

Kirton said that Barbadians preferred to bury their heads in the sand rather than deal with the issues, but if teachers were not allowed to aid in the proper development of young people by instilling good values in them, which would take them forward, “God help Barbados”.

He said the greatest injustice done to the education system in this country was the words that came from the Minister of Education [Ronald Jones] when, as he said, he told principals the schools did not belong to them.

“I said it from this pulpit when I addressed St. James Secondary anniversary service a couple years ago … and I will say it again, it dealt a severe blow to people who should be encouraged to be the stakeholders in the system and when you could publicly ridicule them, children have all right to say to teachers ‘Well, the minister say you don’t own this so you can’t tell me what to do’.

“We have to be careful what we as adults say within our society … because it might sound good at the time [but] will have a detrimental effect on the children.

“When we look at our school system today we have to admit that in many cases that basic foundational requirement of the school is not being laid. We are now caught up in situations where there is open warfare between principal and teachers; where the children are left on the side and teachers fight out their battles in the most expensive soap opera ever to appear in Barbados.

“Yet when the children have their little fights and misunderstandings in school we want to tell them that this is not the way it should be done, but then our behaviour says all hell can break loose and it is okay with us as adults. Children not only hear what you say but they copy what you do and our system is breaking down because those of us who are to set the example, we are simply not setting the correct example of training our children up to be decent and proper citizens.

“The challenge Madame Principal has to be geared for you to cultivate an environment at St. Mary’s Primary where children will receive the best from you and your staff. A place where if there are matters of dispute between you and your staff it must not be played out before the children because these are the ones within the next few years that will find themselves in secondary school and some of our secondary school are now battle grounds, not only with teachers and principals but with students as well… the school is the place where we should set the example of what society hopes for it as the best to come from our children,” he encouraged.

In 1991 the St. Mary’s Infants and Junior schools amalgamated

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