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Davina Young collects her Pharmaco Pharmacy award for Best Student Athlete from principal Vincent Fergusson.

The island’s schools are now harder to manage than ever before and one educator is calling on the Ministry of Education to institute more training of principals.

“I want to say that schools in Barbados are becoming increasingly difficult to manage, thus making the task of teachers and principals very challenging,” said Principal of the Coleridge and Parry School, Vincent Fergusson, at their Speech Day this afternoon.

“Today’s principals have to manage a five pronged attack, and I am not speaking of cricket. This attack comprises the ministry, the board of management, teachers, students and last but not least, the parents.

“Very often some segment of that attack is bearing down on the principal and he or she has to be able to competently manage those situations. If the principal gets it wrong, he or she can be in for public ridicule by an ever increasing critical public, and you know what I am talking about,” he stated.

As such, Fergusson called on the ministry for help in training the principals to be better administrators. “My belief is that the Ministry of Education and Human Resources should provide opportunities for all principals to be trained in matters of human resources, whether it be in management or public speaking, or human resource management.

“To me this would go a long way in avoiding or diffusing conflict among the aforementioned parties,” he said. There were also levels of apathy among students, the principal claimed, that begged the question, “Are we getting our monies worth for education?”

“It hurts us as teachers to see young boys and girls not maximising their talents because they get to school late, they do not complete homework or school-based assignments, and are frequently absent from school. Some students are at school but yet refuse to ingest the academic diet being offered.

“In many of these cases it appears to us as if there is some parental support for such recalcitrance, whether openly or tacitly; for sometimes after many calls to parents or meeting with parents little or no change in behaviour is evident,” he said.

The CP principal therefore called on parents to work with the school in instituting discipline in students, noting that research showed a high correlation between discipline and academic performance. Students with poor discipline, he noted, usually struggled with their school work or sports.

“Wearing of the uniform is a discipline in itself. In recent times we have had many problems with students and parents who think they should flout every uniform rule — ‘It doesn’t make sense!’, ‘It is a stupid rule!’. We have seen a variety of shoes, skirts, hairstyles and even undergarments, I mean the upper undergarments that do not comply to the simple school rules.

“The upshot of this is that an inordinate amount of time is spent trying to remedy these infractions and this can easily be avoided if parents work in tandem with the school to ensure uniform compliance,” he said. (LB)

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