EU gives to students

Head of the EU delegation Ambassador Mikael Barfod presents students from the Al–Falah School with their kits.
Head of the EU delegation Ambassador Mikael Barfod presents students from the Al–Falah School with their kits.

The European Union cares about the development of Barbados.

So said Project Officer on Education in the Social and Rural Development Section, Stephen Boyce, to Barbados TODAY after the delegation made a presentation of stationary kits to students taking this year’s Barbados Secondary School’s Entrance Examination.

The presentation was held this morning at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Two Mile Hill in St. Michael and some 78 primary schools, both public and private, were gifted.

Boyce said the programme was a part of an overall human resource development initiative implemented in 2011, worth about $120 million and was aimed at improving the national productivity and competitiveness while ensuring that each citizen was allowed to achieve his or her personal aspirations.

With that in mind they decided there was a need to place particular emphasis on children.

“It is necessary to first put each child on a sound footing, so we have†levelled the playing field by making sure every child has at least a stationary kit,” he said.

“Quite often the Common Entrance Exam is the great divider and for us we realise we can’t continue with that status quo. We need to give kids the best chance of success going into the next stage of their life.”

He added: “This was the symbolic start and from this point on you will see things rolling out and it will synchronise with what is happening within the school system itself. So we are working closely with the Ministry [of Education], so as the kids are transitioning we identify the weaknesses we will kick in, in terms of the necessary resources.

“The next stage is to look at those children who do not do as well as others and helping in terms of … remediation, as necessary.”

Additionally Boyce said that they would also soon start working with the dyslexia centre, the ADHD groupings, organisations which deal with autism etc…

“Where we identify there is a problem, we will help those kids to succeed,” he assured. “We hope this programme will make a big difference because it is geared very much towards the future, the economic situation, the market needs and market demand and to promote growth.

“A lot of the figures show the investment that you make at the primary level translates into essentially savings down the road in terms of† remediation – students who may fall out of the system and become at risk, those who may become incarcerated. So if we spend the money now it saves the country and it helps improve the overall productivity two generations down the road,” he said.

On May 7, 3,634 students – 1,886 boys and 1,748 girls – will take the 11-plus exam. (KC)

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