Call to scrap 11-plus
President of the Barbados National Council for Parent Teachers Association, Rhonda Blackman has called for a serious restructuring of the education system.
Furthermore, with students due to sit the 11-plus examinations next week, some Barbadians attending a town hall meeting last night have renewed calls for that exam to be scrapped, describing it as torture and irrelevant.
The discussion, organised by the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) , was held at the Combermere School with the theme focusing on reimagining education for the next 50 years.
Blackman, who is also an educator, told the small audience that the current system had served its purpose and it was in need of an urgent review.
She said while she believed the “chalk and talk” method was still important, there was need to incorporate more use of technology at all levels.
“I am a bit concerned for the education system that we have,” said Blackman.
“I believe that we have outgrown our system . . . if we want an education system that is responsive to the needs of our people we need to do some serious restructuring and we [have] to get it right from at the primary level,” she said, though commending the current structure for producing many scholars.
The educator said she believed teachers needed to develop their teleological skills and restructure their methodology and teaching strategies.
“The fact that this is a technological age bombarding our people we have some serious restructuring to do. Parents need to also get it right because the breakdown in society isn’t from the school system, it is from the family,” she said.
“We have to stop blaming Government. We have to stop blaming teachers. We got to stop blame, blame, blame, and we got to step up to the plate as parents and do what we are supposed to do. I believe that we parents, and by extension, society, we are the ones that are failing our children,” she added.
Meanwhile, describing the 11-plus exam as “a millstone around the necks” of children, Senator Alwin Adams also agreed that the current methods of teaching was “not appealing” to the current century.
He too called for the retraining of teachers to meet the educational needs.
He said the examination, which was designed to, among other things, determine which secondary school an individual was allocated to, was only benefiting “roughly 30 per cent of the students”, whom he suggested were in the middle class.
He also blamed the outlandish behaviour among some secondary school students on the 11-plus, saying it had divorced the students from their immediate communities.