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Call to scrap 11-plus

Rhonda Blackman

Rhonda Blackman

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.

16 Responses to Call to scrap 11-plus

  1. Omar Watson
    Omar Watson May 1, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    lol this will never happen. Only fair and effective system to benefit the island over the long term would be to create parity amongst the schools, which will never happen. The degree of separation between these schools have promoted a system of social stratification in this island which is ingrained into this society’s decision makers who would never surrender the prestigious reputations of the elite schools in the country. In a matter of years it wouldn’t matter to anyone whether you went to Harrisons, Queens, Combermere etc.

    So every year on the eve of the 11 plus someone will come out and get publicity saying that it is time you scrap this poor system.

    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria May 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Omar Watson…..this sound too sensible, and everybody know you dumpsey. You aint write this. Tell your son, stop leaving comments on your FB account….

    • Omar Watson
      Omar Watson May 1, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Angela hush lol

    • Matthew Clarke
      Matthew Clarke May 2, 2014 at 7:42 am

      all schools cant teach the same thing, then you dont have a diverse work force or working /entrepreneurial population, you must have theory, practical, engineering and academic schools not just the same type

  2. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce May 1, 2014 at 1:02 pm


  3. Abraham Millington
    Abraham Millington May 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    There’s setting up a system that allows children who in the right environment, or self-willed, or fortunate enough to have lessons to properly iron out areas of the curiculum etc bla bla blahh then they are students clearly not able to concentrate past a certain ability who might be gifted in another area : then there’s the topic of properly or possibly equally or as equal as possible sourcing not only qualified but teachers with temperance to teach in all schools, as to certain schools well balanced with teachers proven beyond a certificate.

  4. Matthew Clarke
    Matthew Clarke May 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    right and then destroy the education system so it is watered down

  5. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock May 1, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Ms.Blackman,what is the most suitable methodology,can you be quite explicit

  6. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock May 1, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    There must be assessment,just tell how when an where ms Blackman.

  7. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock May 2, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Ms Blackman,you’ve missed the real point in education,although you’re so close to it,eg.simply because a few students passed the 11plus,with flying colors doesn’t mean that the others are failures,per say,lots these so called failures might have been slower developers an later went on to university,some become successful in what ever they do,how can you measure that, so why all the emphasis on this high education any way.

  8. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock May 2, 2014 at 7:07 am

    One of the things I know, is that here there’s a sat testing,an those that wants to get into the colleges an some prestigious university have to pass a test at testing centers where they have to pay ,I know that as a fact as one of the testing centers are in the building where I work so I get an opportunity to ask the students many questions.

  9. Ali Johannes
    Ali Johannes May 2, 2014 at 7:27 am

    again? same thing every year! I’ve been hearing this every year since I did the 11+ 25+ years ago.

  10. Regina Worrell
    Regina Worrell May 2, 2014 at 7:41 am



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