MESA head concerned that too many men opting out of university but financing women's studies

The head of the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA), Ralph Boyce, says there is growing evidence that Barbadian fathers are generally becoming more responsible, but he remains concerned that too many men are neglecting their tertiary education while financing university education for women.

Ralph Boyce
Ralph Boyce

“The ladies are looking after their own education, and the men, as the Bajans say, are dropping the women to university. In a short time, the lady graduates with a degree or some other form of certification, and ironically, sometimes the lady says she is finished with the man and she says to him, ‘I can no longer communicate with you’.

“But the truth is that she has come into contact with somebody in the programme she did, who she feels is better to her liking. The poor fella finds himself ditched and thinking that since he has been kind to her she would be kind to him. But it doesn’t work like that,” said Boyce, who is appealing to men to look after their own advanced education.

The MESA head pointed to statistical evidence that approximately 70 to 80 per cent of university students in Barbados were females, while men neglected full-time studies at university and preferred to take short courses at other institutions. He said he believed that trend stemmed from how women were socialized to be independent.

“Women are told not to depend on any man. I don’t think the men have got that sort of drive from anybody because sometimes the father is not in the home. Sometimes where he is he is not playing the role of giving strong guidance. We need very strong guidance for the young males,” he said.

His comments come in the wake of last weekend’s Father’s Day observation. Boyce was confident that Barbadian men had been stepping up to the plate and looking after the needs of their children.

“You see fathers on the streets walking with their children and they are going to the polyclinics with them and some are actually there when the child is being delivered. Also, a lot of them are assisting with cooking, washing and cleaning in some cases, and so they have not been restricted with the old-time belief that men don’t do certain things, where men weren’t supposed to cook and help with the children,” he said.

However, in an interview with Barbados TODAY, Boyce noted there were still outstanding issues pertaining to men that he would like to see corrected as soon as possible.

For one, Boyce said he was concerned that some men were still being denied the right to see their children. As a result, he appealed to women not to be vindictive and engage in this practice, especially when the court ordered visiting rights.

Boyce encouraged men who faced that situation to return to court and inform the judge that the court order was not being carried out and to plead for their case to be revisited.

“I would beg the mothers to give the men a break and understand that the father still has an interest and a desire to be with his children, even when sometimes he is not able to provide the financial assistance. And even when the father is denied that right, he should persist because in the long run the child will grow up and meet the age where they would realize who is the father.”

The MESA head said he was happy to see the amending of the Maintenance Act taking place, and hopefully, would soon be put into law to replace an outdated existing 29-year-old legislation.


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