Education reality check

The European Union Project Officer for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr Stephen Boyce, has said that while Barbados’ education ranks high worldwide, too many on the island continue to fall through the cracks.

The Barbadian educator made this point last night at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College’s 2015 graduation ceremony in the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, to an audience that included Minister of Education Ronald Jones.

Members of the graduating class of 2015.
Members of the graduating class of 2015.

The former Queen’s College teacher and Senior Programmer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill,  said it was easy to become nostalgic during events like last night’s graduation and speak about the nation’s vaunted education system.

“Yes, we can be proud that Barbados’ education system continues to rank in the top 10 in the [UN] Human Development Index; yes, we can continue to invest a staggering half of a billion dollars in the sector annually; and yes, we attained universal primary and secondary education decades before our neighbours.”

He said that notwithstanding these facts, there remains, “our worrying failure rate during transition from primary to secondary, and from secondary to the world of work.

“So too is a poor level of participation of males in post secondary education, when compared to their female counterparts.

“In addition, we are still working towards early childhood education, providing adequate support to those with special needs, and identifying those factors that continue to put our youth at risk.

“We must also be mindful that our new workforce has different views on career development,” he said, while noting that past generations had looked to career stability in a single organization for their entire lives.

However, “in contrast those of ‘Generation Y’ look for career mobility, personalized benefits, flexible schedules, and for strategies that differentiate them from others.

“They will invest in advanced degrees and professional certifications, and usually expect to be paid for that certification.

“Those of Generation Y’ will occupy more than half of the world’s working population, so we must take them into consideration.”

8 Responses to Education reality check

  1. Tony Webster December 6, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I’m no statistician, or educationalis, t but would be interested to know the metrics associated with such rankings, i.e., to fully illustrate the “most-bang-for-the-buck” factors of the top countries who really shine. Then we could avoid careering off into brambles ( such as making parents pay “something” to assist Minister Sinckler’s fiscal woes)… and instead optimize use of scarce resources, as well as adopting best-practice programmes.

    Reply
  2. Queenie ShaSha
    Queenie ShaSha December 6, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Billions of dollars in education so why the schools look so then and why are teachers still using that respiratory devil chalk

    Reply
  3. Tony Webster December 7, 2015 at 6:50 am

    @Hal A. Touche! The monumental irony is that having gained an enviable “English”educational system, we ventured “independent’ into a world on the cusp of huge technological changes. We found ourselves more than a little intoxicated with our new freedom; plus money was not much of a problem, what with toursists splashing greenbacks around to evahbody; and wuhloss- we also could pride ourselves as being in the top tiers of most educational/quality-of-life/ healtht & welfare indices, etc etc….al the while the very fundamentals of these were undergoing systemic changes!

    Poor little rich boy: if we had been NOT so blessed, we might have been spurred by the pricks of adversity and sustainability, to cease the orgy of back-slapping which we have indulged oursleves with thes epast 49 years, and instead making fundamental changes to the plan key underpinnings of our economy, governance, and society generally…to take on the new world changing before our very eyes.

    In this year of our Lord 2015, a five-year ‘national development horizon” …is just that: history. We need to look much farther down the road; to regularly monitor progress; and to swiftly make (read:implement) any necessary sail-trimmings.

    I hope and pray ( I really do) that our national leaders will not allow us also…to become “history.” And all this…is before “Cuba Nueva”

    Reply
    • Olutoye Walrond December 7, 2015 at 10:46 am

      ” we ventured “independent’ into a world on the cusp of huge technological changes”. So what should we have done, Mr. Webster – accept that unlike our British overlords we did not have the intellectual ability to grapple with technological change?

      The size of the brain has nothing to do with the size of the country.

      Reply
  4. jrsmith December 7, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Be proud of our education in Barbados, but we are only being educated to export this level of education to other parts of the universe . we have no jobs , will the CV,s be saying you are too over qualified ,but for what., Barbados is there for the taking but not by bajans. this is always seeing bajans being the workers, but not management material.

    Reply
  5. sam clarke December 7, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    THE CANARY IN THE BARBADOS EDUCATION COAL MINE CONTINUES TO SEND SIGNALS ON THE EDUCATION STANDARDS IN BARBADOS, AND BARBADOS CONTINUE TO IGNORE IT.

    AGAIN THE PROBLEM LIES IN THE PRIMARY SYSTEM, WHICH CONTINUES TO SEND ILL-EQUIPPED STUDENT TO OUR SECONDARY SCHOOLS, WHO THEN HAVE TO BE TEACHING REMEDIAL PRIMARY SCHOOL IN A SECONDARY SETTING, AND THIS THEN IS REFLECTED AT THE TERTIARY LEVEL WITH STUDENTS TAKING A DECADE TO FINISH AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE.
    THERE MUST BE MORE EDUCATION DOLLARS AND SKILLED PROFESSIONALS IN THE PRIMARY SCHOOL LEVEL, IN ORDER TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.

    Reply
  6. Marcia Clarke December 8, 2015 at 3:13 am

    It should not matter how long a person takes to finish an undergraduate degree…………getting the education is important for future development.

    Reply
  7. Jennifer December 11, 2015 at 5:56 am

    I’m proud of Barbados education system. If we have give great engineers and doctors to the world who has contributed in each and every field, it is the quality of education. To complement this, I think the trade and finance department has to create an environment that helps more MNCs setup their shops. This results in employment for home grown talent. Anyways, I hope the government would take necessary measures to achieve the same.

    Reply

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