Youths call for complete overhaul of education system
Panellists at the recently held Ask We Bajan Youth town hall meeting hosted by the Barbados Youth Development Council (BYDC) all agreed that the education system needed a complete overhaul.
The panel of five young people from different organizations examined issues such as climate change, media relations, access to health care, education and the Student Revolving Loan Fund.
Stressing that education ought not be about academics only, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Youth Ambassador Alternate Kaila Headley said there was also a need for more schools to focus on the technical aspect.
“CXC [the Caribbean Examiniation Council] is based on regurgitation; you simply read and write back. We need an education system focused on creating critical thinkers rather than regurgitators,” she said.
“We are not investing enough into our youth. Even with youth programmes like BYDC and CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, we have to beg for sponsorship for something as simple as a panel discussion or an outreach programme, and there is a clear lack of funding for education,” Headley added.
She explained that it was not a case of students being lazy or looking for handouts, but that there were too many roadblocks.
“Just look at the Student Revolving Loan [Fud] which is basically broke. We have young people working at gas stations barely making their tuition fees” she said.
I Am A Girl Barbados Founder Alian Ollivierre shared Headley’s sentiments. However, Ollivierre suggested that students who did not repay their loans were contributing to the problems facing the Fund.
“The Student Revolving Loan [Fund] is supposed to revolve and when it doesn’t then we come into problems,” Ollivierre said.
The panellists also said there was insufficient youth representation at the governmental level, which hindered youth development.
Leader of Government Business at the Barbados National Youth Parliament Krystal Hoyte pointed to the need for more youth at the table, especially during the drafting of legislation that directly affect them.
“One area that definitely needs youth representation is the grey area in legislation concerning access to health care. We have 16 and 17-year-old teens who can consent to sexual activity but cannot see a doctor for counselling, testing or contraception. That is a clear grey area…,” Hoyte said.
The panel also included Dia Parris of the Barbados Association of Future Office Professionals and Co-director of Barbados Gays, Lesbians Against Discrimination Ro-Ann Mohammed. (KH)