Dead wrong!

Jones challenges IDB assessment on Barbados’ education

Minister of Education Ronald Jones is promising to “shatter” the “grunge” that has been reported about the education system in Barbados recently.

Making reference to recent reports from a senior official of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that even though the island was considered a leader in Latin America and the Caribbean, its overall level of learning was still way before par, Jones said to put out such information was “absolutely wrong”.

“There has been over the last few days, some activity in Barbados on the call-in programmes and things like that. I am not going to say much about it now but I will speak to that a little later. Just to say that we have to question ourselves everyday relative to any learning activity, any behavioural activity within the country. The most recent has been a bit of statistics, which question the success of our education system. Let me say to you it is wrong, it is absolutely wrong, and I am not questioning the material that has been put out, so I will clarify that in another few days,” Jones said.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones
Minister of Education Ronald Jones

“Some of the current discussion comes from the ill-informed and the uninformed relative to what is taking place in Barbados. So I am going to shatter shortly, a lot of the grunge really, [that] I am hearing out there.”

Barbados TODAY had reported last week on the findings presented by Dr Mariana Alfonso, a senior education specialist at the IDB. Basing her assessment on studies done between 1999 and 2012, she told the Fifth International Conference on Higher Education that a number of worrying results were uncovered.

The research showed that many Barbadian school leavers could not even meet the basic requirement of four Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) passes for entry into the public service.

“Of the students who actually take that exam, 50 per cent obtain far more CSEC passes, but only after multiple sittings,” Alfonso pointed out.

“Only 6.1 per cent of the students in Barbados get the four passes in the first sitting of the exam,” she added.

However, while still staying away from naming the source of his contention, Jones said “sometime this week” he would be meeting “with persons” to share data with them that the Ministry of Education had gathered over the last 23 years “to show the movement upward in the learning of our students’ outcomes – subjects passed and all of that”.

“Barbados has shown a very interesting profile from schools where students at those schools might be giving you between 98 per cent and 100 per cent of four or more subjects in one year for CSEC, to schools where students who went in with a lower quality mark also giving you 28, 30, 35 per cent passes in four or more subjects in one sitting. That is what is happening in Barbados,” the minister insisted.

He also pointed out that there were schools in Barbados with an “accelerated programme of learning”, through which many students were able to gain between one and three subjects before they enter fifth form.

“We have all of those statistics.”

The minister, who was addressing the official launch of the Flow Study – an e-learning platform – at the telecommunication’s company’s Warrens headquarters today, was adamant that the island continued to be the number one learning society in the region and Central America and possibly the world.

“We will continue as a small open economy to ensure that people will have the knowledge to interact or interface with anybody in the world. Even if they speak another language we will try to learn that language and again technology will help to do all of those things,” said Jones.

10 Responses to Dead wrong!

  1. Hal Austin October 25, 2016 at 3:14 am

    Mr Joness,
    Plse come out with the evidence. Plse publish the CXC exam results for individual schools. Tell us your plans for spending on education. What reforms do you have planned, apart from a wasteful sixth form in every secondary school.
    Make there entry qualifications to be a teacher much more demanding. It is a scandal when people can give up teaching to be litigating lawyers.

    • M.A.Nicholls October 25, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Well Hal, I hope the entire system as it relates to teacher training and qualifications etc is looked at. This is also a result as some teachers, and others not respecting the job as an actual profession, which we all know it is. For some it is usually a temporary stint so unless the individual has any real interest or even skill at it they more often than not couldn’t be bothered for as far as they’re concerned they’re soon going to be doing something else.

  2. seagul October 25, 2016 at 6:47 am

    ‘Where have all the statistics gone.
    Long time passing.
    Where have all the results gone.
    Long time ago…

  3. Sue Donym October 25, 2016 at 7:04 am

    The usual bluster!
    Please explain what was said that is “absolutely wrong”, because until then we’re still hearing that far too many teachers seem to short change an entire class so that they can ‘sell’ their ‘lessons’ to the many.
    Please explain, in our excellent system, why it is all but necessary to get extra lessons to pass, far less get a good grade – starting from primary level.
    We do want to know the truth of whether teachers are teaching material in ‘the lessons’ that is not touched or is just skimmed in regular class time. And if this is so what are the reasons… class size, varying abilities, syllabus requirements, class management or wealth management?

    We’ve heard the buzz, what are the facts as far as you know, or can disclose? Will there be a carefully choreographed sidestep of the issues so that there is no offence felt by the professionals at a delicate stage of the dance?

    Just the facts without the fluff, please!

  4. harry turnover October 25, 2016 at 7:06 am

    Jones and wuk musse know wha he talking bout.look de man say he gine put a SIXTH FORM at the GRANTLEY ADAMS School.
    Either the children there are doing VERY WELL or that speech as I often say was JUST FOR THE OCCASION …to make it sound good …to make it look like the Government is doing something.
    Common sense would tell ANYBODY that with the CUT OFF mark for that School as it presently exists.. less than 6 %,very few would have been eligible for six form and I am 100% sure that those few would opt to go to either Harrisons,Queens,Combermere,Lodgr,St.Michaels,Foundation.and I am equally 100% sure that NO student OUTSIDE of Grantley Adams School would opt to go there.
    That is HOW IT IS IN BIM.

  5. Mac October 25, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I am still waiting for the list of TOP TEN students of the Common Entrance Exam 2016, even though you may think it is not important.

    Although I don’t believe some of the information published in the report, don’t you think that you would be more convincing if you could have waited another week and produced the empirical evidence. (evidence not manipulated statistics)

    I will be waiting but not holding my breath.

  6. Ossie Moore October 25, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Where have all the Good Shepherd and Jesuit teachers gone? They taught from the heart not for the paycheck!

  7. Mac October 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Ossie Moore
    Gone are those days. Everything today is done for money.

    Nothing is done for love or from the heart.

    • M.A.Nicholls October 25, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Well, whilst that is true, teaching is a job like any other, and teachers to be quite frank are poorly paid. I think we both know how demanding of a job teaching can be.

  8. Bobo October 25, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    How many times I have ask the present Prime Minister–to remove Ronald Jones from his post as Minister of education –he is a disgrace to the system and a disgrace to the new generation future.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *