Jones unveils free education plaque

As Barbados celebrates 50 years of universal free public education, Minister Ronald Jones (third right) today unveiled a plaque at the ministry to mark the occasion. Along with him were: (from left) Senior Administrative Officer, Adrienne Jones, Deputy Chief Karen Best, Chief Laurie King, PS Cecile Humphrey and Deputy Chief Adrian Clement.

Underscoring the strides Barbados has made in education, Minister of Education Ronald Jones this morning unveiled a plaque at the ministry’s headquarters to mark the island’s 50th anniversary of free education.

Calling it a major milestone for the country, the minister told a small gathering at the short ceremony on the ministry’s lawns that free education was to the premier at the time, a simple solution to helping develop the nation.

Since then, he noted, there had been many more strides in education in the country, which should be noted and celebrated.

“So many significant achievements have taken place with education in Barbados. Barbados is a leader of education in the Caribbean if not in the world, therefore we have not to rest on our laurels but to redouble our efforts to ensure that we stay on the cutting edge; that we have to continue to make sure that we reach out to all of our persons who need some form of education, if they have been in the system and have not benefitted significantly, another opportunity to reenter benefits significantly,” said Jones.

The celebration of 50 years of free education, he said, moments before unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion, was an “amazing” and “singular event” on the local calendar.

“It is an event to be celebrated. Those persons that would have been born I believe around 1951, 1952 particularly would have been entering those schools in September of 1962, without having to worry about looking for the fees to pay for the first time.

“In providing, in addition to the screening test, the opportunity for persons of all classes, all races, not to be segregated by class or race, but that through your intellect we could all sit together in a same space.

“That in itself was egalitarian, democratic, socialist postering, which is still heavily imbedded in the nation of Barbados and of which so many people have benefited and I’m sure will continue to benefit,” said the education minister. (LB)

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