Redman: Graduation prices out of control

President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman is concerned that in the face of the country’s dire economic circumstances, some schools are unduly expensing parents by insisting on lavish graduation ceremonies.

She contended that school graduations had lost the intended focus of the children’s transition and had become “elaborate shows”.

Pointing out that some parents of primary school students are being asked to pay as much $500, in addition to accessories and outfits, in order for their children to be part of the momentous occasion, Redman cautioned that the situation was getting out of hand.

“I think that as a society and, more importantly, as a sector, persons involved in education have to seriously look at what we deem to be graduations in this country. I think that especially in these difficult times, we have to rethink our approach to graduations, especially as it relates to expenditure. Children are transitioning from one phase of their school lives to another and in some instances from school into the wider society, but we have to look at how this is done,” Redman told Barbados TODAY.

“To my mind, it does not involve the spending of hundreds of dollars just to reserve a location that is really, often times, far too expensive. It should not involve expenditure on clothes and makeup. I think we need to make these ceremonies simpler and more meaningful in their simplicity, so that the focus is where it should be, which is a successful transitioning,” she added.

The trade unionist also argued that by hosting these costly affairs, schools were essentially denying poorer children an opportunity to be part of what should be one of the cherished hallmark moments of their lives.

“I see no reason, especially at the primary level, why students cannot graduate in their school uniforms and perhaps gowns and caps that the schools keep and rent at reasonable prices and retain for successive years. This could also occur at the secondary level, and if persons want to move from that graduation ceremony to have a different type of celebration, then that it is fine,” Redman argued.

41 Responses to Redman: Graduation prices out of control

  1. Henderson Yarde
    Henderson Yarde July 4, 2017 at 3:07 am

    I totally agree with her this time around. Children should not be excluded and feel left out, at a time when they should be celebrating with their peers. Funny thing is that Ms Redman and Ronald Jones finds some sort of common ground. Jones lamented on the high cost of graduation fees last year.

  2. Sharon Taylor
    Sharon Taylor July 4, 2017 at 3:38 am

    Schools does have sponsored walks, bake sales etc to offset this cost…. The most parents are asked to pay is for the graduation gown and pictures…… But if parents want poolside parties etc etc…. Wa wunna expect….

    • Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan
      Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan July 4, 2017 at 6:03 am

      What does all this have to do with getting an education?

    • Sharon Taylor
      Sharon Taylor July 4, 2017 at 7:31 am

      Lol… Ask d ppl that want lavish parties after graduation… Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan

  3. Dennis Taitt
    Dennis Taitt July 4, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Do damm true

  4. Janel Howell
    Janel Howell July 4, 2017 at 5:34 am

    I attended my alma mater on Saturday and this is how it was done. Schools also do fundraisers as well.

  5. Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan
    Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan July 4, 2017 at 6:07 am

    This is one off the occasions that I have to agree with the President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union. Another case of monkey see, monkey do! We have become a real follow pattern society, if America sneeze we catch the worse of what ever the negative outcome is and not the positive and take it to the extreme.

    • Ras Small
      Ras Small July 4, 2017 at 6:10 am

      This is de first time dat ah agree wid Ms.Redman, also too.

  6. Anita July 4, 2017 at 6:23 am

    I totally agree with Miss Redman this time around. In some instances some students are told they can’t graduate without a valid reason being given which just serves to crush the children’s spirit. By the way this is at the secondary level.

  7. Sheron Inniss July 4, 2017 at 6:34 am

    I agree with Ms Redman. For our graduation from AX we had it at school, no blue gowns; just like open assembly. Can’t remember if we were fed but there was entertainment which students provided. I was from the graduating class of 1981.

    Cawmere’s was more elaborate but we wore school blazers and again it was held at school. We did fund raisers too I think.

  8. Angela Payne
    Angela Payne July 4, 2017 at 6:36 am

    I really dont understand this ‘graduation’ trend thats been copied from the US and i am referring to the UK too. Since when do children graduate from nursery and primary school. You just leave one part and move into the natural progression of the next which is the same with secondary school. When you move onto university then yes i agree with this state of graduation. Cant understand the follow fashion!

    • Shelly Ross
      Shelly Ross July 4, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Honey, leave the US out of it.
      There are thousands of graduations across the US and you can choose to copy the expensive ones or the ones that graduate in cap and gowns and the children wear jeans or they usual clothes under the gowns. What they do after the graduation is all up to them.

  9. Jennifer Phillips
    Jennifer Phillips July 4, 2017 at 6:43 am

    I am in total agreement with her

  10. Francia Matthews
    Francia Matthews July 4, 2017 at 6:45 am

    This is really, really true. the first thing I agree with you with

  11. Alison Graham
    Alison Graham July 4, 2017 at 6:49 am

    This one I agree with also. Recently spoke to someone, who couldn’t attend their graduation due to the basic cost to attend.

  12. Mhizz Kelly P Forde
    Mhizz Kelly P Forde July 4, 2017 at 7:04 am

    First common sense @thing to ever come out her mouth . Graduation fees are high cause we parents have to also pay for the teachers that attending the dinners n balls. So she should talk bout that too !!!!

  13. Ingrid Drakes
    Ingrid Drakes July 4, 2017 at 7:13 am

    I totally agree with this one. It is unnecessary. School uniform is enough, if the schools have gowns that they rent for a minimal fee, fine that should be enough.

  14. Samantha Best July 4, 2017 at 7:25 am

    I totally agree. It is beyond ridiculous. Barbarians are not yet fully aware that there is a need to tighten their belts. Persons in authority, be it in schools colleges or universities think it is still business as usual!

    Look at UWI Cave Hill, Faculty of Medical Sciences ‘Oath Ceremony’. The pomp to satisfy some persons’ ego and compare the ceremonies held by sister campuses Mona and St. Augustine. Persons at these two campuses were called together in their respective lecture theatres, oath taken, few speeches, over. Here at Cave Hill, thousands of dollars spent, oath taken, pomp and pageantry. Persons still complaining about money spent and who they owe as a result.

  15. Baje Mcg
    Baje Mcg July 4, 2017 at 7:36 am

    The only graduations needed are when one completes secondary and university….totally ridiculous doing graduations for other schooling

    • Glenn Damon Clarke
      Glenn Damon Clarke July 4, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Why? The children worked their asses off for cxc for 5/6 years, and you don’t think a graduation is appropriate and in order for them? No celebration of their accomplishment? Come on man. I for one was proud as hell with my secondary school graduation.

  16. Greengiant July 4, 2017 at 7:59 am

    School graduations should be held in the school halls, so the little one can see the pomp of graduation. They will then maybe work harder to get the prizes awarded the graduants. The NCPTA should be a big part of the decision making process on graduations, but they too as been the case for decades are wrapped up politically.

  17. Sandra Estwick
    Sandra Estwick July 4, 2017 at 8:16 am

    What is wrong with children graduating in their uniforms and as Sharon Taylor said if wanna want luxury pay for it

    • Sharon Taylor
      Sharon Taylor July 4, 2017 at 8:20 am

      All parents cant afford the luxury…. My daughters graduating class had a poolside party with a charge attached, she opted not to go…. We have to teach our children contentment…..

  18. Pat BB
    Pat BB July 4, 2017 at 8:20 am

    For yrs now, so what r u going to do about it..
    Ronald Jokes spoke pretty about it few yrs back and did nothing….
    Time will tell if u will follow him or try to get the nonsense stop….just saying.

    • Lilian Lloyd
      Lilian Lloyd July 4, 2017 at 8:39 am


    • Pat BB
      Pat BB July 4, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Lilian Lloyd, d man ain’t nothing but a JOKER

  19. Aquarius Rastress
    Aquarius Rastress July 4, 2017 at 8:24 am dam true cause I have to pay $500 an $150 to secure a space an that is for next year term feel ppl does get pay every night but not me stupseee

  20. Shelly Ross
    Shelly Ross July 4, 2017 at 8:28 am

    But who is responsible for these high priced graduations? Who is in control of the school? Who controls the graduation committees, who takes responsibility for the funds raised? Not the students and not the parents.
    One young lady who opted out of her graduation because of the cost explained to me that the teachers involved planned the whole thing.
    The venue was expensive . Each class was given a colour and her colour was purple, so not having anything in that colour she would need to buy an entire outfit. On top of that, the children were offered a photo session in cap and gown at the price of BD$75, which was in addition to the $375 for the graduation.
    What also upset this child is the fact that there are children in the graduation class who are looking to become photographers and who take pictures for the school, but they were not chosen to do the photo shoot.
    The child was also concerned about the amount of money they raised and the money that they were asked to pay.
    I am not sure why Redman is here speaking as though she just discovered something when this was going on for a while and she had ample time to discuss this and a lot more – like the cost for extra lessons for teaching that should be done in the classroom – with the same teachers that she encouraged to strike and march.

  21. Tricia Carrington
    Tricia Carrington July 4, 2017 at 8:33 am

    First time ever that I agree with what she said

  22. Jack Ryan
    Jack Ryan July 4, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Now someone has something to say about this… SEEMS LIKE THE JOB TO HAVE TODAY IS RIPPING OFF PPL.

  23. Nayo Dixon-Jordan
    Nayo Dixon-Jordan July 4, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Raven Greaves only the other day u say so yah

  24. Charming Forde
    Charming Forde July 4, 2017 at 8:54 am

    I dont usually agree with you Mary Redman, but this is one time that i have to agree, the prices are too damn high. I cant for the life of me see why a secondary school graduation has to run into hundreds of dollars. Why can’t primary and secondary children graduate in their school clothes?

  25. joan Worrell July 4, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Dear Mary
    Can you tell us who circularize the parents about the wear for these functions? Is it the parents who decide what the children should wear? Do your members have an input to the planning of these ceremonies. Do your members and the respective principals agree on the location for holding these expensive ceremonies?

  26. joan Worrell July 4, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    May I ask who decide on the expensive wear for these occasions and the locations where they are held? Is it the parents? Is it the Ministry? Is it the public? Just asking because the editor would not allow me to ask questions of the person whom I suspect should be aware of these decisions. Every post is awaiting consideration or deliberation and finally ending up being deleted.

  27. joan Worrell July 4, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    The first paragraph of this article states quote” President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman is concerned that in the face of the country’s dire economic circumstances, some schools are unduly expensing parents by insisting on lavish graduation ceremonies.”

    As far as I know, schools are the buildings where children attend classes. Can someone tell me who sends the circulars to parents about the lavish graduation ceremonies

  28. joan Worrell July 4, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I agree with Ms. Redman

  29. joan Worrell July 4, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Ha ha ha ha. The only way I can get my posts published is by saying that I agree with Ms. Redman. Wuh. loss muh belly. All the other comments are awaiting moderation.

  30. tedd July 4, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    we have graduation whether the child passed or not, this is merely extravagance gone wild. all about keeping up the Jones. the effort spent on raising all that money and the amount of money would be better used if it were for an improvement in the school, its equipment, paint , furniture, computes etc which would add educational value for a number of years. these graduations are a glorified fete.

    when I left primary school we had pizza and Kool-Aid in the class room and the teacher congratulated the students in grouped by school. we had a ball.

  31. Alex Alleyne July 4, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Doing it USA style.

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