Ending segregation

Alma Parris closed to end isolation of students, Jones says

Minister of Education Ronald Jones has revealed that Government chose to shut down Alma Parris Memorial School to end the isolation of the 60 students attending the 22-year-old institution.

The Speightstown-based remedial school, which catered to students who did not do well in the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE) – otherwise called the Common Entrance Exam or 11-plus – closed for good at the end of the last school year. According to Jones 25 students between the ages of 12 and 16 were relocated to Daryl Jordan Secondary School, 23 or 24 to Grantley Adams Secondary School, and an undisclosed number to St George Secondary School. Those over the age of 16 were being placed in vocational training programmes.

Although resigned to the fact that the school would be no more, several parents had complained about the manner in which  the closure was handled, while some were worried that their children would not be able to keep up with their new curricula.

However, Jones said the Alma Parris students would stand a better chance of learning alongside students with stronger academic skills.

“We have been talking for a long time about inclusive education.  Inclusive means that you don’t isolate your children from a given space, you don’t send one group here and send one group there, even though some of that happens with the 11-plus because of marks. We’re talking about children who suffer from deficits, learning challenges and need strong remediation.  They too can be educated within the given schools that we currently have,” the minister told Barbados TODAY.

“There are some schools that have been doing an excellent job in the remediation area and what I call alternative curriculum . . .  a school like Darryl Jordan has been able to refine, with the assistance of the ministry, how they meet the needs of their students across the spectrum of grade or marks that those students will get and still come out after five or six years with the level of success that they do.”   

As for the old school plant, Jones suggested the Barbados Vocational Training Board would likely utilize it.   

“We know that there is need for some space to carry out their programme in the north and therefore I’ve said to persons in the ministry that that plant, rather than it just become old, that there be some refurbishment and we use it for technical and vocational education as done by the Barbados Vocational Training Board,” he said.

Meantime, Jones announced that come the new school year in September, there would be a new education management informational system in place in all primary and secondary schools here.

It will replace the abusSTAR system, which was designed to make it easier for ministries of education across the region to provide accurate and timely reports on school and student performances.

The revelation came in the wake of the failure of several schools to issue end of term reports to students at the end of the school year on July 6 because the technology failed.

“Technology can sometimes play the fool and this one, abusSTAR, which is the student management information system which generates registers, punctuality times, with reports – the whole gamut – that actually crashed in the last week or the week before that.

“Even though we’ve created a template that [schools] can use, I guess one or two schools have not been able to, as quickly as we would have want, adjust to that template.  But by September we will have a new system deployed across the schools,” Jones told Barbados TODAY.

The minister said the new system would be “more sophisticated and advanced, yet user friendly”.

While the AbusSTAR system was designed for Caribbean schools, Jones said the Ministry of Education was considering “and we will know shortly, a customized system built by Barbadians”.

10 Responses to Ending segregation

  1. Carmela Charles
    Carmela Charles July 13, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    I will agreed with Mr. Jones on this. These kids do not have to feel they are duncey like a person mentioned in a previous article last week. Given the right teachers who can have patience, and right environment these kids will do much better. Also can uplift they self esteem#1. This system do work in North America. Give it a chance in Bim.

    Reply
  2. Robin John
    Robin John July 13, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    I agree with the rationale given for the closure of the school. Unfortunately this was not said at the outset which led to assumptions and misunderstanding. Even the parents seemed unclear. Hopefully there is oversight and support for these students as they are transitioned to a more inclusive environment.

    Reply
  3. jay don July 14, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Wow, people real easy to fool bout here. This was a school to cater to the special needs of children who are not able to handle a main stream ciriculum. They will now be taken out of that environment and placed back in to an environment, without a special ciriculium or teachers trained to meet their special needs. In other words these children are being thrown away to save money. They give the most ridiculous explanation as if they are doing this to help the children, what heartless evil people.

    Reply
  4. jay don July 14, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Wow, people real easy to fool bout here. This was a school to cater to the special needs of children who are not able to handle a main stream ciriculum. They will now be taken out of that environment and placed back in to an environment, without a special ciriculium or teachers trained to meet their special needs. In other words these children are being thrown away to save money. They give the most ridiculous explanation as if they are doing this to help the children, what heartless evil people.

    Reply
    • Milli Watt July 14, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      this decision will end badly for somebody very soon. This has nothing to do with duncey if you have a special need you have one and we ought to have a school dedicated to treating to these issues stupse. living in a banana republic is real difficult

      Reply
  5. Gearbox1964 July 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    That’s the way this gov’t operates…shabby, lawless, disrespectful, and deceitful. I would like to burn the whole lot of dum.

    Reply
  6. Ossie Moore July 14, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Look , this seems to be a ” damn if you do / damn if you don’t ” problem right here. The problem here is that most of the teachers in classrooms just don’t know how to teach properly and this is just not a Barbados problem but a problem in classrooms anywhere in the world.

    My objective here is not to go off on a tangent but to cast some light on being called ” duncey ” . . . . .and I hope that it helps.

    I went to St.John the Baptist Boys school during the 60’s (headmaster L.O Jones ) and they were some very bad teachers such as Mr. Roach , Mr.Haynes and Mr. Richards who taught the classes by teaching ” as fast as the fastest learning student in the classroom ” while physical abusing the children in the classroom because they thought that ” beating ” children made them learn faster. What an asinine , stupid idea back then.

    This meant that other students and I who were slow learners in the classroom never got the chance to catch up to the ” fast learners ” and this resulted in me failing the said Common Entrance Exam and being called duncey by some of my friends and by all of my family members.

    Well , a short while after my family left B’dos and immigrated to a bigger country I entered into that country’s school’s educational system where attention was paid to slower learning students and students with learning disabilities and I’m very proud to say today that with the help of the Almighty I did graduate from College etc , and the once called “dunce” in Barbados because of being a “slow learner ” has had an outstanding career in my chosen profession and some of those ” fast learners ” who went on to ” pass” for Harrison’s College , Combermere , Lodge , Coleridge and Parry , The Alleyne School , Alexandria, Queene’s College etc, they did not even come close to what I have achieved.

    I’m not being conceited here or bragging , but the moral of this story is let the slow learning students and students with learning disabilities know is that faith , hope and determination ( and doing your homework ) will almost always most of the time lead you to your chosen goal.

    Reply
  7. Belfast July 14, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    The newer secondary schools used to cater for these so -called slow learners, who were accommodated in a “Special ” class. Many of these students turned out later in life to be excellent artisans, craftsmen and skilled workers.

    Reply
  8. Janel Howell July 14, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Only recently I was speaking on this to a young man. He mention to me that he was not given the attention that was needed. He was label slow.

    Reply
  9. Jennifer Murray August 20, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I completely agree with Ossie Moore( that name brought back memories and a smile)….I went to high school in the 70’s and had problems in mathematics, got alotta 000’s….went to the polytechnic couldn’t keep up….was removed from the class along with four other girls with a new teacher….worked at a slower pace….we all did very well….came to the US, completed a degree in electronics….moral of the story not everyone learns at the same pace….. parents, siblings, grandparents Every one needs to help the children instead of calling them dunecy….MY BROTHER HELPED ME.

    Reply

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