School system falling short, QC principal warns

Amid rising crime and violence, a leading educator is suggesting that the school system is failing way too many of this region’s young people and that teachers must take their fair share of the blame for society’s problems.

“With all the troubles we have in teaching and the teaching profession I look forward to the day of the teacher’s service commission . . . you need a system of which you can regulate and put terms and conditions on those who enter the system, conditions for entry and exit, if you don’t do your job, leave,” suggested Principal of Queen’s College Dr David Browne, as he zeroed in on the issue of education and its role in development as he delivered a guest lecture at the Rotary Club of Barbados West’s Tuesday night meeting.

“I believe the school should and could play a greater role in the transmission of values for preparing people for their roles in society,” said Browne, while warning that “any breakdown in the values of our society, any explanation of deviance, is at the door and at the feet of all of us, and the school system will take its fair share [of blame]”.

The principal also advocated for more soft skills to be taught at secondary schools, while lamenting the high number of students leaving school every year without certification.

“As practitioners you fail if 70 per cent of the people you are teaching fail in getting certification,” Browne said, while suggesting that educators should be constantly thinking about their craft and presenting solutions to problems.

“I believe that we need to do more in citizenship education, to teach soft skills . . . so that our students, on leaving school, will be able to live and function in the world of work.”

The principal further suggested that on the whole more needed to be done to ensure that Barbados gets more value for the money spent on public education.

“It is frightening and it cannot go on, if we spend 20 per cent of our national budget on education we got to get more value for money. We have to do more,” he said while stressing that “schools must be at the forefront of values transmitted from generation to generation”.

Browne argued that the recent surge of violence was not surprising. In fact, he suggested that crime and violence had been on an upward spiral since the 1980s. However, he said it was the responsibility of citizens to bring the situation back under control.

“The escalation of violence that we have, has been with us for quite a while, but it should not continue any longer, it should not make us feel unsafe in our homes but we should create a society that all of us feel free to live in, that people will feel free to invest in and enjoy,” he said.

17 Responses to School system falling short, QC principal warns

  1. Ashanda Coward
    Ashanda Coward September 29, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Not now every since it has been failing.

  2. Shelly Ross
    Shelly Ross September 30, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Well, well, well… and I smile!

    Thank you sir for speaking out

  3. jennifer September 30, 2017 at 4:27 am

    For a minute I thought he was talking about changing the matrix of servitude in this indoctrination process. Well in that case prepare for more failure. But you said it correctly “ROLES IN SOCIETY” nothing more.

  4. Tony Webster September 30, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Minister Jones: are you listening? Prime Minister: might you have an urgent, meaningful chat with Minister Jones? Yes, preferably with the full Thursduh Throng. Yes, ASAP.

    And our collective thanks to you, Dr.Browne!

  5. Cyan Jada
    Cyan Jada September 30, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Principals need to be rotated..he has lots of solutions sitting pleasantly at QC everyday amongst the BEST crop of the island… go share them at some of the lower ranked schools

    • Jennifer September 30, 2017 at 10:01 am

      @Cyan – I can see where u r going, but that will have little impact. You are actually dealing with a curriculum within a cirriculum. QC teachers will only be able to teach St George cirriculum for example.

      • Jennifer September 30, 2017 at 10:10 am

        The children are taught based on what their head can take in. AND THIS FACT STARTS FROM within PRIMARY SCHOOL or even in the home setting. This is why Alma Parris children was never allotted to QC etc. A teacher on the other can leave Parkinson or St Lucy and fit in at HC or QC. It is the matrix system.

        • Jennifer September 30, 2017 at 10:13 am

          And this goes for principals too.

  6. Alex Alleyne September 30, 2017 at 9:07 am

    typically Caribbean style, it is always after the fact /the horse done bolted.
    Just look at how long it took and after how many Young Men got “Blown away” before the AG done something that reap rewards and then the Justice System step in and muddy up the flow .

    • Jennifer September 30, 2017 at 9:54 am

      That is because they want to keep the horses running.

  7. Sue Donym September 30, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Of course Dr Brown is correct. We’ve seen the decline and we’ve hoped that it would somehow right itself; when the painful truth is that we gave up simple proven methods for newfangled fluff. We cast off rote, repetition and reinforcement for projects that were bulky and well presented but did little to test students’ understanding of the material. Syllabuses are packed with sweet sounding elements, testing endurance more than comprehension.

    Ironically, this is why a school based assessment has much value for a teacher who should be fully informed about where the student stands.

    But it’s left to the administrators to admit where we are, do the necessary assessments and address the relevant issues; either that or our educational institutions will be little more than day care facilities.

    • Primsee September 30, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      About a year to two years ago Dr I Marshall made similar comments at St Stephens graduation ceremony and was met with the fury of the Minister of Education and since then educators from all walks of life have being singing from the same hymn sheet.
      When is the Minister going to stop the mouthing and take heed?

  8. mark September 30, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Teachers at skls only teach what is put on the school curriculum. So it has nothing to do with the teachers.

  9. Primsee September 30, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    About a year to two years ago Dr I Marshall made similar comments at St Stephens graduation ceremony and was met with the fury of the Minister of Education and since then educators from all walks of life have being singing from the same hymn sheet.
    When is the Minister going to stop the mouthing and take heed?

  10. bobo October 2, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Ref to QC Principle—outside your daily job have you ever spoken

    with the local children about their needs–how hurtful they are when teachers named them”’slow learners ”why teachers embrace the so named ”academics”children — and as a Principle of the once prestigious school– WHY are you teaching a 21st century generations with a 17th century curriculum– living in a Democratic country –Why —you never spoke out against R Jones who has very little evolving knowledge of his job– one of the main reason crime has over taken my country

    Soft Skills—how did you become Principle — there and then you should know — the Creator created every living element in two’s
    there are two different children to be educated -each was given a talent –each talent has to be develop for his /her survival—-each talent has its own values- and each child has to have skills training-
    – leaving education development with a qualified certificate-hence both genders qualifications will be accepted world wide – there and then 20 per of national budget will be well spent.

  11. bobo October 2, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    QC Principle D Brown quote–i believe school should and could play a greater role in the transmission of values for preparing people for their roles in society–

    Question please — what is the purpose of education development–to remain in a primitive state —-or— to be civilized in all matters of education development– so that he she can execute their God given role – locally – internationally–hence” self responsible humans taking responsibility of their country (building the economy) and taking responsibility of their their lives-

    Hence -good education executed by humans who understand ””a country cannot progress forward without all elements are UNIFIED”,,D Brown will all my respect get REA

  12. Thunder October 2, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Finally some truth I thank you mister Brown for your honesty,it is the hypocrisy in this country that I can’t deal with,and in order for this country to go forwards we must have discussions like this.
    Children spend 8 hours at school, and sometimes more and we are fooling ourselves if we think teachers don’t have a positive I negative influence on our children.
    School should not just be about Education, but should also prepare kids for work,the school curriculum should also include skills,like cooking,pastry making,cake decorating,sewing or fashion designing just to name a few,so that children whjo are at least good in such areas,wouldn’t have to feel unimportant.
    Every child cannot be academically inclined,and contrary to what some people believe, they are people who make more money being good at a skill,than some people do having education
    Also having the right people to work with kids is very important, being educated does not mean you should work with kids,because before anyone works with kids the reason why they choose that profession should be intrinsic love for kids.
    I would also like teachers to be held accountable for how they treat people’s children at school,and until those we are willing to remove those who abuse their power, or reprimand anyone who abuse their power,we are just taking one step forward and two steps backward.


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