If Barbados is to be a confident nation with a confident people, it will require a change in the way that we educate our children, says Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
And she said there will be reform of the education system this parliamentary term.
“The notion that we will continue to write off children at the age of 10 and 11 and 12 is the greatest tragedy of a post-Independence Barbados,” the Prime Minister said during the swearing in ceremony of the new Government at State House on Wednesday.
“If I pray for nothing else in this term, it is that our education system finally be reformed to give every Barbadian boy and girl,” she said to applause, “every Barbadian boy and girl that chance to be the best they can be having associated with the best that the country has to offer to applause.”
The Prime Minister said the school system must therefore be organised on two premises:
That children must take the decision when they are truly capable of knowing what their future is to look like; ten- and 11-years-old is too young for that.
That every school must be a school of excellence.
She lauded Deputy Prime Minister and former Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw for “doing the heavy lifting” so incoming Minister Kay McConney can now move forward with the education reform agenda.
Since taking office back in 2018, successive Mia Mottley administrations have promised to move away from the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination or the Common Entrance. Bradshaw said last September that children at the primary level would no longer be prepared to write an exam.
It was anticipated that a new system would have been put in place by 2021, but challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to remote teaching and learning delayed this.
Work has already started via the Education Reform Unit which has drafted a framework for the new structure.
Earlier, Mottley said Civics should also be put back on the curriculum because there was “too much ignorance with respect to how Government works”. (SAT)