Submitted by Looking Glass
UWI, Cave Hilll
Development in any language means change, a break with the past and is people oriented. National Development of which economic development is but a component is personal and qualitative. It depends on our ability to innovate, create and organize and requires an intellectual leap into the future. Resistance to such change is not so much a personal problem but a structural impediment created by the socio-economic system in general and the educational system in particular. In this context our educational system in its current manifestation becomes a repressive developmental factor.
In today’s world the foundation of economic growth and development is the function of human skill not foreign investment. In the world of technology fortunes are made not only in the manufacture off products but by inventing products and processes. Important factors include education and innovation. National development implies the power to create wealth which, in the final analysis depends on our ability to generate new ideas and to turn them into reality.
Here education is crucial. East Asian countries invested huge sums in education designed to facilitate economic growth and industrialisation; their forte product improvement and product creation. The Ivory Coast, a backward country at independence is today a wealthy country. Large sums were invested in education and agriculture rather than industrialisation, and government ensured the implementation and nurturing of programmes needed for development.
For some time the BU family has been concerned that successive governments have been satisfied with throwing money at education and hoping for the best outcomes. The commonsense view routinely expressed on BU that resources should be optimally allocated by aligning the school curriculum to a national policy appears to be an alien concept to the authorities. How do we transform to a high performance jurisdiction if we continue to grow the existing cadre of graduates? How can Barbados nurture and grow its knowledge and skill pool to ensure that we become competitive and productive if we continue to allow the tail to wag the dog? We should have a national strategy which clearly defines the industry segments we know we can compete based on solid research, and educate our people to become the core workforce within those segments.
Submitted by William Skinner
1920 Model T
As impossible as it is to produce a car for 2013 on a production line of 1960, so is it to produce a citizen for the new emerging world economy from an education system that has been on automatic pilot since the 1960’s. We are still describing an educational system as the building of school plants but we really need to focus on building citizens.
It is common nowadays to describe some people as brilliant without furnishing the slightest evidence. We have reached the stage of accepting mediocrity and dazzle. We have some scribes amongst us, who have mastered the art of regurgitating every idea they have read or heard somewhere else. We have fallen victim to the over worked clichés but the simple truth is that when separated from all the fancy sound bites, we are really shouting loud, writing pretty but saying absolutely nothing.
There are no real thinkers about and the few that we have, who can really make a difference, we are trying to pull down. Everybody seems to be singing for their political supper; hanging on to useless political coat tails in the hope that the next election cycle would benefit them. Apparently we are acting the way we were educated, to be followers not thinkers.
The wonderful sight of teacher and pupil reunited at the Alexandra School – Photo credit Barbados Advocate
He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough – Lao Tzu
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is defined as all “the final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time”. Can BU draw a parallel and define the well being of a country by the quality of key decisions made by the ‘leaders’ in a given period?
The debate which continues to gain traction in Barbados is about the Alexandra dispute and related issues. It has displaced discussion about the upcoming general election, and significantly, a conversation about the state of the economy. If one were to ask any educated Barbadian what issue should be occupying the attention of the country, the answer should be ‘managing the economy’. It does not mean that all the issues at play in the country should be ignored, just that the exigencies of now require priority planning how we allocate resources.
Tension at the Alexandra School has peaked and troughed since 2005, surely an indictment on the management system with oversight for education. Many problems currently being wrestled by the government have straddled both political parties and different personnel in the public service. What it exposes is a rotten core which drives decision making in Barbados.
Posted in Barbados, Barbados Education, Barbados Media, Barbados News, Blogging
Tagged Alex, Alexandra Dispute, Alexandra Inquiry, Alexandra School, BSTU, Jeff Broomes, Public Service Commission
Sir Everton watching a cricket match on the weekend, Jeff Broomes was also in attendance.
New Alexandra head and deputy along with Karen Best, deputy chief education officer and Laurie King, Chief Education Officer
Minister Suckoo and Sir Roy, key players in the LIME/BWU dispute
Leslie Lett and Amanda Greaves, key players in the AX dispute
Emergency CTUSAB Meeting
Sir Roy warning LIME
BSTU Consultant Patrick Frost
Thanks to traditional media for helping us to do a pulse check of the industrial climate in Barbados today (7 January 2013).
- The Barbados Workers Union (BWU) has threatened to shut down the country if LIME refuse to return to the negotiating table after sending home 97 workers last week.
- Jeff Broomes has been reported to be on sick leave suffering from hypertension and did not report to his new posting today.
- BSTU reports that the 18 teachers will report to headquarters until the ministry of education withdraw the transfer letters.
Karen Best, former BUT President and current Deputy Chief Education Officer
Minister Jones, visibly shaken and angry, termed the no-show a “gross insult” and the low point of industrial relations practice in the trade union history of Barbados. Mrs Karen Best, president of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), reportedly said she had never seen anything like it in industrial relations. Her [Best] comments clearly indicate her union will not support the BSTU. For the first time that I can remember, there is a split among five unions – the BSTU and Barbados Workers Union (BWU) on one side, the BUT, BAPPSS and NUPW on the other
- Nation Newspaper
It seems to be finally hitting home to Barbadians – especially the political partisans – that the Alexandra School dispute (AX) is not so easy to resolve after all. The Frederick Waterman headed commission of inquiry was suppose to wash away the problem which all have to admit predates this government coming to office.
One view of the AX matter which BU has not put under full scrutiny is the incestuous nature of the relationships of key decision makers and participants in the AX plot. Barbados we know is a small country and there is an inevitability about how personal relationships can shape public perception about how decisions are taken.
Key players in the AX Mess are Principal Jeff Broomes, Minister Ronald Jones, and Deputy Chief Education Officer Karen Best who are ALL products of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT). To complete the BUT connection we should declare that current President of the Barbados Union of Teachers is Pedro Shepherd who recently challenged for the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) nomination in St. Michael South East.
Of special interest to BU is the recent appointment of Karen Best who has responsibility for schools.
‘Ingredients’ for a cabal you think? It gets better.
Posted in Barbados Education, Barbados News, Blogging, Caribbean News, Fruendel Stuart
Tagged . Ronald Jones, Alexandra School, Alexcandra Report, AX, Barbados Union of Teachers, BSTU, BSTU/Mary Redman, BUT, Dennis Clarke, Education, Hal Gollop, Jeff Broomes, Karen Best, NUPW, Pedro Shepherd, Walter Maloney
Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union
The supposed conclusion to the long-running Alexandra debacle appears to have caused more problems than it would have solved. Some might argue, and I am tempted to agree, that the resolution imposed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) has solved nothing. It would appear that the PSC attempted to settle the internecine warfare that was being waged for years by awarding neither side a victory.
The cowardly solution has resulted in over twenty teachers, including all but one of Alexandra’s management team, being transferred and scattered throughout the Teaching Service. It has proven to be unpopular with a majority of those involved in this unsightly mess. Also, it would appear that the PSC did not consider or paid blatant disregard to the harm their actions would be inflicting on the students who are about to take examinations. The teachers will get over the effects of the transfers with time; but the harm inflicted on the children is potentially devastating on those 4th, 5th and 6th form students whose future could very well be affected.
The harm to the education system and the children aside, the justice system in this country could be irreparably damaged by the fallout from the ill-advised actions of the PSC. The Waterman Commission made recommendations for limited transfers, but unfortunately, the PSC went overboard and transferred/punished most, if not all, of the teachers that appeared before the commission of inquiry as witnesses.
Posted in Barbados, Barbados Education, Barbados Government, Barbados News, Blogging
Tagged Alexandra Dispute, Alexandra School, Alexandra School Dispute, Frederick Waterman, Jeff Broomes, PSC, Public Service Commission, Public Service Commission of Barbados, Waterman Commission
Submitted by Yardbroom
Ronald Jordan reacts to his transfer to Alexandra – Image credit Nation
I wonder how many of those teachers, who assiduously canvassed for the Head to be “separated” from the school, thought that they too would be separated, and if they did, why did they fight with such alacrity [eagerness]?…I have only posed a question.
The general idea from the present Government’s perspective was to solve a major problem and this up to a point they have done. The main players are no longer at the school, the school has an opportunity to do what it is mandated to do…teach children and thus move on.
Many of the major participants will never be the force they once were and some at the end of careers, will be remembered for things they would rather forget.
The following is a critique of the Alexandra Inquiry matter by Senior Law Lecturer at the University of the West Indies Jeff Cumberbatch and a BU family member.
Senior Law Lecturer Jeff Cumberbatch – reproduced from the Barbados Advocate – 04 October 2009
There is an English equivalent, but the French, in their own inimitable way, put it so much more elegantly: “Plus ça change, plus la même chose” – the more things change, the more they remain the same. This might have been the exact sentiment of more than a few objective bystanders after the public release of the report of the Waterman Commission of Inquiry into the Alexandra School. From all accounts, those who were, before the report – see WATERMAN REPORT, in favour of the censure of Mr. Jeff Broomes, the principal, for his alleged misdeeds, now feel a sense of vindication by the report that has recommended, inter alia, his “separation” from that institution. On the other hand, those who were firmly in his corner previously and of the view that he had done nothing wrong, have chosen to reject the commission’s findings in that regard. These opinions are to be expected. But what of the report itself? Has the commission really achieved its objective after the comparatively substantial sums spent on its production?
Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank/Watchdog Group
Ronald Jones, Minister of Education
For some time, the society as a whole has been vehement in blaming our teachers for what many consider as deteriorating educational standards. Mahogany Coconut is of the view that such blame is unfounded and unfair. When we examine our educational system, we conclude that the vast majority of our teachers are competent and extremely professional. However, we do not subscribe to the view that they are poorly paid. Taking into consideration our resources, their salaries are comparable if not more attractive than those in many developing countries. We also suggest that our school plant, at all levels, is vastly superior to what obtains in many of our neighboring island states.
Since the mid 70’s, the collective DLP/BLP government, has systematically succeeded in damaging the image of our teachers and the general public has supported the DLP/BLP. As far back as the late 60’s and early 70’s, there have been clashes with prominent educators and our political leaders. The late and distinguished Dame Elsie Payne and Prime Minister Errol Barrow; the Glasgow affair at the Lodge School are two that stand out. Mr. Clyde Griffith, former BLP senator, once said that all teachers do is frequent rum shops. Former minister of Education Sir Louis Tull (BLP) lied on teachers by suggesting that they did not want to supervise the children during lunch. According to him, this lack of supervision meant that young children were eating lunch, after going to the “toilets”, without washing their hands thereby running the risk of spreading disease. This lie was told simply because teachers wanted their full lunch hour, after supervising the children.Mr.Tull was brilliant enough to take a simple trade union request(BUT) and turn it into a health issue.
Minister of Finance at a St. James Branch meeting held on the weekend defended government’s performance in difficult times. The unveiling of several projects by government has forced many Barbadians to ask how will they be financed and how quickly will they be mobilized.
Submitted by Looking Glass
The creation of an “educated underclass” is very costly and distinctly regressive.
Development in any language means change. National development of which economic development/industrialisation is but a component requires a significant break with the past. It requires structural change and an intellectual leap into the future. Resistance to such change is a structural impediment created by the socio-economic system. The educational system in its current manifestation is a very costly repressive factor in the development process.
National development of which economic development is part implies the power to create wealth. It is dependent on our ability to generate ideas and turn them into reality.
Development is qualitative; growth like the GNP refers to the increase in size and is quantitative. GNP refers to the total value of goods and services produced. It includes consumption, investment, government spending and the excess of imports over exports. Changes in GNP do not necessarily reflect positive changes in the economic or social structure of the country. Economic prosperity involves qualitative factors. In today’s world the foundation of growth is human skill. One of the most important factors in development is education, the kind that provides a broad general knowledge, facilitates managerial competence and innovation. The latter will be manifested in new product creation and production.
Commissioner Frederick Waterman – Photo Credit: Nation
The final arguments from lawyers representing all parties in the Alexandra School Dispute have been submitted and Barbadians await the report from lone Commissioner Frederick Waterman. It is obviously the report will be delivered before the September school term begins.
There was a sense by BU during the last two weeks of the Inquiry that it was hurried along; and for an obvious reason. The first school term is scheduled to begin on the 10 September 2012 and given known timelines the Waterman Report will be late. Therefore the 64k question is – what will be the next phase of the AX Affair?
It is early days yet to evaluate the performance of the Alexandra Commission. However, BU is concerned the Commissioner made some questionable decisions which will impact the quality of the final report. For example, it is understood from our sources that the aunt of Miss X whom we reported on another blog the student in the transcript affair was to go to live in the USA to facilitate school there, was in Barbados and prepared to give evidence. BU understands she was seized with interesting bits of information as a result of her visit to the school to which Miss X was to attend and where the transcript was allegedly sent by the secretary. Our source has advised that she had proof no such transcript was received by the US school. A reasonable conclusion to be made, the transcript was never sent. We have been reliably advised that Commissioner Waterman refused to allow this witness to be called.