Submitted by Benny
Sir Hilary Beckles, Pro Vice-Chancellor, UWI
It has been repeatedly stated in the Press about the amount of money owed to the UWI by the Government. I would like it explained to the tax payers of Barbados how much the expansion at the University has cost the government in recent years. I am speaking of your philosophy of a graduate in each household. Since the Government pays the tuition for each first degree it is logical to conclude that more of the tax payers dollars are being pumped into your philosophy. Can it be explained to the people of Barbados if this was discussed with the government of the day when you conceptualise this philosophy as to how it will impact on the finances of this country?
I read again recently that you have decided to offer a part-time programme in law to persons with a first degree. This is no doubt an effort to enhance the income of the University because those who pursue this programme will have to pay. However, this programme has the potential to also impact on the finances of this country because the government pays for the tuition at the law schools. Is there really a market for this amount of lawyers? The profession is already under serious challenge with young attorneys starting in some law firms for as little as $1,500.00 per month until they generate their own income. What will be the benefits to the wider society?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Submitted by Looking Glass
Theoretically economic laws tell us that if we connect all the world knowledge pools and promote greater trade and integration the global pie will become larger and more complex. Implicit is the trickle down effect which will increase the living standards of the masses. Also implicit is the greater and more specialize the knowledge the greater will be the amount and value of jobs coming on stream. Hence the nation able to significantly increase it s knowledge force will enjoy a larger share of the pie. Among other things the theory assumes rationality of behaviour which is simply not the case. The global playing field may be flat but certainly not level. Countries differ in terms of the amount of land space, natural resources, people, markets and power. For this reason especially post secondary education should be structured to facilitate strategic development as is the case in China and other countries.
Not long ago the goal, an extension of no child left behind and unique only to Barbados was said to be a university graduate in every household by 2020.
The Pro Vice Chancellor told the Cabinet he envisioned 12000 students in the next 4 years of which 20% will be masters and doctoral grads (Advocate 2/22/2011). Now Tertiary education is said to be “critical to the strategic development of the country.” The Cave Hill Campus and the expansion should be seen as a growth area. Having a township to accommodate 15,000 will make a “profound contribution to the country’s development” (Advocate 05/07/2012).
Submitted by Ellis Chase
University of the West indies, Cave Hill
There has been something of a debate on the funding of higher education in Barbados recently. As is typical, and strange for a well educated country, clear facts and hard information have largely been absent, and persons seem to be taking political and ideological positions. The Nation newspaper recently ran an article about UWI finances after a public pronouncement by the Finance and Economic Affairs Minister. The article prompted me to seek out some hard information on UWI finances, and I was shocked at how hard it was to get some. Finally, after some wheeling and dealing I got my hands on the UWI, Cave Hill audited financials for the period 1999 to 2009.
Read full article
Submitted by Charles Knighton
Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education
Featured on the CBC newscast of Wednesday September 28th, was a segment dedicated to the opening of the Blackman and Gollop Primary School, at the end of which a priest anointed the school with “Holy Water”. Together with the minister of Education and Human Resource Development Ronald Jones’ claims of demonic possession of students as well as Magdalena (Maggie) Griffith, purportedly a teacher and Deliverance Minister claiming she has “heard demons talking to me through children” (weekend Nation, page 11) I had to wonder what treatment (if any) is accorded the humanistic revival of classical art, architecture, literature and learning of the European Renaissance in Barbadian schools?
Perhaps instead children are being regaled with reminiscences of the salubrious effects of the Dark Ages, inclusive of the Inquisition and the burning of “witches” at the stake? Perhaps instead of a field trip to Pine Hill Dairy students could gain inspiration by visiting the workplaces of local psychics, or by visiting gullies would discover the supernatural realm of elves, sprites and fairies?
Submitted by The Scout
Reverend Errington Massiah
There was an interesting article in this week’s Nation newspaper by Father Errington Massiah about the failure of two sixth form schools not gaining Barbados Scholarships. While what the Education Minister Ronald Jones said is true, he should have pointed out the flawed system used to determine the entry to secondary schools in Barbados.
As it stands Harrison College and Queens College take the cream of the crop, the other schools take the remainder. What is interesting is that for sixth form these two schools again take the top achievement students from all the other schools, it therefore stands that these two schools [Harrisons and Queens College] should take all or most of the Barbados Scholarships.
What must be realised is that all of those students who gained scholarship each year from Harrison College especially did not obtain their early secondary education at that school, instead some came from the other secondary schools, even schools which have a sixth form. Great respect is due to those students who achieve Barbados Scholarships and Exhibitions who attended the lesser secondary schools, especially the newer ones.
Submitted by Looking Glass
Hon Ronald Jones, Minister of Education
Why is it that we tend to need or require outsiders, especially those who know little or nothing about the country, to tell us what to do? Is it because it is easier to accept the views of external others, or because it saves us from the painful business of thought and investigation?
According to the Advocate (2/8/2011) the UNICF and the Education Ministry will collaborate on an education project involving 1) a survey of special educational institutions and 2) assessment of teaching and learning at the primary level. We are told that “special problems will be identified and addressed to ensure equity—among other things—across the system.” I do not recall having heard or read much if anything about our “special educational institutions” by the Ministry or officials and wonder who generated the idea. To survey what does not exist suggests the hand of external forces. If so it is likely the survey will be based on theoretical and or philosophical assumptions.
The project as reported suggests the existence of special institutions and the existence of a large number of ‘disadvantaged’ kids. How many special education institutions if any do we have? Does special education relate to mentally and or physically disadvantaged kids? If so how many such kids exist? Historically the incidence of such ‘disadvantaged’ kids has been at best very miniscule. If we now have a large number of such kids in the last 20 or so years it says a lot about the health of the population. The implications are hardly encouraging.
…take health care for instance. We are educated to believe that doctors and prescribed medication help us to get well. Billions of dollars go into this industry. In many cases ailments can a be avoided through diet and lifestyle and there are powerful medicinal properties in substances that are deemed illegal by our lawmakers. We are educated to believe there is no cure for cancer, and will (like a religious zealot) feel that anyone that claims otherwise is a madman … Maat
According to that ubiquitous source Wikipedia, “education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.”
The above extracts are instructive in the context of the current debate on whether the government is getting value for money given the significant investment it continues to pump into tertiary education. Some like Professor Michael Howard are of the view that we must be cognizant of the harsh economic conditions, a key consideration in the amount government should transfer to the UWI, Cave Hill. Others believe education must be supported at ‘all cost’ if we are to enable our people to compete on a global scale.