Minister of Education Ronald Jones says there is nothing wrong with a principal making curriculum changes for the betterment of students at his or her school.
But in response to queries from Barbados TODAY over reports that Parkinson School Principal Jeff Broomes had been summoned to the Elsie Payne Complex to explain changes he announced to parents over the weekend, Jones spelt out the process for changing the curriculum at any of the country’s 22 secondary schools.
“Schools have over time gone through changes. St. George [Secondary] had some, Alma Parris as an alternative school would’ve had some. It isn’t that you can’t go through adjustments to the curriculum, [it] is there to satisfy the needs of the students but there is a process of sign off on that,” he said.
Having said that, the minister said he could not say whether the proposed changes to the curriculum at Parkinson had indeed followed this process, as he had not spoken to the Acting Chief Education Officer Karen Best or another officers connected.
It was on Saturday evening that the principal of the Pine, St. Michael school Jeff Broomes told parents about the changes which will also include adjustments to the uniform for those in the upper classes.
Jones further said that as the person with ultimate responsibility, according to the Education Act, he, as Minister of Education, had the right to “provide an education suitable to the needs of the particular student”.
Any changes a school wanted to make, he added, could be drawn to the minister’s attention by the school’s administration.
“These things are handled by the school and the Ministry [of Education] and everybody agrees before there’s a public discourse. Let’s say you have a curriculum offering of 30 subjects, a school can base its curriculum from any one of those subjects, you don’t have to do all, you can do some.
“There are some schools where students are not able to carry chemistry and physics, they can carry Integrated Science and Human and Social Biology rather that the those Sciences but all of that is signed off between the ministry and the particular school.
“In most instances, you tend to go with what the school might be saying because [the officials] are the ones on the ground and once they’re able to persuade that this would bring about the necessary adjustment then no problem, but I think it is always appropriate that the ministry is always brought in at the beginning rather than at the end,” Jones said. (DS)