The Al Falah Muslim School is looking to expand.
Having moved from just a primary school to a private institution with secondary students, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harry Husbands said after a tour of the school that the administrators had indicated they had more applications than they could accept.
Husbands noted that in past years the school had been excelling at Common Entrance, and both boys and girls had impressed in other areas as well.
With a roll of 220, he said the principal had remarked that they were turning down requests.
“The principal said that this year they have more students entering the Common Entrance than before and in the past the results have been impressive. They have been turning back students, the principal said, both Muslim and non-Muslim,” he said, adding that the principal credited this to the fact that the public had come to realise the value of the education there.
“They do not have enough space and are looking for a location to do some expansion. In general we now have a landscape with private education in Barbados that is changing,” remarked Husbands.
While underscoring the diversity of the offerings at the island’s numerous private schools, he commented that the change in the local private school landscape had seen the growth of a lot more religious schools than previously obtained in the island.
“On a personal level, I am somewhat torn about it. I went to Wesley Hall and taught at Wesley Hall and I would have taught at a time when the Close Bretheren and Muslims were sent to the school. Now these are communities, along with several other Christian-based ones, that now have their own school.
“Is it a good or bad thing…? I suppose they would have made a choice to go out on their own and with the expansion of the families in these communities themselves, I suppose there is a need for their own school,” he remarked to Barbados TODAY.
“We have the Seventh Day Adventist, the Close Bretheren, the Muslim School and other Christian-based schools in the system now. It’s not really a problem once the high education standards are maintained in terms of teaching and learning,” he added.
Husbands has spent the last few weeks touring the private schools and had said at the end he hoped to bring them all together to discuss their concerns and challenges and plot a way forward.
He noted that during the tours so far he had seen about three that were going out of business, but nevertheless the diversity was very obvious, and added that he was very pleased with what he had seen on the many tours thus far. (LB)
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