The rearing of the island’s children has to be a collective responsibility –– none can do it alone.
And even as he uttered these words at the Princess Margaret Secondary School’s Speech Day on Friday evening, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart noted that the role of Government was to create the conditions for “lifelong education”, but stated that the responsibility for making full use of the opportunities provided rested with parents, teachers and students themselves.
The Prime Minister congratulated the school on its development in the past year, highlighting the now strong emphasis in the curriculum on “multiple intelligences”.
“There is something there to interest every child. What’s more, different forms of certification are being introduced to ensure that the appropriate tests for each child are developed.
“When the recent CXC results for Princess Margaret Secondary School were carefully studied, it emerged that the percentage of candidates passing with Grades 1 to 3 increased to 100 per cent in 2013 in the following subjects agricultural science, building and technology, information technology, physical education, principles of accounts, principles of business and technical drawing.”
He acknowledged the challenges faced by the school though, stating:
“Modern times have brought both opportunities and challenges. From the principal’s report and the information provided otherwise, I gather that every single day secondary schools like Princess Margaret Secondary are confronted by a variety of challenges . . . .
“I understand, for example, that most of the first-year intake here need remedial help with English and mathematics. These are the essential tools for reading and learning from the prescribed texts.”
When a child could not read and write, Stuart said, there was a tendency for him or her to become frustrated and express that feeling in antisocial behaviour.
“Another major challenge is the technological revolution that has provided us with appliances like the computer and the cellphone. These are very useful tools for accessing and sharing information. But we know only too well that they can be abused.
“I am therefore delighted to hear of some of the measures being undertaken at the Princess Margaret Secondary School to address some of these challenges,” he said.
Developments in Barbados, he said, had seen the emergence of centres of excellence out of some secondary schools –– outlining St Leonard’s Secondary as one such institution that had excelled in music and Spanish.
He said he was delighted to see Princess Margaret emerging in the same vein in technology and business studies, adding that these skills would be helpful as the country tried to promote business enterprise and use the latest technology as a means of pulling the economy out of the current downturn. (LB)