Complaining that some schools had greater access to resources than others, the principal of one rural primary school today appealed to the Ministry of Education to level the playing field, and to ensure that children in the public system have equal access to a quality education.
A passionate Pamela Small-Williams, who is the principal of Sharon Primary in St Thomas, spoke during the school’s 2015 graduation ceremony, themed Follow Your Dream, held at the Lester Vaughn School this morning.
She lamented that some schools, including Sharon, had to “beg” for resources, while others were able to access support much more readily.
“What about the physical condition of the school plant? Does every school plant have sufficient furniture for both pupils and teachers? Is the janitorial staff sufficiently able to keep the school clean?
“Is the general worker able and capable to perform his duties? And most importantly, are there sufficient benefactors to subsidize the programmes of each school?” she asked.
The principal also highlighted the current imbalance between private and public schools in Barbados, while vowing to continue her fight on behalf of her “children”.
“. . . They know my name well in the Ministry. I will continue to agonize for the students of Sharon Primary,” Small-Williams said, emphasizing that “it is unfair when some of our primary schools are not given equally”.
“And then you expect the same results when bigger children have to be sitting on smaller chairs,[and] teachers have to be seated at desks that will soon come apart and hurt them.
“All of that is not fair,” she stressed.
Turning her attention to the 61 graduands, Small-Williams told them it was impossible for their parents and guardians to dream for them.
She suggested that by now, they should already be thinking in terms of a career path.
She also called on parents to be alert and aware of the company their children keep.
“They will also meet pupils who are [not] worthy of their friendship and other undesirables who will pressure them to engage in inappropriate behaviour. Please encourage them to choose their friends wisely,” she said.
“Don’t be afraid to ask them who are their new friends and be prepared to carry out your own investigations if necessary,” she added.
The principal stressed: “It is better to offends at this early stage of their development by being vigilant and attentive than to be careless and negligent and shed tears later”.