Outgoing principal of the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School Jeff Broomes, who is scheduled to retire on May 1, has taken a parting swipe at his employers in the Ministry of Education.
“I think a lot of the time the Ministry of Education does not know what is going on and it does not care,” said the outspoken principal today in an interview with Barbados TODAY.
Rapping current management of the education system, he added: “Ministry officials do not interact with the schools. I do not think that the Ministry of Education is serious about what it is doing.
“I have written six letters to the ministry and I am yet to receive a response or an acknowledgment. I have decided that they do not care and I do not worry anymore.”
Broomes, who is expected to spend his final day on the job on April 29, also called for corporal punishment to be abolished in the island’s schools.
Broomes, who prior to the interview had shared his lunch with a group of students in his office, said he was opposed to corporal punishment because it was often administered in anger.
“The practice should not happen, but they [the authorities] refuse to change the law. Once the law remains on the statute books of the country, it will be used. Go to parliament and change the law and abolish corporal punishment. Once there is an option, it will be used at schools,” he said.
During the wide-ranging interview, Broomes weighed in on the issue of violence against teachers in the classroom which was raised by President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union Mary Redman at that union’s recent annual conference.
Broomes said he was not aware of these incidents of violence against teachers in the island’s schools. However, he pointed out that during the Commission of Enquiry into The Alexandra School, he reported three incidents where teachers had directed violence at students but got no proper reaction from the commissioners.
“I smile when I read about student violence against teachers in the newspapers . . . .I spoke of a teacher reaching for a piece of metal to beat a student; the other two cases involved two female teachers slapping two male students in their faces. At that time, the commissioners said the teachers were stressed out,” the retiring principal said.
The veteran educator denied that Barbadian students are wayward, arguing that this island had some of the best children. He placed the blame on parents who encouraged the few troublemakers in the school system.
Also, while agreeing that there was a need for additional guidance counsellors in the school system, he felt that the deployment of psychologists and psychiatrists would be overstating the issue.
Broomes, who was heavily criticized by the teaching staff at The Alexandra School and Parkinson School for his management style, challenged his detractors to show where he was in breach of the Education Regulations or the Education Act.
He contended that all he sought from the teaching staff were schemes of work which outlined what each would be teaching from the first day of term right through to the final day.
“Teaching is about planning. You cannot go into a classroom swiping. If you are swiping, children will suffer. I needed to know what you are going to teach and the road map that you are following. I asked for schemes of work and apparently it was not done at Alexandra school before,” he said. (NC)