This country’s head of state is concerned about recent reports of violence in schools.
And yesterday, as Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave addressed students at the Gordon Greenidge Primary School in St Peter, he issued some timely advice that could well have been rendered from any school podium across the island.
Respect your teachers and do not to fight them, said Sir Elliott, who not only stressed the important role played by teachers in this country’s education system, but also the substantial investment that has been made by successive Governments in the learning sector.
While assuring teachers that they were held in high esteem, he reminded the educators of their responsibility to do the best they could for their charges.
“A lot of the wealth of the country is spent on education and rightly so, because we haven’t got many natural resources and our principle resource is our people. Successive Governments spent a lot of money in seeking to educate our youth,” he said.
The Governor General called on students to appreciate their education, saying it was one of the surest and safest ways of rising from the bottom.
And as the island celebrates 50 years of political independence from Britain, the Governor General, who is the British monarchy’s representative on the island, called on them to demonstrate patriotism by knowing the national anthem and pledge.
“You must cultivate the habit of reading good books. It is only by reading good books, and understanding how people write, and how they speak, that you can become articulate and stand up before a mic before 100 or 200 people without notes,” Sir Elliott added.
Going into a brief history of the school named after a famous West Indian cricketer, he urged the students to follow the high standard set by its namesake.
“Don’t be brawling. Try and be lady-like and gentleman-like, and you will succeed. Children must not bring dangerous weapons to school. You must not fight and carry on like what you find [now with some students] carrying on and doing a lot of foolishness,” he said.
Over the past year and a half, the country’s head of state has been visiting primary schools across the island to meet and greet young Barbadians, and encourage them to focus on their education and future endeavours.
During his visits, he is usually treated to an entertainment session, highlighted by cultural performances put on by students.
Yesterday was no different and the Governor General said the students at Gordon Greenidge did not disappoint, as he highlighted a violin presentation and the school’s choir singing his favourite song, The Ash Grove.