Minister of Education Ronald Jones believes Barbados needs more sixth-form schools to properly prepare students for education at the tertiary level.
Speaking at the launch of Education Month, under the theme Education: 50 and Beyond, at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mile-and-a-Quarter, St Peter this morning, Jones said children should be given greater opportunity to develop while still at secondary school.
“We want children between the ages of 16 and 18 to have other opportunities to develop their character, to develop academic wise, to develop more skills within secondary schools, leaving the tertiary institutions to have proper developed students when the time is right. I hope to have three or four more sixth-form schools before I leave this office,” he said.
Demonstrating that government viewed education as important, he pointed out that in the last eight years, four billion dollars has been spent on education in a time of significant economic challenge – “not an insignificant sum of money to educate our children from nursery to tertiary education,” Jones said.
In his address at the service, Pastor Leslie Padmore pleaded with parents and teachers to return religion to children’s lives.
He said in order to train up children in the way they should go, religion could not be forgotten.
“We desperately need to have that aspect back. Things have gone very wrong and if the Word of God takes its rightful place in the schools, we wouldn’t be having the types of problems we are having now,” Padmore contended.
He also encouraged parents and guardians not to just send children to Sunday or Sabbath school but to go with them.
“Let them see you doing the right thing, don’t just tell them,” the pastor urged.
Today’s service was attended by students from schools in the north and some of them showcased the wealth of talent they possess.
Choirs from the Coleridge and Parry and Alexandra Secondary schools presented beautiful pieces, while students from Roland Edwards Primary School performed a rhythm poetry piece.
Several activities are planned for the remainder of the month, including mall concerts, a concert in the Speightstown Esplanade, Teachers Professional Day and an education parade scheduled for October 7.