Independent Senator Alwyn Adams Wednesday urged the authorities to make meaningful reforms to the island’s education system as the country seeks to build on its achievements over the last 50 years.
In his contribution to debate on a resolution congratulating Barbados on its 50th anniversary of Independence, the educator told the Upper Chamber that the island owed much of its development and growth to the education sector, which he said had catapulted ordinary Barbadians into powerful positions.
Among the urgent changes proposed by Adams was a new funding model for the University of the West Indies to ensure that citizens had full access to tertiary education.
“We need a new funding model that while students ought to be asked to pay something because the cost of the expansion of education has outstripped the ability of the taxpayers to pay, we have a duty to come up with a new funding model which will be a win-win situation for the students, and for the Government and for the economy as a whole and I don’t think we have yet come up with that model,” he said.
The former principal of Coleridge & Parry also expressed concern that too many children were being left behind because they were not academically inclined. He made a case for authorities to place equal emphasis on technical subjects to ensure there was a level playing field in the classroom.
“Essentially what we want to do is to look at bringing the reforms in such a way that technical education will come on par and be given parity with academic education . . . and therefore in the next 50 years the thrust of our education would be to bring that parity of esteem to technical and vocational subjects so that students who are involved in that area of education are not to be looked down on and must be seen to be travelling on a parallel path as we go forward to grow and develop this economy,” Adams said.