Minister of Education Ronald Jones is “incompetent and inefficient” and “a disaster of epic proportions” who has done untold damage to the ministry, according to one of Jones’ strongest critics.
In a stinging rebuke of the minister, his nemesis Reverend Charles Morris contended that Jones did not have what it took to steer the Ministry of Education in the right direction.
“[His stewardship] is a disaster of epic proportions . . . and he should be removed as Minister of Education. In my opinion what the minister has done to education is worse than a combination of all the natural disasters the region has faced,” Morris told Barbados TODAY in a recent interview.
He even questioned Jones’ proficiency in English.
“I think also that the minister needs to improve on his English because it is poor,” Morris said.
What angered the history teacher at Combermere School was Jones’ latest criticism of teachers who have refused to correct the Caribbean Examination Council’s School Based Assessment (SBA) projects unless they are paid.
The Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) has argued that the SBAs are not part of the teachers’ job description and that they form part of an external examination.
In a fiery address last Thursday at the Ellerslie Secondary School’s Speech Day and Prize Giving Ceremony at the Western Light Church of the Nazarene in Oxnards, St James, Jones suggested those demanding pay to correct the SBAs were jeopardizing the students’ educational well-being for a few dollars more.
“You are going to suffer the little children for $60 or $100 or even $120 [extra]. There is no money that I can offer that would make it palatable for the marking of anybody’s script,” Jones said at the time.
However, Morris charged that Jones, a former trade unionist, has done little more than hurl insults at teachers during his eight years as the minister, giving students a licence to disrespect teachers.
The educators have had enough, he said.
“My issue is that the minister should find something proper to say when he goes to address speech days. Here is a Minister of Education who has spent the last eight years cursing teachers,” he argued.
“When you go to a speech day and you curse teachers in the presence of children then those children have to relate to teachers the next day, what you think is going to happen? What are you saying about discipline in the school?
“I think the minister has gone overboard with these foolish things. He does not know about SBAs and the time has come where the minister should be declared incompetent and inefficient in dealing with the Ministry of Education,” he added.
Morris, who is an Anglican cleric, suggested that the minister’s attitude towards the teachers had not pervaded the ministry, giving Permanent Secretary June Chandler credit for treating educators with respect.
“[She is] the only person that has put a human face to it while the minister spends his time cursing teachers, and he should be removed as Minister of Education,” he argued.