There has been a resurgence of “race and class” among the teaching and student populations of private schools here, a former university professor has charged.
According to retired Deputy Principal of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Pedro Welch, the introduction of public schools had seen a drastic reduction in the number of private learning institutions here since 1962.
However, in delivering a lecture Tuesday night on The Challenges and Contribution of the Private Schools Since 1950 at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed, the former Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education said those that had survived had “other motivations” that were driven by race.
“Increasingly in recent times in Barbados race and class is again becoming an issue which underlies the formation of some schools. It is unfortunate that this is happening, but it is happening.
“There are also another couple other schools in Barbados that if you . . . look at the population of Barbados and its racial proportions, and you look at the number of persons going to those schools it becomes apparent that there are other factors that are impacting on the growth of the private sector schools in Barbados. In those schools there is an imbalance in racial profile,” he said, adding, “you can’t take out race and class out of that”.
The former UWI professor also contended that teacher recruitment at these private schools was also based on race, as was the curriculum.
“There are a couple of schools which formed within recent times in Barbados, when you examine the curriculum of the schools and look at their staffing requirements when they are advertising for staff, [they are looking for] people who they want to teach the international baccalaureate and other things that we don’t generally teach in our schools . . . . Those private schools that continue are the ones which primarily have other motivations in their continued existence. ”
Welch’s presentation was one in a series of lectures organized by the Barbados Museum and Historical Society on The Evolution of The Educational System in Barbados: Challenges and Opportunities.
He dealt extensively with the introduction to Barbados of a school system which was all privately funded by religious or other benevolent groups.