Amid rising crime and violence, a leading educator is suggesting that the school system is failing way too many of this region’s young people and that teachers must take their fair share of the blame for society’s problems.
“With all the troubles we have in teaching and the teaching profession I look forward to the day of the teacher’s service commission . . . you need a system of which you can regulate and put terms and conditions on those who enter the system, conditions for entry and exit, if you don’t do your job, leave,” suggested Principal of Queen’s College Dr David Browne, as he zeroed in on the issue of education and its role in development as he delivered a guest lecture at the Rotary Club of Barbados West’s Tuesday night meeting.
“I believe the school should and could play a greater role in the transmission of values for preparing people for their roles in society,” said Browne, while warning that “any breakdown in the values of our society, any explanation of deviance, is at the door and at the feet of all of us, and the school system will take its fair share [of blame]”.
The principal also advocated for more soft skills to be taught at secondary schools, while lamenting the high number of students leaving school every year without certification.
“As practitioners you fail if 70 per cent of the people you are teaching fail in getting certification,” Browne said, while suggesting that educators should be constantly thinking about their craft and presenting solutions to problems.
“I believe that we need to do more in citizenship education, to teach soft skills . . . so that our students, on leaving school, will be able to live and function in the world of work.”
The principal further suggested that on the whole more needed to be done to ensure that Barbados gets more value for the money spent on public education.
“It is frightening and it cannot go on, if we spend 20 per cent of our national budget on education we got to get more value for money. We have to do more,” he said while stressing that “schools must be at the forefront of values transmitted from generation to generation”.
Browne argued that the recent surge of violence was not surprising. In fact, he suggested that crime and violence had been on an upward spiral since the 1980s. However, he said it was the responsibility of citizens to bring the situation back under control.
“The escalation of violence that we have, has been with us for quite a while, but it should not continue any longer, it should not make us feel unsafe in our homes but we should create a society that all of us feel free to live in, that people will feel free to invest in and enjoy,” he said.