All children must benefit from the best that Barbados’ education system has to offer.
Minister of Education Ronald Jones outlined this position as he spoke during a presentation of books to primary schools at his office in the Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St Michael this morning.
The Minister said no child should be left behind and should have access to every opportunity available in the country. However, he made it clear that reading was a critical skill required for success.
“No child left behind. Nobody’s circumstances of birth should stop them from benefiting from what this small island can provide,” he said.
Jones said the initiative by Education Officer for Reading Janelle Little and Education Officer for Language Arts Pauline Millar, was an important one.
“From time to time we must replenish the resources in all our schools but especially in our primary schools. It’s about the development of our children; giving them the ability to navigate the world,” he said.
The Minister of Education, however, expressed concern that too many people had bought into the belief that boys did not like to read and not enough was being done to encourage them in this direction.
“I don’t know where this distinction of boys not reading is coming from. I would love to encourage boys to read. Encourage our girls to continue to read so they can have avid conversations, conversations on their views of the world,” he said.
Jones stressed there was little one could achieve without the ability to read.
“It makes no sense doing anything else unless children can read. If they can’t read, they can’t do anything. If they can’t read, then they will have difficulties. They can’t carry on a proper conversation; they can’t see the nuances of language. They aren’t able to operate within the banking sector, they can’t fill out forms on an airline and so on. So, spend some time encouraging reading and conversation.
“Children fashion their world by what they read. I would like to see our young people reading prolifically,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Miller, one of the event’s organisers said, “today’s activity also represents an effort to promote reading. However, it differs in that it encourages reading for pleasure by building a bridge towards traditional reading material. It does that by using contemporary or popular adolescent reading material to stimulate interest.”
The books were distributed today to ten schools during the official presentation with others to be collected by the remaining schools.