School’s out for the long summer holidays, but the island’s principals and other senior educators are still on the job in search of the right formula to deliver quality education to their charges.
Members of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPS) have been assessing Educational Leadership in Challenging Times at their inaugural education conference taking place at Hodgson Hall at the Barbados Defence Force, St Ann’s Fort Base; and the emerging consensus is that it cannot be business as usual in the classroom.
Featured speaker at last evening’s opening of the three-day meeting, Dr Idamay Denny, Portfolio Manager of Education at the Caribbean Development Bank, said the problems confronting schools today were concerning and should be treated as a call to action for educators to step up their game.
“This is our country and these are our children. They may not always behave in the ways we want them to, but at this stage, they may not necessarily know what is best for themselves. Their parents may not necessarily be the most cooperative persons, but we have to do what we must for these young people in spite of their parents,” she said.
Her challenge mirrored that of Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology Kay McConney who told the group that schools were operating in an environment where educators were being asked to do more with less.
She argued that the changing face of education and resulting challenges extend beyond the classroom and a collaborative approach was needed to address the issues.
“It requires partnerships, partnerships with the private sector, partnerships with the community, with the parents, with the entire system that feeds into education,” McConney said.
“It means that those people who are leading institutions have to be in a position, in a mind-set, and prepared with the skills set to be able to make the leader shift that will enable us to address these problems in a manner that is effective,” she added.
Conference chairman and Principal of Queen’s College David Browne was confident that the island’s educators were up to the task. While acknowledging that schools were trying to deliver more with less, he assured there was no shortage of commitment.
“If it is one thing that has confronted us in the last couple of years as school leaders is that we are asked to do more with [fewer] resources. We would like to expand our curriculum but we have no teachers . . . We would like to do all sorts of things but we don’t have the resources. That calls for a lot of innovation . . . to continue to expand and at the schools to give a higher quality of education with less; and that is what we intend to do at the end of this conference.”