Students protesting the quality and price of the canteen food at Grantley Adams Memorial School are getting the backing of Democratic Labour Party (DLP) leader Verla De Peiza.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, De Peiza said the students are reflecting some of the spirit of the island’s national heroes such as the Father of Independence and first Prime Minister Errol Walton Barrow, Clement Payne and Grantley Adams after whom the school is named.
“I am impressed by the students of Grantley Adams taking a stand and a peaceful stand for what they believe to be their rights. You don’t have to agree with them in terms of what they want, but standing up for what they believe to be right, whether in the end they are determined to be wrong, or they are held to be right, they have a position…they have come togther, coalesced and they have the courage to voice it,” De Peiza said.
She argued that the children would not have known to protest if they didn’t see those examples from heroes then and now.
On the issue of education, the DLP president is suggesting a shift in focus from academics to a greater balance that includes the technical or technological.
“I think that all children are born as lateral thinkers. They often misread our adult cues because they are thinking like a child. We start then to blinker them and shepherd them literally like sheep in a particular direction and learning by rote and not allowing the expansion of the mind to continue. I think that is where we now need to move education,” she added.
“So it is not, for me, about free tertiary education or about free secondary school education or about free nursery education, it is about what you are offering at each of these stages to ensure that we are not only meeting today’s requirements but we have considered what our future requirements are and set ourselves up for that,” the successor to former DLP president Freundel Stuart said.
She said the country needs now to be watching trends ahead for those especially in primary school in that they would not be graduating for another 12 to 15 years.
“So we don’t want to be training them for now, but in 15 years there is a completely different requirement. So what we need to be doing is constantly revising where we are at, where we want to go and how we are going to get there. Because once you know those two positions, we can work out a path in between. So I see education needing to change its focus. The last Administration started it. Hopefully this new Administration will continue it to have something more than academic achievements lauded,” De Peiza told Barbados TODAY.