Minister of Education Technology and Vocational Training Santia Bradshaw says more needs to be done to change Barbados’ rigorous educational system.
Speaking on the sidelines of a scholarship presentation at Bagatelle Great House, St Thomas Tuesday, Bradshaw said that she would like the conversation to be on assessments that lead to the 11-plus examinations.
“ I think over the last few years enough has not been said about those assessments or the ability of our students to understand subject areas because we have a lot of persons who are skilled across the board. But right now we only focus on two subject areas: Mathematics and English. Within the Ministry of Education, yes, we are looking at the 11-plus examination but we are also looking at assessments that lead to the 11-plus examination,” she said.
Bradshaw who is also the Member of Parliament for St Michael South East said that the educational system needed to ensure that students with behavioral challenges were able to reach their full potential in school.
“I believe that apart from focusing on an examination alone we should look at the continuous assessment of our young people, not just for academic qualifications, but any behavioural challenges that they may have so that we can put in place a system to deal with all types of children and the different ways they learn, instead of what has been happening which is a rigorous way of testing but also assessing our young people in the system,” Bradshaw said.
She added it was vital for Barbadians to realize that schools were different and all students learn at different paces.
“Take the children as you find them. Determine the best type of programme that will [assist] them in functioning after they leave school,” she said, adding that a lot of persons were leaving school with certificates but they were deficient in the subject area in which they were applying for employment.
Bradshaw said that Barbados needed to have a conversation on what they accepted as professionals as a student did not have to aspire to be a doctor or lawyer once they gave of their best and did an honest day’s work.
“The Ministry of Education is focusing heavily on technical and vocational skills. It is an area I believe was neglected for a while and I want us to get to a point where becoming a skilled labourer with technical skills is just as important as becoming a doctor or a lawyer,” Bradshaw said.
The Minister said she has advised principals to teach students life skills as this was of vast importance in the labour market.