One of the region’s leading academics has welcomed Government’s plan to replace the Barbados Secondary School’s Entrance Examination better known as the 11-Plus, saying change was inevitable.
However, said Principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau, the issue should first be carefully examined.
She said while it has not yet been cemented as an education policy and discussions are yet to be ironed out, she agreed there was need for change.
“I do know that you need change. I would support change. It has to be well thought out. It has to be well planned,” said the UWI head.
During the opening day of 2020/2021 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure from the Worthing Corporate Centre, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw announced that this year’s sitting of the 11-plus or Common Entrance as it is also known, would likely be the last.
As she spoke about the over $320 million earmarked for her ministry, Bradshaw disclosed that public consultations on a replacement for that exam would start next month.
She said authorities were hoping to devise a new method for children to transition from the primary to the secondary school level.
“We are hoping that this would be the last cohort of students that will participate in the 11-Plus examination, and if that is the case then once we start in March it is intended that we spend a few months in discussion with the entire country and be able to formulate a programme going forward for implementation in 2021,” Bradshaw announced.
Asked by Barbados TODAY to share her thoughts on the development, Barriteau said: “Change is inevitable. You have to rethink educational policy, and you have to plan for it and you have to know very clearly what you are replacing it with. But it is clear that we have to do something,” said Barriteau.
The UWI principal said she was concerned that every year a lot of focus was placed on the “bright class fours” while there are four or five other class fours “that we don’t hear about”.
She said the challenge those students then face was the pressure associated with trying to make it into the so-called “top schools”, but when that did not happen they were subjected to the stigma of under-performing, which becomes “problematic”.
“So I think change is inevitable, but at the same time it has to be well planned,” said Barriteau.
She was speaking at the official launch of the School of Governance and Public Policy on Tuesday at the Cave Hill Campus.
Under this new training module, which will be opened to entry-level officials, middle management and senior leadership, there will be tailored courses that will be offered in face-to-face sessions and also online.
There will be up to eight courses from which to choose and these will be offered from one day up to a week duration under the Department of Government, Sociology, Social Work and Psychology in a partnership with the Faculty of Social Sciences.
The certificate courses will be developed in an range of areas including Implementation, Protocol and Diplomacy in the Public Service, Auditing and Cost Controls, Civics, Grant Funding and Interactions with Regional and International Institutions, Budgeting, Government Project Management and Procurement. [email protected]