Government has been encouraged to abandon “hot and sweaty” approaches to education reform in favour of a well thought out, researched and inclusive process.
President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Dr Ronnie Yearwood said the approach to governance was one which he had discussed with members of the diaspora, during his current trip to the United Kingdom, as an area of concern.
The educator at the University of the West Indies said a significant portion of his trip has been spent at leading learning institutions, examining the methods of teaching and the curriculum that could contribute to reforms at home.
“Perhaps now is the time for them to do some fact-finding and to try to see what are best practices, whether in the Caribbean or in the diaspora, from our educational schools that are performing well, and what can we learn and draw from them and all around us and, importantly, learn from the experts,” he said.
“We have experts on the ground in Barbados and I’ve mentioned this before. The government needs to stop this kind of hot and sweaty thing where we make announcements and then we have to come and say ‘oh, we’re not going to be able to do this’.”
Throughout her two terms in office, Prime Minister Mia Mottley has announced sweeping reforms in education that include the abolition of the Common Entrance exam among other things.
Days ago, however, she revealed that while Government is still committed to scrapping the 11-plus, the transition would take at least another two or three years.
“The abolition of the 11-plus is not a decision that can be made today for tomorrow and whatever paper comes will probably have a minimum of a two-year lead up in order to put things in place, because what you are transitioning from is a system that has been in place for decades,” said Mottley.
“And, therefore, whenever the paper comes and whenever the consultations start and whenever the decision is settled, then you still need to have a long lead-up in order to execute and to have a seamless transition as long as possible.”
The newly elected DLP president said the “hot and sweaty” approach to governance was one that he had discussed with members of the diaspora as an area of concern.
“We saw a very similar thing within the diaspora and I raised this with some of the members in terms of the Government wanting the diaspora to invest more, but not being able to facilitate that investment in a real way or not being able to have serious conversations about their participation in Barbados,” he said. (KS)