Firm Foundations = Quality Education is the theme chosen by the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (METI) for this year’s Education Month, to be celebrated in October.
The theme was selected to highlight the importance of a sound basic education from early beginnings and the need to sustain learning and personal development as an integral part of “life-long learning”.
It takes into account the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, in particular, SDG # 4, which focuses on “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting life-long learning opportunities for all”.
Education Month 2017 will, therefore, place special emphasis on Early Childhood Education, Inclusive and Special Needs Education and School Teacher Effectiveness. These are considered critical drivers underpinning educational development, as Barbados seeks to play its part in the implementation of the UNESCO Education 2030 Framework For Action.
“Our emphasis is on having quality education being delivered to all citizens and so the importance of early childhood education and a sound basic education – primary, secondary and tertiary – are the foundations on which we are building this system,” said Deputy Chief Education Officer, Dr. Roderick Rudder.
Noting that the proposed events for Education Month 2017 have been conceptualised to support teacher professional development, he said the ultimate aim is to ensure the development of a competent and effective staff complement.
As a result, workshops that address autism, the teaching of science, numeracy, literacy, and attitudinal change have been designed to encourage effective school leadership; promote school teacher effectiveness; and support improved classroom instruction, as well as the overall improvement in student performance. “These workshops are pertinent and will truly be a highlight of the month,” Dr. Rudder stressed.
Education Month will officially launch with a church service on Monday, October 2, at the Abundant Life Assembly, Bank Hall, St. Michael, from 9:30 a.m. The service, which will be attended by Education Minister, Ronald Jones, and other officials in the Ministry, will see the participation of children from several of the island’s schools and their teachers.
The first set of workshops will focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder and will run from October 4 to 6. These will be conducted at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College (ETTC) for selected teachers.
On Monday, October 9, the Ministry will launch its Implementation of the School Teacher Effectiveness Plans (STEPs) Initiative at the ETTC from 9:00 a.m. A spin-off of this will be Open Days at the eight pilot schools where STEPs have been introduced.
Attitudinal Change Workshops will follow from October 11 to 13 at the same venue. There will also be workshops in Early Childhood Education facilitated by Wheelock College and concluding with a graduation on Thursday, October 12.
During the week of October 16 to 20, professional development workshops with a focus on Numeracy, Literacy and Special Needs and Inclusive Education will be held at various venues.
A highlight of the month will be Teachers’ Professional Day on Friday, October 20. Following this, there will be several activities staged by the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT); the first of which will be divine worship at St. George Parish Church on Sunday, October 22, from 9:15 a.m.
On October 23 and 24, the Ministry will host a series of Science Education workshops at the ETTC; there will also be the METI/BUT National Teachers’ Appreciation Day on Tuesday, October 24, and the John Cumberbatch Lecture on Wednesday, October 25.
Education Month will also see the re-commissioning of the Industrial Arts Block at Parkinson Memorial Secondary School on Friday, October 13, and the official launch of the Sixth Form at the Alleyne School on Monday, October 16.
A series of lunch time concerts showcasing the talents of students will be held across the island each Wednesday in October at various venues. These will start on October 4, at Lanterns Mall; move to Sky Mall on October 11; Emerald City on October 18; and then the Dome Mall on October 25.
The concerts are, however, expected to run into November, with one at Limegrove Lifestyle Centre on November 1 and another at the Speightstown Esplanade on November 8.
Staff of the Education Ministry will participate in the semi-finals and the finals of an internal road tennis tournament on October 24 and 26 respectively, and there will be a repeat of the educational heritage tour for them on Sunday, October 29.
Education Month will climax with a Mental Maths competition for primary school students on Tuesday, October 31.