Community Groups Should Aid Schools

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President of the St. Patrick’s Heritage and Community Assciation, Karen M. I.??Best, presentinh Kevon Browne with his scholarship. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

"Copy best practices!"

This was the plea made to communities today as Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones addressed a ceremony at the Gordon Walters School that saw 11 students presented with scholarships worth $1000.The money will aid their transition to secondary school, next year.

The gifts were donated by the St. Patrick’s Heritage and Community Association, a diaspora organisation whose members at once lived in the area and were educated at the neighbour school.??????

Lauding the work of that Association, Minister Jones said: "We all don’t have to learn in the same way, what we have to do sometimes is to copy best practices.?? And, he noted that the gesture was a "sterling example" of what communities could do "to empower themselves, young people and to empower schools".

While also urging schools to open their doors "for access by the communities", the Education Minister, implored persons to treat the facilities with respect. He stated; "Because, eventually if they are used with disrespect they become a cost on you, the same citizens who have plastered graffiti [or] destroyed part of the infrastructure of the school."

Turning his attention to the naming of schools, Mr. Jones declared why it was not feasible for the Ministry to place three, four, five or six names on a school building. He explained: "The most we can have is only two names on any one school; so we can have the joint surnames on a school…the school at Staple Groves will be so named."

The Education Ministry, however, contended that schools across the island could advocate for classrooms to be named after outstanding citizens. And, he added: "… What I want schools to do because there are so many important educators, community leaders, outstanding citizens all around the schools, is now to start to name each classroom after an outstanding person.

So, rather than saying you are going to Class 1A … you are going to John Brathwaite (Pseudonym) Room, so that the name of the outstanding citizen is memoralised.

"This is for all schools… But work with your community and those who have knowledge of the outstanding contributors to education, religion, community action and social activism. Name your rooms, your compound, [to] carry the name of an important social actor in the communities."

The Minister told the children to appreciate what was being done during the ceremony and called upon historians such as Bobby Morris (Vice President of the St. Patrick’s Heritage and Community Association) to record the history of the great men and women of the community, that were being celebrated.

He stressed: "Too much history is being lost; too much of the cultural imperatives of our country are being lost, just disappearing with time as persons move to the great beyond and, therefore, we have to mobilise our historians and cultural practitioners to capture that history?? for now and the future generations. And, the challenge is there for all of those who have the ability to write …or tape record it.

The ceremony also saw the unveiling of four plaques in honour of past principals and teachers, among them Mr. Keith Clarke, Past Principal of St. Patrick’s Boys’ and Mrs. Wilma Wilson, Past Principal of St. Patrick’s Girls.

jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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