Barbados now has another sixth form school ??? The Alexandra School.
And, it is all in a bid to encourage students over 16 years to stay in school and receive a higher education.
This was alluded to by Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, as he addressed today???s official launch of the sixth form at the St. Peter school.
Commending the 121-year-old institution, Mr. Jones said: ???I???ve tracked the results over the last 14 or so years and you have done well. You have gone up and sometimes you get a little dip but there has been a high level of consistency over the years.???
Stating that he wanted the consistency to be reflected in the sixth form, he added: ???I want to see every school in Barbados moving students from 16 to 18; post fifth. Most of you now are 16 and not yet ready for university, far less college. So, I need those two years of solid grounding and that was my initial idea and resolve. And, you have demonstrated [success] very aptly here at Alexandra.???
The Education Minister further impressed on students that they were tomorrow???s leaders and should be prepared to take on leadership roles in diverse institutions in the most difficult times and by seizing opportunities.
The 20 new sixth formers were urged to study hard and do well and Mr. Jones said: ???Be an exemplar to those who will come after you. You are the trailblazers and it is that seed you sow that will blossom and bear fruit.???
Praising the Principal and his staff, Minister Jones said the sixth form was an ongoing project and the Education Ministry would be working, over the next two years, to do a bit more building out to accommodate issues such as floating, which some teachers did. He also expressed his desire to see more students undertaking Caribbean Vocational Qualifications and stressed that these had the potential to allow students further opportunities.
Chairman of the Board of Management, Dr. Korah Belgrave, in providing the rationale for another sixth form school said: ???One of the things it does is to give greater access to education. When we look around at the number of students who leave school in fifth form and we look at the proportion of students who go on to tertiary education, it is really a very small proportion, and we really want to increase that.
“If we are going to invest in our children and in our young people, we have to have young people who are educated.??? Dr. Belgrave further noted that education was more than going to school, and was also about building character and intelligence.
Principal of the school, Orson Alleyne, said the core subjects in the post-secondary programme are Tourism, Entrepreneurship and Communication Studies. Students have the choice of Physical Education and Sport; Art & Design or Information Technology as their subject option.
The new sixth form at The Alexandra School brings the number to nine. The others are at Harrison College, Queen???s College; Combermere School, The Lodge School; Christ Church Foundation School; The St. Michael School; Springer Memorial and St. Leonard???s Boys??? Secondary.