The refusal by teachers to mark the School-Based Assessments related to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate continues to be of concern to this island’s Education Minister, Ronald Jones.
This was a key issue Mr. Jones alluded to recently as he addressed the speech day and prize-giving ceremony of Ellerslie Secondary School, held at the Western Light Church of the Nazarene, Oxnard’s, St. James.
Reiterating that 180 third form students at an “unidentified school” did not get their SBAs marked, he said some teachers were reneging on their responsibilities and being unfair to the youth.
“Look into your soul when you deny children the opportunity to matriculate either in CCSLC, in CVQs, NVQs, CSEC or CAPE by simply saying I want money for marking an SBA. I’ve said there has got to be sense attached to statements,” Mr. Jones urged.
He suggested the logical argument from overburdened teachers would be an appeal to the Ministry for help to mark SBAs, rather than to demand more money. And, he said: “You’re going to suffer the little children for $60 or even $100 or $120. There is no money that I can offer that would make it palatable for the marking of anybody’s script.”
Speaking on the contribution of Ellerslie, Mr. Jones noted that the school, which like Barbados was also celebrating its 50th year, “has held its own”. Floating the idea of an Ellerslie Jubilee Awards, the former teacher said he recalled a time when the school had 1,700 children and noted that several persons had been educated there.
The Education Minister added that when persons examined what Ellerslie had achieved in a short space of time, “it was just as stellar as any other school in Barbados”. Mr. Jones emphasised that while, in the past, measuring a school’s success for some was by LCCs or GCEs, he did not subscribe to this.
He declared: “Schools don’t necessarily equip you for the five or six years you spend there, with that qualification. What it does is that it plants those seeds within you that within another two or three years what you maybe didn’t have or thought you had in yourself, or may be some didn’t think you had…now blossoms and unfolds to reveal such beauty, such talent that is almost immeasurable.
“And, therefore when a society screams at its young people ‘you are no good’, it misses the point…. None of us grow at the same pace – physically, cognitively, emotionally or psychologically.” He stressed further that it was for this reason that society needed to desist from comparing School A with School B.