All are pleased at the unveiling of??a plaque commemorating??fifty years of free education in Barbados.?? Pictured from??left to right; Adrian Clement, newly appointed Deputy Chief??Education Officer, Adrienne Jones, Senior Administrative Officer in the Ministry of Education, Karen Best,??other newly appointed Deputy Chief Education Officer, Laurie King, Chief Education Officer,??Minister of Education, Ronald Jones and Permanent Secretary Cecile Humphrey. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

The important milestone of attaining 50 years of universally free public education in Barbados was celebrated with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque during a ceremony at the Ministry of Education today.

Officers from the Ministry gathered for the occasion, which featured remarks from Education Minister Ronald Jones.?? He reflected on a bygone era where access to education was determined by one’s ability to afford school fees and acknowledged the significance of the right to education for all.

"After you took the entrance exam…once you were successful, you had to pay and the fees…at that time, they were major; and many members of the family contributed to that one individual going to school," Mr. Jones remarked.

While he saluted the many achievements of which Barbados could be proud, Minister Jones noted that "[we should not] rest on our laurels, we have to redouble our efforts to ensure that we stay on the cutting edge…that we reach out to all persons who need some form of education…," he said.

Noting that the positive effect of free education could not be over-emphasised, the Minister observed that it had "provided the opportunity for persons of all classes, all races…through [their] intellect, [to] sit together in the same space."

Universal free public education, which was introduced in 1962, was just one of the landmarks highlighted during this morning’s ceremony.?? Other reforms of note included: the introduction of the school meals service and the establishment of the University of the West Indies, both of which came on stream in 1963.


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