Barbadians have the capacity to resolve the serious economic challenges which the country is facing, as well as to restructure the economy and strengthen the society.
This view was expressed today by Minister of State in the Prime Minister???s Office, Senator Patrick Todd, as he addressed the 15th annual general meeting of the Association of Public Primary School Principals at the Savannah Hotel, under the theme Leading and Learning: Endless Possibilities.
Senator Todd told the principals that children would have to become more enterprising and more self-reliant if they were to survive and prosper in the global marketplace.
He said that the current global recession was forcing persons to think outside the box. ???Since a society is to a large extent driven by its economy, we cannot continue to rely on one or two industries to create the required jobs… Neither can we just continue to produce large numbers of school leavers seeking more and more qualifications in order to get a job.
???What we need in addition to job seekers is increasing numbers of entrepreneurs who are capable of identifying niches in the global marketplace and capitalising on them. This is another effective way of diversifying and growing our small open economy thereby protecting us from potential external shocks,??? the Minister of State suggested.
Senator Todd described the principals as ???unsung heroes???, who had to master all the functions of management. ???The primary function of producing rounded students, who can think for themselves, requires astute management and regular evaluation of teachers. In addition to this, the principal must persist in seeking to motivate parents and guardians to get more involved in the education of their children or wards,??? he stressed.
He noted that there had been tremendous social and economic development since Barbados??? Independence and it had ushered in new lifestyles and values which were often at odds with traditional Barbadian culture. He lamented that the traditional community spirit had declined and the sharing of housing facilities by extended families was no longer the norm.
???As a result of these changes, the adults with whom children spend most time throughout the year are teachers. Too often they return to an empty house after school. Moreover, whenever there is evidence of anti-social behavior among school children of any age, the finger pointing and blame games begin. Disruptive behaviour in the classroom, bullying in the playground and fighting in the streets have been attributed to the lack of discipline in the home, poor management of schools, the failure to use the rod more effectively, and the decline in community spirit.
???For too long many Barbadians have been blaming someone else for the behavioural problems among our school children. The truth is that the buck has to stop somewhere,??? Senator Todd insisted.