Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, peruses the publication, while author Jeff Broomes (centre)??and??Chief Audio Visual Aids Officer,??Walter Harper,??look on.??(C. Pitt/BGIS)

Local teachers, and Barbadians as a whole, have been urged by the island’s Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, to write and publish more indigenous work.

This plea came today at the launch of "My Personal Preparation Guide For Common Entrance", a text written by Principal of The Alexandra School, Jeff Broomes.

The launch took place at the Media Resource Department (MRD) of the Ministry of Education at the Elsie Payne Complex.

Commending the Media Resource Department for its work, Minister Jones said it had in its possession "possibly the top printing technology which should be used for the development of the country".

Noting that in 2008, the Ministry had familiarised several teachers with the technology, encouraging them "to bring their material in the area of workbook production," Mr. Jones lamented the fact that "not one of those persons have returned to benefit from that exercise." He further revealed that the Department had been instructed to develop a policy to act as a catalyst for persons to produce and print texts at a reduced cost, and stressed that technology was brought in to be used by all teachers in the system.

Accepting too that it was costly to find writers to do the research on individuals who had contributed greatly to Barbados, he said this was also the reason why the technology of the MRD was there to facilitate Barbadians. And, the Education Minister pointed out that the same offer made to Mr. Broomes regarding the publishing of his text was extended to "every single small writer who wants to get their book in the marketplace."

While stating that there was a need to have good social studies text books, particularly for primary school children and facilitated by the Department, he added: "We need to take the great leap forward in education in Barbados. But, it just cannot be achieved because we are borrowers of other people’s ideas.

Not that it is a problem with using the ideas of others, but that we can demonstrate to the world our creative ability, our intellect; our analytical ability, to capture and to make an industry out of this."

Reiterating that the education system here had used a lot of material from the region, Mr. Jones asked: "What is wrong with our teachers? If we boast that we have some of the best teachers in the world, why are they not producing texts? There is a disconnect in that kind of scenario. You are teaching; the?? pedagogical aspect is brilliant; ??we are producing all of these students with CXC or CAPE, but we are still not capturing the beauty of the mind in a written form or in a digital form that?? we would have now with the new technology."

Author Jeff Broomes was described as a little more enterprising than others. According to the Minister: "He has seized the opportunity, utilised that opportunity to the maximum. I am, therefore, hoping that with the policy in place…everybody [would] know this is how the Media Resource Department would facilitate [them] and this is how [they] would get the product into the Barbadian marketplace or wherever."

The Education Minister assured those gathered that the effort by the MRD and Mr. Broomes represented attempts at encouraging a culture of writing and producing, adding that the Ministry’s aim was not to "profiteer from the work of persons in the community but to facilitate their work".

In his response, Author Jeff Broome said the inspiration for the text came almost two decades ago from his daughter, Leah, and that it complemented other books he had previously done. He added that the foreword was written by former Chief Education Officer, Dr. Wendy Griffith Watson, who also played a major role in proof reading the text.


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