Education Minister, Ronald Jones wants all schools to aim to become ???centres of excellence???.
Addressing the second graduation class of the Blackman and Gollop Primary School, at the Ivan Harewood Centre in Christ Church, Minister Jones told parents, teachers and students: ???There is no problem with schools in Barbados operating as centres of excellence. If it is St. Giles, Milton Lynch, Christ Church Girls???[that???s] not a problem because essentially what would be taking place is that quality education would be delivered to each and every child in Barbados; because that is what we have to seek to achieve – quality education being delivered to each and every one of our children!?????
Noting that society tended to create divisions and partitions between people, he added: ???Sometimes, it is in the creation of those??? that we create a disservice to our young people because at their ages they do not understand clearly that each individual is different in so many ways ??? [in] how we speak, how we look, how we walk, how we do everything on the face of God???s earth.
He explained to the graduates that each of them was unique in their own way, and told them God had set a path in life for all of them ???that should be the admiration of every other person???. Saying there was nothing wrong with an individual scoring 100 per cent and being congratulated, he added that if another youngster, based on his ability, and his life???s journey scored 40 per cent, he too should be praised.
???That individual at that time, in that individual???s life, is evolving and emerging and not hiding his talent under the bushel,??? he said, noting that the child should also regard it as a case of ???that is what I can score now but that is not the end of my life; that is only but a mark in my total life???s journey???.
The Education Minister who also holds responsibility for Science, Technology and Innovation, admitted that at times he became dissatisfied and disappointed because adults tended to pigeon-hole children by stating ???that is all that you will be???; and ???that is all you will become???.
Addressing the parents, and asking who gave them the authority to make such claims, he declared: ???You don???t have the capacity; you don???t have the power; you can???t make that determination; it is not your call.?????
And, he added that people all about the length and breadth of Barbados were creating children who, as they journeyed through life, had low self-esteem, ???because somebody has told them you cannot be what you say you want to be???.
Teachers, students and parents were commended for the quality of the output of the school, which was officially opened on September 28, 2011. Minister Jones also noted it successes in the academics as well as in other areas including Sports, Scouts and Blossoms.??
He told those gathered that they should be pleased to see that their ???new school of only two years has set a standard that can only become better and stronger and grow from strength to strength and with the cooperation of community and parents, you can only be the best in this country.?????
Meanwhile, Principal Joslyn Brewster said as a new school, Blackman and Gollop Primary was ???in an enviable position of determining who we are and where we are going without having the encumbrances of the past???.??
???We do not have to fight against the current of choosing a historical course that was set for others. We are the architects choosing a unique course that is ours. We have set high goals and are determined to reach them and we will persevere in our quest,??? she stressed.??
She disclosed that the school was restructuring its remedial programme to assist all levels and minimize school failure and pointed out that it was in the process of developing a strategic plan that would take into consideration, the views of parents, teachers and the community.
Seventy students wrote the Barbados Secondary Schools??? Entrance Examination (BSSEE) and Ms. Brewster revealed that the performance of the 35 boys and 35 girls saw the school performing above the national mean in both Mathematics and English.
Maximus Boxill was top male of the school and is heading to Harrison College while Kaleah Hall is the top female and will be off to the school of her choice ??? St. Michael???s. Kaleah also bears the distinction of being the top performing public school student in the BSSEE.??
Blackman and Gollop Primary is an amalgam of the former St. David???s and South District Primary Schools.