Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones (centre),??Mayor of Lamentin, Guadeloupe, Jose Toribio (left) and Permanent Secretary, Bruce Alleyne, at the meeting. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Reciprocal arrangements between Guadeloupe and Barbados that lend to cross fertilisation of cultures were a major talking point when Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones recently met the Mayor of Lamentin, Guadeloupe, Jose Toribio, at the Minister’s office at the Elsie Payne Complex.

The mayor, who sits on the general council of Guadeloupe and is in charge of international cooperation, was on the island to visit some 17 primary school children from Lamentin, who are here as part of their summer programme activities.

While stating that the students seemed enthusiastic about meeting summer school counterparts at the University of the West Indies, Mr. Toribio expressed the hope that Guadeloupe would continue to make the exchange.

He said:?? "There are agreements which exist with Mauritius and Dakar, but the most significant for us is the relationship which should exist between Guadeloupe and the Caribbean….between St. Lucia, Haiti, Santo Domingo…. We hope that we will have the opportunity to extend that cooperation."

Mr. Toribio stressed: "We hope the continuation would be something really tangible and wouldn’t stop at student exchanges, but would extend to teachers and lecturers, particularly in the area of teacher training, so that we can create for tomorrow language teaching methodology which would be consistent throughout the Caribbean. Even though some countries might want to maintain traditional teaching methods, one method of teaching should be used throughout the region. We can start this from your office and my office."

In welcoming the mayor and his delegation, Minister Jones noted the frequency of French visitors to the island and declared: "We have a history of persons coming over from Guadeloupe and Martinique to immerse themselves in English here in Barbados. We have quite a few here and it is good for Guadeloupe, Martinique and Barbados to have that cross-fertilisation of cultures.??

"I have met several of them in the past who have come over to stay in private homes. We tend to call it ???educational tourism’. Generally, we can hope to further the relationship in education, particularly with Lamentin. We can have some twinning of secondary schools so we can get a feel for the French Creole culture and also to transfer our English-type of cultural background."

The Education Minister also said he was looking forward this year to the many who would come from French-speaking territories for the Meeting of Caribbean Union of Teachers in August "to share experiences and best practices".??

Talks between the two officials also centred on arrangements for Guadeloupe to liaise with the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College and on the teacher exchange programme, already in train. With respect to the latter, it was pointed out that for the past two years, an ongoing project between Barbados and Guadeloupe had provided training for four teachers – two from Harrison College and two from Queens College.??

While Minister Jones acknowledged that the teachers had found it useful, he urged that it be extended to other schools and evaluated to determine its impact.


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