Celebrations to mark Education Month got under way today, with Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, pledging her Ministry’s commitment to ensuring the education system was transformed into one that benefits all students.
She was speaking during a virtual church service, held to officially launch the month of activities.
Reflecting on this year’s theme: Education Reimagined: Exploring the New Frontiers for Teaching, Learning and National Development in the 21st Century, Minister Bradshaw stressed the importance of reconfiguring the existing system.
“While we applaud the well-known roots of our educational system and all that it has been able to accomplish, in terms of the development of our human capital, we must also acknowledge that the Barbados that was handed the gift of free education in the 20th century is not the same Barbados of 2021.
“We must therefore understand how this re-imagination of what our system could be and understand how this re-imagination can empower us, to actively change what we do, not only at the level of policy but what is done at the level of our schools and our classrooms,” she stated, noting that a strong education system was a critical element of national development.
To this end, Minister Bradshaw outlined some of the plans, spearheaded by the Education Reform Unit, to modernise the school curriculum. These include the introduction of coding and robotics across the nursery, primary and secondary school system, science and vocational skills-based disciplines.
She added that the emphasis was also being placed on the arts, such as music production. “Our educational system must become one, which, in addition to preparing our students for the traditional and familiar educational streams, will also value, support and empower them to pursue the economic viability of these new realities which are inherent in the reshaped 21st century creative industries.
“At the same time, our schools must also become hubs of expertise development and training in real world skills, which can then launch our students into the labour market as competent and training employees through their certifications in the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications,” the Education Minister explained.
Ms. Bradshaw further noted that ensuring teachers were well equipped to meet the needs of students was a priority. She indicated that efforts would continue to facilitate their access to training in student assessment and special needs, among other areas, as a means of giving every child a fair opportunity in the classroom.
Highlighting the latest partnership with her Ministry, Finland’s University of Tampere and the Inter-American Development Bank, Minister Bradshaw noted it was important to expose teachers to various methodologies to enhance their lesson delivery in a virtual environment.
She also reiterated the importance of communication to educational reformation, noting that she would continue to engage all stakeholders, including students, through a series of sessions, dubbed Let’s Talk.
“The re-imagination of our educational system cannot be a secret. It cannot be an exclusive agenda crafted in the walls at Constitution Road. Instead it must reflect a shared partnership with all stakeholders and we invite you, through our month of activities and certainly afterwards, to be a part of this ongoing process,” the Education Minister stated.