With the country facing challenges of low productivity in workplaces, Education Minister, Ronald Jones believes that there is a need for all, including teachers, to undertake their duty of service to country and to future generations of Barbadians.

This was stressed today as the Minister addressed the official start of the Academic Year 2013-2014 of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, at the institution located on Pine Road.

Offering a definition of ???duty’, the Education Minister said: “Duty means that focus in making a difference in the lives of the people you come in contact with; in changing that boy or girl that is before you; in changing that adult that is before you; in giving of your optimum to those [before you]; in following the laws and the rules and in making that definitive commitment to children.”

Pointing out that the country was facing severe challenges of extremely low productivity; he said this would not change overnight or at all “unless we take the decision to make a difference”.

The Education Minister maintained that the time for change was coming.?? “When you look at our productivity profile Barbados is way, way down and because of that very low productivity profile we are going to have to change some things. We might have to say to people who want to go on to university, ???you are going to have to pay something now’.

“I am not going to pretend that it is not coming because we have failed the future. We went and we benefitted; [We] paid a few cents of registration and caution money [to the University of the West Indies] and then we failed the future and, therefore, we have now placed a burden on the future because we didn’t step up to the plate. We simply took and took and took. That???s what we did, so our children now [will have to pay].”

Asking the new recruits at Erdiston College to reflect on what was being stated, the Education Minister, who also holds responsibility for Science Technology and Innovation said: “It is a reality because all of those systems and processes planted in the past were to benefit future generations. Future generations will have to pay. We have failed. We walked away with our scrolls. We didn’t thank anybody; we didn’t thank our fore-parents…who worked in the homes of people who didn’t like them and on plantations where they couldn’t take home anything that they planted.??

“We have failed the future; So many of your children, you now have to prepare for their future; you now have to take out educational insurances. The day has come; you cannot postpone reality; reality constantly stares you in the face. If we had worked more; committed more; if we were more productive we wouldn’t have to be doing that. If we were less selfish, we wouldn’t have to be doing that; but the reality has now caught up with us as a nation as it has caught up with several others and, therefore, all of you here who are beneficiaries of that regime of the past which is still trickling, now have a duty to come to class.”

The 2013-2014 intake of teachers were advised not to let their egos get the better of them and Minister Jones cautioned: “Don’t pretend that because you may have a first degree or Masters that there is nothing for you to learn [at Erdiston College]. You don’t know it all. You are here because you now have to learn something that you don’t know.”

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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