Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones

Girls are continuing to outperform the boys in the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination.

This observation was made recently by the Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, who was commenting on the results of this year’s Common Entrance Exam.

Mr. Jones outlined that boys were often dubbed as “feminine and nerdy”, when they focused primarily on their studies. He blamed this type of stigmatisation for the shortcomings among some male students and indicated that schools should be made more “amenable for masculine learning”.

In addition, the Minister spoke about the need to revise the curriculum which had not been updated for almost a decade. This concern, along with the challenges that some students encountered on the third section of the English paper for another consecutive year, was also highlighted by the Minister.

He opined that “Barbadian children who are performing below average, would almost double the performance of a child similar in age, in a metropolitan country”.

Mr. Jones wondered whether the curriculum was requiring too much of an eleven year old child and insisted that “children should be given more elbow room for real genuine learning to take place”.

The Minister also recognised that there were students with deficits and learning challenges; and he suggested that a “five to ten day strategic plan be integrated within the school system”. This would aid in identifying the level at which students were learning and also evaluate the teaching styles of tutors within educational institutions.

Olivia Alleyne, from the Christ Church Girls’ School, was the top student in the island with a total of 258.08 marks. Mr. Jones lauded the students of this primary school for their exceptional performances, in spite of frequent relocation. He maintained that they were a testament to the success of a strategic plan and he congratulated Olivia Alleyne who will be proceeding to Harrison College at the beginning of the new school year.

The top boy, Patrick Taylor, from St. Winifred’s, took fifth place in the island with a score of 255.21. He has earned a place at Queen’s College and he attributed his success to a combination of academics and sports.

Overall, the performances of students this year were higher when compared to last year’s, with the national average improving from 52.91 to 54.26 in English and from 46.58 to 49.20 in Mathematics.

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