Students entering secondary school for the first time are moving from a state of comfort to one of discomfort and teachers in those institutions need to help them to make the transition smoothly.

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, made this plea yesterday, while speaking at the re-launch of the book Entering Secondary School: A Survival Kit for Students, with Helpful Tips for Parents, in the main conference room of the Ministry.

Acknowledging that parents and guardians carried the primary responsibility for the physical and mental preparation of their child, Mr. Jones pointed out, however, that teachers also needed to play a role in making new pupils feel more confident in their schools.

"…[Children] are being moved from a comfortable to an uncomfortable state so you cannot abandon them…[Class] teachers have to be first like primary school teachers.?? In that first week to two weeks before you wean them off you have to be like that mother or father…they are looking to someone for comfort and support so you have to talk to them…you have to boost the confidence of those children," he urged.

The Education Minister further lauded the authors of the book for trying to make the move from primary to secondary school a seamless one, while lamenting

the fact that Barbadian society treated education from the nursery to tertiary levels as a series of stages.?? He stressed that this view of education was not the correct one, adding that the passage from junior to senior teaching should be seen as a continuum.

Mr. Jones also used this platform to denounce the rising prevalence of bullying in schools across Barbados and intimated that his Ministry would do whatever it took to crack down on that practice.?? "Teachers and principals need to be vigilant…I don’t want to see a system where you have a video camera in every classroom and cameras spread all around the school compound, but if that has to be the case, it has to be the case!

"There are certain parts of human lives that are dark and if we do not seek to combat and control evil it is going to eventually envelop all of us … bullying of young people and bullying across the board, are the initial stages of violence within the homes…we have to be harsh and firm and we have to develop a system where persons understand that you cannot take advantage of the weak, of the poor, the downtrodden or those who are vulnerable," he maintained.

The Minister endorsed the book as one which should be made available to all persons who have taken the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination and are moving on to new institutions of learning.?? Authors of the publication are Margaret Grant and Shauntee Walters, who are teachers at The St. Michael School and Grantley Adams Secondary School respectively.??


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