Queen???s Park was a hive of activity today, when over 1,700 students from schools and tertiary level institutions gathered for the inaugural Education Parade and Route March through Bridgetown.

An added feature to the Education Month calendar, it brought together tiny tots from nursery schools like Thelma Berry and St. Giles; Girl Guides, Scouts, pathfinders, cadets, school bands and others from institutions such as the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and the Barbados Community College.

Impressed with the turnout, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones said, ???I think that we should display before the public of Barbados the beauty of our young people, not only reflected in your attire but in your purpose and in your focus.???

Remarking on some of the placards, he said the one which read Education is a Path, not a Destination spoke to the continuous nature of education and lifelong learning, while one which said No Child Should Be left Behind suggested that every person in our society should be afforded an education.??And, he added that Government looked forward to working with parents and tax payers to ensure that every child, regardless of ability, received an education.

Referring to a quote, Mr. Jones told an audience of parents, teachers and other onlookers that ???an education system isn???t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living and doesn???t teach them how to make a life???.

The Minister stressed that it was important from as early as possible that the students??? path be one geared towards making a life, and he cautioned them to be careful how they cleared that path to ensure they travelled ???on a correct journey???.

???I want to beseech all of you to do those things that are positive; to do those things that are focused; to do those things that will make you happy, make your community happy, make your school happy. All of the negatives that can sometimes surround you, I want you from today to cast them aside. Put them behind you and stay foscused on your journey through education and making that life worthwhile,??? the former teacher urged.

A key objective of today???s parade was to draw the public???s attention to the important role which education plays in personal and national development. It also aimed to celebrate the achievements of the various educational institutions in Barbados.

Following the march, there was a lunchtime concert in the park. Among those participating were St. Paul???s Primary School, accompanied by Gabby; the Combermere chorale; Harrison College Steel Orchestra and the Frederick Smith Secondary pop band.


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