Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones (FP)

Within the next two and a half years, work is expected to start on another secondary school in Barbados.

This was disclosed yesterday by Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, during the annual speech day and prize-giving ceremony at Queen’s College.

Stating that over 4,000 students were expected to take next year’s Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE), an increase of some 400, he pointed out that the rising figures placed tremendous pressure on many secondary schools.

He, however, urged school officials to remain patient as the Ministry was in the initial stages of plans for a new secondary school, with a location already identified for the facility.

"It is not going to be possibly until the next two years that we will be able to construct at least an additional secondary school. We have, in fact secured the resources for the construction of that secondary school but it takes approximately one year to go through all the preliminary phases – architectural design, tendering, awarding the tender, mobilisation – all of that before we start to excavate the foundation," Mr. Jones explained.

The Education Minister said his Ministry was working towards the total of 24 secondary schools in Barbados which meant in addition to the construction of this facility, government would seek to build another one in the future.

Principal, Dr. David Browne, in his academic report for 2010 to 2011, said the Husbands, St. James institution enjoyed another sterling academic year, with success in both internal and external examinations.

"One hundred and sixty-three students took this examination [the CXC Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC)] in the 19 subject areas offered by the school. The overall pass rate was approximately 92.6 as opposed to 95.6 last year…

"I assure you that the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) results were even more outstanding. One hundred and twenty-two students took Unit 2 of this examination. The overall pass rate was 92.3. We achieved 100 per cent passes in eight subjects taken by students and a pass rate of over 90 per cent was recorded in two subject areas. This included 118 Grade One’s and 67 Grade Two’s. As a result of their excellent performance, four of our candidates were awarded Barbados Government Scholarships and eight achieved Barbados Government Exhibitions," he disclosed.

With a growing concern among education officials and Barbadians in general about the impact of co-education on males, the Principal also revealed that the school had embarked on a research project with single gender classes.

Dr. Browne reported that so far girls continued to outperform boys in every area – Mathematics, English and Science, however, he stressed that it was too early to jump to conclusions.

??"These groups will be together for three years. Perhaps clearer trends will emerge by 2013 which should give us greater insight. In addition, we will look at the performance of these groups as they take their CXC/CSEC examinations beginning in 2015. I will caution you that we are looking at other variables other than academic achievement," he noted.

He added that at the end of the five-year study, Queen’s College would determine, based on the evidence, whether the single sex classes within a coeducational environment would be a permanent feature.


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