Press conference on the Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination and other education matter hosted by Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw. (Public Affairs Department)

The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, through its Education Reform Unit, is working with stakeholders in the education sector to ensure “no child is left behind”.

Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, gave the assurance during a press conference held this morning to announce the date of the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination. 

She revealed that there would be, among other things, an “urgent review” of the existing syllabus, the development of a curriculum relevant to students, and emphasis on improved teaching methods.

Minister Bradshaw said it was imperative that action be taken to address the long-standing inequalities which exist in the education system, indicating that the events over the past year, and the results of the assessment of students eligible to write the 2021 Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination, have brought these issues to the fore.

“There is no point in us trying to push students in our interest only learning Maths and English, when in truth and in fact they may need remediation when they enter the secondary schools. Therefore, we have a very comprehensive programme in place with the assistance of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, to be able to get us to safety in ensuring that no child is actually left behind when it makes the transition, and certainly, even with the ones who are already in the schools, who are struggling in relation to doing subject areas that are very difficult for them, to be able to comprehend,” she stressed.

The Education Minister added that they would be incorporating into the secondary school curriculum, skills and vocational subject areas, which were traditionally taught only at the tertiary level.

“We’re introducing them at the secondary level to ensure that students who are good with their hands, students who are gifted in the arts that they have an opportunity, not when they finish school, but while they are in school, to not only pursue what they love, but also to be able to have the necessary remediation and the concepts taught to them to be able to be productive citizens.”

She also expressed the view that society needed to stop categorising secondary schools as good or bad, stating that authorities have recognised that “for most people, decisions in relation to the choice of school is based on a historical perspective of, you know, who went to school there and what the school is known for.

“We want to change the way that people think about our schools and we’ve started to engage with the principals and engage with teachers about changing the curriculum to make it more relevant to the students who are in the school,” Ms. Bradshaw said.

The Education Minister also sought to implore Barbadians to seek to support children regardless of their academic ability, and help them to explore their potential in whatever area they choose.

nya.phillips@barbados.gov.bb

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