Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones

If all goes according to plan, primary school students across Barbados will sit a national test in science and social studies when they reach class three, as a way to broaden their knowledge on local culture, history and their environment.

This disclosure was made recently by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, while speaking at the graduation ceremony of Wills Primary School in the Christ Church Parish Church’s Church Hall.

According to him, the Ministry is seeking to implement the test from the next school term which begins on September 1 this year, in response to developments coming out of the Barbados Secondary School’s Examination, which indicated that too much emphasis was placed on Mathematics and English Language and not enough attention paid to other critical areas.

"The 11-plus can show some distortions and we are finding that general knowledge is slipping because the focus has become a bit too narrow on Maths and English…. It [the test] will not be given at the 11-plus, but it will give children the opportunity to learn about their country’s culture and history, as well as their environment.?? It will give them a broader version of life," he explained.

The Minister also had some advice for children who were moving on to secondary schools.?? "Go to school and do not engage in truancy; do not change your positive characteristics; always have high standards; participate in extra-curricular activities and respect each other."?? He also encouraged them to read "as this is the foundation for learning".??

In voicing his concern about the negative behaviour being exhibited by a large number of youth, Mr. Jones said that both parents and teachers needed to work together to ensure that this conduct does not spiral out of control.?? "… unless we stop rot it spreads and decay ensues.?? Unless we sit and talk to our young people and show them values and good behaviour, they will continue to go astray.?? We need to set?? standards and urge people to reach them.

"Try desperately to make the best for our children, ourselves and our country, know who your children’s friends are.?? When you dress young children scantily and give them large amounts of money you are responsible for the consequences," the Minister observed.

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