Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, believes that the new Educational Research Consortium (ERC) will enhance the execution of development initiatives under each of the five pillars of Barbados??? Human Resource Development Strategy.

He shared this view today as he addressed the launch of the ERC at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.

???This consortium ensures that we have a logical framework in place to respond to collaborative offers of research, and allows us to follow through and work more efficiently with other institutions [and] persons in the diaspora, wherever they are.

“Global changes are impacting on the performance of both our institutions and students; and the ERC has been formed to facilitate the transformation of our educational institutions through collaborative, translational research that leverages the professional expertise of relevant stakeholders,??? Mr. Jones stated.

He added that progressive educational systems around the world had advanced to where the inclusion of a collaborative research component was now obligatory.

The Education Minister stressed that too often, decisions were made based on impressions and political expediency rather than on sound empirical data. He said that it was imperative that Barbados begin to craft a culture of research that better supports and drives policy formation and decision-making.

Mr. Jones noted that persons might contend that they know the three most pressing issues facing education. He said one could be deemed as access to post-secondary education, since we now have universal primary and secondary education and in about two years, if all goes well, universal access to nursery.

???It might be post-secondary??? and the challenges which confront us relative to resource supply ??? finance. You might even say the most pressing problem we have is the apparent gender disparity in academic performance across the tertiary system or across the entire system from primary, secondary, post-secondary and tertiary??? what is happening to our boys vis-??-vis girls at various periods in their development,??? he suggested.

He also noted that the research across the Caribbean and our own space was very important, and how we collaborated and shared with one another mattered.

Commending the steering committee of the ERC and others behind the project, he thanked the Higher Education Development Unit, the University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network, and the Caribbean Development Bank, noting that he hoped to become engaged in the research effort as well.

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