Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, planting a tree at the Blackman and Gollop Primary School. Looking on are (from left) Deputy Chief Education Officer, Karen Best, Keara Husbands, Hajirah Olton, Principal Joslyn Brewster, Daquon Trotman and Miracle Rice. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

In commemoration of 50 years of universal free public education, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development today planted trees at the Blackman and Gollop Primary School, Staple Grove, Christ Church and the Thelma Berry Nursery School in St. David’s.

As Minister of Education, Ronald Jones planted the custard apple tree at the Blackman and Gollop School, he symbolically likened the action to the introduction of tuition-free education and the benefits which this brought to the island.

Students were told that everyone traversing the road or journeying to the school would see the tree growing, blossoming and producing fruit in much the same way as universal free public education was planted into the island, 50 years ago. And, as he acknowledged that teachers would educate pupils about the benefits, he told the children that school text books, free bus transportation and school meals were "all part of the whole support mechanism for universal free education".

Pointing out that this did not happen worldwide, Mr. Jones said: "There are, in some parts of the world, [places] where children do not get the benefits of being educated." He surmised that this figure could be around 70 million students who were still to enter into a school setting and that this was despite the world having made great leaps, over the last five years as a result of the goal of ???Education for all’, an initiative of UNESCO and a Millennium Development Goal of the United Nations.

"There are still many children who do not receive education in their countries. So here in Barbados we should be proud, happy and strive toward reaping the benefits of what was planted so many years ago," said the Education Minister.

At the Thelma Berry Nursery School, tiny tots heard that the Ministry was "planting the right kind of behaviour in our little children- educational behaviour".

Students at both schools were urged to take care of the custard apple tree while they continued to keep their schools clean and pristine.


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