Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, (right) and Principal of The St. Michael School, Shelton Perkins, during the school’s sppech day on Friday.

Another public secondary school has been selected to expand its education to the sixth form level. Education Minister, Ronald Jones, revealed that The St. Michael School had “received the nod” to become the most recent addition to the island’s four sixth form schools.

Speaking last Friday at the St. Michael School’s Annual Speech Day and Prize Giving Ceremony, Mr. Jones said that the Ministry would be addressing the country’s need for more sixth form schools.

“It is no secret that we are woefully short of places for students who want to undertake post-secondary education. Over the last three years, my Ministry has been left with an excess of 250 applicants for sixth form who cannot be placed.

These applicants all meet the minimum matriculation requirements for sixth form and the Barbados Community College, but the fact is we simply do not have the space to accommodate them,” he pointed out.

The Minister stated that the addition of the St. Michael School and the recently announced Christ Church Foundation School as sixth form schools “will add much needed places at this level of the system.”

He added that government also planned to establish two additional institutions to cater to the need for sixth form education in Barbados. “We further anticipate that in the near future, another sixth form will be established in the north of the island and we are also examining the feasibility of erecting a new school in the south which will offer a sixth form programme as well. These developments will hopefully alleviate the situation which now exists where our students want to continue their education but are unable to do so because of a lack of physical space to accommodate them.”

He, however, sounded a word of caution to secondary school principals, advising them to avoid duplication of subjects offered.  “… We cannot continue, in the current economic conditions, to duplicate spending across the system, especially in cases where it is not cost effective to do so. Each sixth form cannot offer every subject. Nor can sixth forms behave as though they are in competition with each other.

Schools may offer a core of subjects, but there must be a situation where schools are recognised for specific programmes peculiar to them. There must be dialogue to agree on these things and I give you the assurance that my Ministry will lead these discussions with the current sixth form schools and the two prospective schools,” he underscored.

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