Head boys and head girls, who were yesterday presented with badges in recognition of their involvement in student leadership, have been encouraged by Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, to continue to hone their skills.
The students from both public and private schools across Barbados were presented with their leadership badges by Cabinet Ministers and Government officials during the School Leadership Badge presentation ceremony at the Wildey Gymnasium.
Ms. Bradshaw, who signaled that leadership skills could be developed in various ways, noted this could be done through their participation in the Leadership Certificate Programme now being offered, or by emulating the practices of good leaders within their schools, communities and wider Barbadian society.
Additionally, she pointed out it could be by way of their numerous activities at schools, including the Brownies, Cub Scouts or Cadets.
While acknowledging that part of her Ministry’s mission was to assist in developing responsible citizens who are creative, confident and can function effectively in modern society, she vowed to do all within her power “to create the type of environment in which our young people can thrive”.
Students were also urged to display exemplary behaviours at all times in their leadership roles as a means of reassuring that Barbados’ future was in good hands.
A pledge made by the Minister last year was reiterated. It saw her reassuring the students of her aim to engage them in the quest to contribute to a government that is more responsive to their needs and to engender in them a vision and sense of ownership for the Barbadian society in which they want to live, work and play.
Students heard too that the Education Ministry had also recently re-established student councils across all schools to provide them with the opportunity to contribute to the development of policies at the national level.
And Ms. Bradshaw urged: “As head boy and head girl of your respective schools, it is anticipated that you will actively participate in your school’s council and bring the critical issues to the national council for ventilation and resolution as necessary.”
The Education Minister further indicated that the Ministry had been working closely with youth in student engagement, though in a virtual environment, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Ms. Bradshaw disclosed that the Ministry was actively planning for the day when students could safely return to face-to-face instruction, she stressed, however, that whether instruction was face-to-face, blended or online, her Ministry would continue to provide the necessary support to them as well as their teachers.
Students heard too that the staging of the event yesterday, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrated “our resilience as a people and Government’s commitment to the development of the youth to become effective leaders”, to whom the baton could be passed to sustain the country’s growth and development beyond the 21st century.
The cohort represented the first to be honoured since Barbados transitioned to a Parliamentary Republic on November 30.