Barbados Youth Development Council’s Statement on the Alexandra School impasse: For the Sake of our Students’ Education
There is an African proverb which goes, ‘when two elephants fight it’s the grass that gets trampled.’ This is probably the best way to describe the current impasse at the Alexandra School between the teaching staff and Principal and the plight it has created for the students there. While the dispute lingers on what is most at stake is the education of hundreds of students at the school. Yet the situation can become potentially worse as the dispute now threatens to affect the entire secondary school system.
The Barbados Youth Development Council does not take the side of any of the disputing parties in this debate. What concerns us most is the effect this situation will have on our island’s children particularly those at the CSEC level who in a matter of months will be asked to write examinations which are critical to their success. From the standpoint of a casual observer the school is akin to a virtual war zone with students being forced to take sides of warring factions instead of enjoying the rewarding experience school is supposed to be. School days cannot be the best days if our young people are forced to develop in an environment where their quest for knowledge and sense of community is being compromised.
If there has been any positive in this situation it is that our young people have demonstrated they’re still very caring. The fact that older students have taken on the responsibility to tutor their younger peers says much about the students’ maturity and commitment to helping each other succeed. Perhaps this is a lesson which can be emulated by all parties embroiled in this dispute. If the guiding principle of maximizing each other’s potential through support and encouragement is adopted, our educational system can become one of the best in the world.
With that being said the BYDC is extremely confident that our teachers, Ministry officials, Union representatives and all others in the educational system have the best interest of our students at heart. It is therefore incumbent upon such persons who act as role models for our young people, to find alternative and solution oriented ways of resolving their disputes. We also call on all disputing parties to lead by example and to act with the same level of maturity which is so often demanded from our youth.
We expect that these differences of opinion will be resolved in the shortest possible time and that our students will be given the adequate guidance, care and instruction they deserve. Additionally it is only fair and principled that a joint public apology be made to the ones who have suffered the most in this affair – the students.
- Cherisse Francis