As parents, we endorse many of the concerns expressed by the current President of the BUT, regarding the importance of earliest bilateral, two-way stakeholder engagement, in an issue as fundamental as the contemplated transformation of our national education system, as recently reported in the media.
We have so many ‘kestions’, and look forward to more detail and full ‘onboarding’ of the widest groups of parents, as we are essental stakeholders vital to the success of this project.
We note, however, what we find lacking in most (all?) of the public discussion re the BSSEE is that, for all its acknowledged flaws, reveals how our current primary school system is failing too many of our students, ultimately resulting in how many thousands leaving secondary school annually without the academic tools they need to succeed. This often results in a cycle of continued socio-economic stagnation for too many.
How is the plan for the national education system transformation addressing what clearly are remedial education needs – at primary school level – for some of our children which should be identified and addressed at reception age? In some cases before reception? Certainly, before age 11?
Do we have the resources in the system to identify learning challenges at the earliest opportunity, said earliest identification and specialist solutions required to optimise the learning and education success of the child?
- How qualified in specialist early childhood education are the majority of our reception/infants teachers?
- How many children are getting proper pre-school education in accordance with current best practice?
- How do our social services/social welfare network work with education to help students whose home environment negatively impact their education at primary school longgg before 11+?
Is such a transformational fundamental change to our national education system realistically possible by 2023? Do we have the resources to implement this change optimally in time for 2023? Have all the national education stakeholders been truly engaged in this proposal ?
A lot of the rhetoric re the 11+ reminds some of us of the GOP approach to Obamacare:
‘Repeal it and replace with ???‘
We must be careful that we don’t destabilise what is currently working in our national education system, in our eagerness to address the clear deficiencies revealed, and in too many cases exacerbated, by the BSSEE and the current education system thereafter.
If parental confidence in our education system is lost in the proposed transition, the privatisation of our national education system will only accelerate, to the sad detriment of the majority of Barbados.
As we have said in another education related issue : ‘Be careful what you wish for…’
We look forward to further information, detailed discussion and being an integral part of the decision making and implementation of this substantial national project, in recognition of our essential parental role in the education of our children .
- Ms. Paula-Anne Moore – Parent Advocate
The Group of Concerned Parents, Barbados
The Caribbean Coalition for Exam Redress