Maria Holder Trust helping satisfy Barbados' educational agenda
Minister of Education, Ronald Jones was ably assisted by one young student as he unveiled the official plaque at the Maria Holder Nursery School - Oldbury today.
The government of Barbados, with the assistance of both the public and private sector, is committed to all students not just those at the nursery level.
The Maria Holder Memorial Trust is helping Barbados satisfy its early childhood education agenda by funding the infrastructure and improving teacher training.
Making this assertion today at the official opening at the third of six promised Maria Holder Nursery Schools was the Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones.
He said that the Trust is delivering on its promise to help meet the demands for nursery education across the island with each state-of-the-art child-friendly educational institution that is opened.
Jones said that he originally told the Trust, “six schools with around 100, 120 students per school and at least a few at 150 or there about and we would along with the private sector, because we didn’t, we’re not shutting out entrepreneurial behaviour, and we have been able to satisfy that demand.”
When asked by a colleague in his ministry what is happening to the youth beyond the nursery age however, the Minister chose not to paint all of Barbados’ young generation with one negative brush.
He asserted, “What happens down the road? Why all can’t remain like this? I told him, well dream on, society has this impact on you beyond family training and family reach that can sometimes affect your character, your personality. Well by and large majority of young people have remained focused, have remained constant and have remained determined.”
And he assured that the government has not shifted its focus away from the older students, but he explained, “The Government of Barbados during this period has completely refocused along with the assistance of the Maria Holder Memorial Trust its attention on early childhood education, not that it has shifted emphasis from primary, secondary and post-secondary and tertiary education but it is because of this deep recognition and heavy enunciation in the Millennium Development Goals… and now the Sustainable Development Goals that started in 2015…and quality education and early childhood education is completely re-emephasised in this other 15-year agenda for education and Barbados is in integral, in fact Barbados serves as one of the co-chairs of the OAS Agenda on quality education and deeply embed in there is early childhood education.”
In regard to teacher training, the Trust has funded the training of nursery teachers at the post-grad level, 76 teachers, and 33 of those have so far been successfully trained at the Master-Degree level and the second cohort of 31 started on Monday.
“Your foray into physical construction, infrastructure provision has moved into the provision of quality teachers to satisfy the needs of our little ones,” added Jones.
Deputy Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson told the audience that improving early childhood education can improve society and she extended the ministry’s gratitude to the Trust for their commitment to education and the country of Barbados.
The school is built to accommodate 90 students and has 72 enrolled at present. The Minister said that the balance will come in January because the students enter the system in stages as they reach their third birthdays. Over at Maria Holder Nursery School – Gall Hill, they have capacity for 150 and have 102 currently, with 15 additional students expected next term.