Friday 4 December, 2020

No child left behind! Education Minister ready to talk reform

This is the photo that Education Minister Santia Bradshaw shared two days ago, Sunday, June 9, 2019.

This is the photo that Education Minister Santia Bradshaw shared two days ago, Sunday, June 9, 2019.

Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training and Leader of Government Business, Santia Bradshaw believes that education reform is necessary and she is ready to tackle the issue.

On her Instagram page, Bradshaw, who has been off island receiving medical treatment, seems very excited and anxious to get back to work and bring about change in Barbados' education sector.

Sharing a photo of a teacher in a classroom with the words 'No Child Left Behind' in chalk on the blackboard, Bradshaw wrote the caption:

"Alas! An opportunity to use all this wonderful knowledge bestowed on us with free education to create a system that leaves no child behind. It is always easy to fear the unknown because great comfort and complacency often exists [sic] in doing the same thing over and over. What lies ahead could never be worse than what I’ve just come through. It is the experience of the past few months that no doubt will fuel me in the months ahead to begin a conversation that will chart the way forward for much needed educational reforms. 

Responding to her post, teachers appear to be ready and willing to have this conversation as well.

One teacher wrote:

"As a teacher, I'm eagerly looking forward to where this conversation eventually leads. Children have evolved and so should the education system which has remained stagnant for too long! Too many children still left behind because they're being tested for Math, Grammar, Comprehension and Composition skills only at the end of their Primary years; when they have so much more to offer. Time for change! #awaitingchange#educationevolutionneeded"

To which Bradshaw replied, "looking forward to the discussion with you and the rest of the teaching fraternity."

Other teachers wrote that they are ready as well and have done research to better contribute when the discussion is had.

Spark Learning also got in on the post. Spark Learning was founded by Barbadian Natasha Gray and operates in Barbados and Jamaica. Gray is an educational consultant with particular experience in Learning Disabilities (LD) specifically in dyslexia. The company provides diagnostic assessments and Access Arrangements for many private schools as well as SEN support for both government and private schools in Barbados, Jamaica, St. Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago. On the post, Spark Learning added, "We look forward to the amendments, accommodations and modifications needed in our educational system."

But not only are the Minister and the teachers looking forward to reform, so are some parents.

One parent shared her experience saying that she wishes to see a timely change - a difference before her second child reaches the age to sit the 11-plus. She wrote: "I hope that positive change soon comes. I saw the common entrance almost splinter my child into a billion pieces just because of outside perception of what is well done and I adamantly refuse to let this happen to my second child."

Bradshaw's post came almost one week after Prime Minister Mia Mottley told thousands at the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) rally, including those listening via stream, that the Education Minister will soon return to her post and she is tasked with the job of looking into the changes necessary to improve the Barbados Secondary Schools' Entrance Examination, commonly called the Common Entrance Examination, or to determine a new means by which students transition to higher education more fairly.

The 2019 11-plus results are due back soon. 

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