RETIRED PRINCIPAL Jeff Broomes wants the Ministry of Education to control the ratio of students to teacher in the classroom.
He made the call while delivering a lecture titled Protect Our Children And Save Our Country last Thursday night at the Barbados Workers’ Union headquarters Solidarity House.
“A full class of children, all with different personalities and specific needs, in itself can be very taxing for a teacher with his or her own personal and family challenges . . . . If we want to be good to our children and ultimately to our nation, ratios must not be allowed to swell to the point that compromises teacher effectiveness. Teachers are not magicians, although the work they do daily can often be seen as magical. Support them, please,” he pleaded.
Put hefty fine
As well as suggesting that a hefty fine be imposed on all public service vehicle operators caught transporting schoolchildren in their vans between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Broomes wanted a change in the way students were allocated to secondary schools.
According to him, it was one of the major contributing factors to the long-frowned-upon ZR and van stand culture, which he said greatly encouraged youth deviancy and violence.
“It is nonsensical to me that at a time when we have more than enough secondary school spaces, and when there is at least one secondary school in every parish, we are still languishing in the practices that were necessary for a past that needed to function in the way to address
the problems of the time, which is no longer the problem.
“I see no reason why a child from St Philip should come to school in St Michael or St James. I see no reason why a child from St Lucy should come to school in St Michael or Christ Church . . . . We now have unnecessary mass daily student movement and the obvious gatherings in the van stand. In addition to negatively impacting the available time for students to be involved in the after-school, character-building, extra-curricular activities, it also leaves our children exposed and presents an expensive challenge to our transportation system,” he argued.
Thursday’s lecture was hosted by the Child Care Board and aimed at addressing the scourge of youth violence. (SDB Media)