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Clear the air, Mr Jones


NICHOLAS HEADLEY

Clear the air, Mr Jones

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THE EFFORT by Mr Ronald Jones to clean up the music industry – dancehall, calypso and the like in Barbados is laudable.

However, I would take his pronouncement more seriously if he would first deal with a similar long-standing issue, in his ministry, which though less sexy also speaks to standards.

About two years ago the Chief Education Officer of Barbados stated on a Sunday Brass Tacks programme that the St Leonard’s Boys’ and Springer Memorial were the two lowest academically performing secondary schools in Barbados.

This statement was incorrect. Check the following definitive study published by the School of Education of the University of the West Indies: The Academic Achievement of Barbados Public Primary And Secondary Schools 1999-2005 – A Comprehensive Report.

The chief’s statement was challenged by the principals of both schools, the president of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools and other educators.

Not a single educator supported the chief’s statement.

When THE NATION, to its credit, raised the matter with the chief, she indicated she had no further comment. So much for public sector reform in the Ministry of Education. I understand the context in which this statement was made.

On that Sunday Brass Tacks programme Dr Leonard Shorey had the Senior Education Officer on the proverbial “ropes” with respect to the issue of co-education.

The chief had to call in to rescue her helpless representative with a dramatic, or melodramatic, intervention!

This issue reflects on the state of the Ministry of Education, the media, Government and governance, the University of the West Indies – especially the Faculty of Education – and our society in general.

Most sadly it reflects on the old scholars of both schools whose deafening silence tells a story.

I call on the Minister of Education, the Minister of Youth (and the National Youth Forum) and the Acting Prime Minister to have this statement justified (with statistics) or corrected with appropriate apologies.

Mr Jones, words, especially when they are untrue, “cut like knives and swords, especially on the minds of youth”; they inflict “emotional and psychological” abuse.

Calypsonians have no monopoly on foolishness, or trash, Mr Jones!

NICHOLAS HEADLEY

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