Jones stands up for school
MINISTER OF EDUCATION Ronald Jones has stoutly defended the way children are taught in school.
Speaking at the opening of the fifth reading conference of the Barbados Association of Reading (BAR) last Thursday evening, he said it was “impossible for school to be everything to everybody”.
He was responding to a criticism from head of marketing at LIME, Gail Niles, who said managers complained over the fact that youngsters “fresh out of school” were unable to articulate effectively in a business setting.
Niles, who was speaking on behalf of the sponsor, said a lot of the school leavers had not mastered business language. She added it was “disheartening” to meet youngsters who were bright and intelligent, but those characteristics were not seen in their business acumen.
Jones’ position was that the schools were there to embed the foundation structures, and literacy was a part of that.
“Schools are there to cause minds to expand and grow so that they [students] can make choices. [They] cannot stray from that path.”
The minister added literacy must be taught but that language, to which people had the capacity to adapt, was a result of environment.
In commending the BAR for its work and staying the course, Jones told the partners they all had to work with the youth.
He said that unless there were major physical defects, it was not fair for students to leave school without knowing how to read and write.
The minister said teachers and leaders of the schools understood the need to embrace and massage students to get them to grasp certain concepts. He said a lot more of that embracing and massaging was taking place.
He said they often sold themselves short by not seeing the value added.
An example of such was a child who would enter secondary with a score of 25 in Common Entrance and five years later could achieve five and six CXCs. (YB)