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Specialist schools key to success

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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Concerned that the economic role of education is not being fulfilled, a retired educator thinks the time has come for Barbados to direct its resources towards the establishment of specialist schools in the arts, agriculture and sports.
Herbert Reifer, a former senior teacher and department head at the St Michael School, made this call during his keynote presentation at the 16th John Cumberbatch Memorial Lecture at Almond Bay Conference Centre in Hastings, Christ Church, on Wednesday night.
At these three specialist schools, Reifer said, students should be taught how to be self-employed professionals. His plan would be for them to go out and market their skills and that would help in reducing the unemployment rate.
 “I am not questioning whether or not we are spending money in the right or wrong direction. That is not for me to determine. All I am asking is if the time is not right for us to redirect or divert some of these resources into programmes targeting these economic challenges with the hope of bringing about some positive change.
“In other words, education needs to pay more serious attention to filling some of these ever-widening holes in our economy, namely unemployment, high food import bill and the high energy import bill. We cannot continue to sidestep or skirt these issues and hope that they disappear or that someone will wave a magic wand and they will vanish instantly,” he said. (MK)