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JEFF BROOMES: We must work on improving our actions


JEFF BROOMES: We must work on improving our actions

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THE CURRENT INDUSTRIAL climate in Barbados presents the perfect backdrop for this week’s submission in the Urgency of Honesty series. Our professional behaviour speaks loudly for us as individuals. It is here that we must be guided by principles and positive values.

It is an absolute truth that as professionals we must believe in helping others, our nation, our thinking and our actions to improve. We must respect the notion of transformation and transcendence in whatever is our responsibility. 

In our professional position of responsibility as doctor, lawyer, teacher, computer technician, secretary, librarian or a plethora of other professions we must remember that we started the job with a commitment to working in the interest of the institution or organisation.

We also committed to promoting the ideals of the profession and to respect the rules and guiding principles that define our roles. Anything short of upholding these values is simply an act of dishonesty that speaks quite negatively about us as individuals.

As an educator, what takes place in the teaching profession attracts my attention. This is an area that annually commands substantial investment and expenditure. There must be genuine returns on such financial faith. 

One area of concern to me, among many, is the Common Entrance Examination and how it is allowed to languish, to be misrepresented and spun as nothing more than a political football. It is simply a test that evaluates the child’s literacy and numeracy levels at that particular age.   

Testing is a part of most educational systems, indeed all that I know of. We should not condemn the test and create all mythical positions about what it does to children before, on and after the day. We must be intellectually honest and focus on the real problem.

As parents we want to have vicarious successes through our children, we spend immense sums on lessons and private tuition that usually only provide more work for the child. I suggest that the examination is not the problem. It is how the results are used that causes discrimination, disappointment and stress. 

We as a country lack the political will to make the necessary decision to create a level playing field in education at all levels. We must see the urgency for honesty if we are to remove the problem that engenders such debate and criticism that more often than not is couched in pretence.

Barbados is not replete with diverse natural resources, except for the unique skills, abilities and drive of our people. In every country, the workers’ productivity is the determining factor in success or failure. If we are productive, loyal and respectful to self, profession and country, we drive our nation forward.

We must internalise our evaluations. When we are often tardy in arriving at work or beginning work, are we helping productivity? When we are often absent for reasons unrelated to health or medical concerns, are we helping productivity?

When we are less than focused on the job at hand, choosing instead to engage in the casual conversation, the chats and messages on the cell phone or the distractions associated with our personal and not professional business, are we helping productivity? 

When we disrespect or place undue stress on our co-worker or subordinate, are we helping productivity? Each of these situations cheats the institution and compromises its ultimate performance. It is wrong and dishonest. More money does not resolve the issue. Improved attitudes and honest effort do. 

Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]