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Call to reform education system

RACHELLE AGARD, [email protected]

Call to reform education system

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The president of the Barbados Youth Development Council (BYDC) is calling for Barbados’ education system to be reformed.

Roshanna Trim was speaking yesterday at Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St Michael, where BYDC was hosting a youth pop-up shop ahead of tomorrow’s International Youth Day celebrations.

Trim said the topic of transforming the education system was an international one that had gained a lot of attention locally in recent times.

“The reality is the 21st century young person cannot be educated in our current education system because it is outdated. As a result, we need to discuss very thoroughly and strategically, and on a wide scale, with all the stakeholders, ministries, inter-governmental organisations, international organisations and civil society organisations, what we want the education system to look like,” she explained.

Trim added that the transformation needed to go beyond academics.

“It has to look at vocational as well as creative and critical thinking. There are some very key skills that have been highlighted like soft skills and being able to engage people; being able to manage your temper, manage situations and conflict resolution. All of these things need to become inculcated into the education system. We also have to talk about mental health in the education system and making our teachers 21st century ready for the 21st century citizen that is no longer restricted simply by boundaries because technology has expanded. We need to revisit how we use technology in teaching,” she said.

Floor member of the council and chair of the International Youth Day Committee, Allan Farmer, said so far they had only engaged civil society but intended to include the general public in the discussion going forward.

“We have an [online] survey where about 150 persons have participated already. The survey is looking at evaluating the education system and what people think needs to be changed. This is so that when we approach the policymakers there is information to show this is what the general public in Barbados thinks . . . ,” he said.

Moreover, Trim said this was just the beginning of their attempts to collect data on the topic.

“We have engaged UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), civil society organisations and our activate talks and focus groups where we will compile that information and create a document that we plan to submit and have a wider engagement with governmental stakeholder and non-governmental stakeholders,” she said.

Farmer said they spoke to students, teachers and principals at the National Sixth Form Fair held in June and planned to continue in that vein until they had collected the required information from all sections of Barbados. (RA)

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