Reform The Educational System Of Barbados


The educational system of any country must ultimately provide the opportunity for young persons, on reaching adulthood, to have developed the character, competence and personal responsibility traits that they will need to be successful independent citizens. Barbados’ educational policy must be geared towards inculcating in our children characteristics such as self-esteem, self-confidence, industry and the spirit of volunteerism at a very early stage of their school careers.

After ten years of stagnation and in fact a decline in the quality of our country’s educational system at the point of its delivery, too many of our youth do not display such characteristics on becoming adults. Under the Democratic Labour Party administration in the three year period between 2013-4 and 2016-7, Barbados has in fact declined sixteen places from 6th to 22nd on the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report in terms of the quality of our educational system.

A new Barbados Labour Party Government needs to place greater emphasis on developing the social and interactive skills of our children as well as developing their care, sensitivity and tolerance towards other’s needs and interests. Our educational system must seek to engender in our children, even in their early childhood education, a more positive attitude towards others and a greater appreciation of the differing cultures and environments which exist among our Caribbean people and among our fellow global citizens. Additionally, our youth must be provided with the necessary ability to think critically, to solve problems and to resolve conflict rather than to engage in physical confrontation or violence.

An Incoming Barbados Labour Party Administration will strive tirelessly to create a safe and nurturing educational and social environment within which our young people can fulfil their maximum potential. As a Progressive Government, it would understand that heavier investment in science and technology, business, art, creative industries and culture is required, even from our primary school system. This would act as a catalyst for the creation of innovative products and services as well as for the development of entrepreneurship in our Island.

As policymakers, a Barbados Labour Party Government needs to ensure that our current educational system is seriously reformed to cater to a wider cross-section of non-academics. It is estimated that approximately fifty per cent of our children leave secondary school without any formal certification. Rather than be classified as failures, these school-leavers need to be given the opportunity to enter a youth service programme which would ultimately provide them with some of the technical and vocational skills required to succeed in this increasingly competitive world.

A new Barbados Labour Party political directive must ultimately restore the position which previously existed up until three years ago whereby young people are not deprived of tertiary education just because they cannot financially afford it.

An Incoming Barbados Labour Party Administration will recognize that more children with disabilities, many of whom have unique skills just waiting to be given the opportunity to be tapped, must be brought into our mainstream educational system. They will consequently be better equipped when they become adults to realize their full potential. As is their entitlement as citizens, they should be given the opportunity to contribute to national development and to participate positively in our socio-economic and political affairs.

Our educational system has not undergone any curriculum reform since 2000 under the Ministerial Leadership of the Honourable Mia Mottley with the Honourable Cynthia Forde as her Parliamentary Secretary. It has to be reformed in the very near future to produce a larger percentage of young Barbadians who are productive, self-reliant, capable and multilingual global citizens with the confidence that they can make a decent living anywhere in the world.

Edmund Gregory Hinkson Member of Parliament, St. James North, Attorney-at-Law and Shadow Education Minister.


Critical Mass: Small Jurisdictions And Big Problems. Logistics And Infrastructure Challenges To Meet Small Jurisdictions Expectations To Achieve The Same Service Levels As Larger Ones – Oct 27, 2017


It is an absolute necessity that the Parliament of all nation states, no matter
their territorial size or demographics, enact, implement and strictly enforce legislation providing for accountability and transparency in the governance systems of their respective countries. The cost, financial, developmental and otherwise, resulting from a failure to undertake this process, is just too significant. This cost cannot be afforded, particularly by small jurisdictions which have in the recent past been experiencing severe challenges to achieve and sustain competitiveness in the new global economic and trading order.

Clear and precise laws as well as orders and policy directives emanating therefrom need to be in place in small independent countries in order to maximize solid governance principles involving the administration of both the public and private sectors.

Auditor General departments need to be empowered with criminal prosecutorial powers to be able to properly investigate and pursue those who do not comply with modern day financial and accountability provisions. Those persons in positions of responsibility, whether from the political class, the bureaucracy or the commercial sector, must be liable in law for breaches in the system of governance falling under their purview.

Fiscal Responsibility legislation must exist so that these countries can ensure that best practices rein in terms of the fiscal management of government.

Parliamentary Committees must be established or, if already established, must be given more powers to investigate, pursue and enforce alleged breaches of the financial, tendering and accounting rules of government.

Additionally, Freedom of Information legislation must be enacted and enforced to empower the public, including the media, to obtain information relating to the country’s governance. This ought to be their right in the public’s interest. Citizens ought to be able to receive information on the basis that it is their tax-paying dollars by virtue of which the elected politicians and public officers administer the nation state. Failure to provide for this type of legislative framework and the continuation in this era of archaic Official Secrets Acts are a hinderance to any nation’s developmental progress. This is even more the case in small jurisdictions which invariably possess greater familiarity among persons than exists in larger, more developed states.

Finally, it is absolutely essential in this context that the Parliaments of small vulnerable nations, particularly those in the developing world, enact, proclaim and enforce modern day Prevention of Corruption, Bribery and Integrity in Public Life Legislation.

Persons who come into public life, whether they are elected or unelected officials, must be subject to the full weight of the law for their corrupt practices and for breaches of trust and faith if small jurisdictions aspire to achieve the same service levels as larger ones.

It is estimated that corruption costs individual nations millions if not billions of dollars each year, if not dealt with and pursued. This comes at a tremendous price and disadvantage to those citizens who are consequently denied maximum educational opportunities, health care and social and welfare services which the state would otherwise be in a position to financially afford them.

Small jurisdictions, while not having the human and financial resources at their disposal which richer developed countries possess, have absolutely no excuse in failing to make legislative provision for their best systems of governance through insisting on the development of a culture of accountability, transparency and anti-corruption throughout their respective societies.

Edmund Gregory Hinkson
Member of Parliament, St. James North, Barbados.


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2017-07-16 Barbados Today facebook page – St James North residents in self help

“Dissatisfied with excuses offered by Government ministries when residents of his St James North constituency request assistance for road, drainage or other infrastructural works Member of Parliament Edmund Hinkson today led a group of volunteers in cleaning up the Sion Hill Community Centre. Speaking to Barbados TODAY as residents along with trainees of his Clarkson Foundation Development Organisation painted the Community Centre’s pavilion, the St James North MP pointed out that Barbadians pay on average 45 per cent of their income in direct and indirect taxes and asked why is Government not channeling some of this money to badly needed infrastructural work.”

From St James North residents in self help. Posted by Barbados Today on 7/17/2017 (16 items)

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