(Barbados Nation) Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley last night announc-ed a slew of measures aimed at improving the conditions in schools, making them more conducive to teaching and learning.
They were agreed upon following a closed door meeting with officials in education, the teachers’ trade unions and other stakeholders at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw, who has been receiving cancer treatment in the United States, flew home for the intervention.
Mottley said while the near ten-hour meeting would not solve the issues in one go, they set out measures to guide officials.
Among the measures agreed upon, Mottley said, would be to save the 500 most vulnerable families across the island. Social workers, the schools and those in the criminal justice system would identify the at-risk families and interventions would be made at the level of the Welfare Department, Child Care Board, Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Small Business, among others.
Addressing violence in schools will be another step. The Prime Minister said children had to understand life was about choices, but choices had consequences. She said there would be “zero tolerance” to violence.
As a result, the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) and the Royal Barbados Police Force will step up joint patrols around the problem schools, along the routes the children travelled and in the bus terminals.
Millions of dollars have been allocated in the Budget to not only upgrade the physical plants, but also put some of these programmes in place.
In addition to the Government officials, there were also representatives from the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPS), the Association of Public Primary School Principals (APPS), the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union.