St James North MP Edmund Hinkson. (FP)
THE ARTICLE CAPTIONED Jones Ridicules Hinkson’s Charges in last Monday’s edition of your newspaper purports to report on the aspect of the previous week’s Estimates Debate in the House of Assembly.
During it, the issue of what percentage of students in Barbados obtain four or more passes in their first sitting of Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams was addressed.
The article, while referring to my quote of that percentage as being 6.4 per cent, did not state that I based my contention on a study conducted by the very credible Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), of which Barbados has been a paying member since 1967.
The fact is that this international organisation undertook research on our country’s educational system between the years 1999 and 2012, years which spanned regimes of both of the two political parties. The IDB’s ultimate goal is to assist Barbados in restoring sustainable growth in our economy.
Its senior education specialist, Dr Marianna Alfonso, who holds a doctorate in education economics, stated at an international conference on higher education held last October at the Barbados Hilton, that only 6.1 per cent of students in our country obtain four or more passes at their first sitting of CSEC exams. This is not an issue which any right-thinking education minister should outrightly dismiss as being “extremely inaccurate”.
Dr Alfonso went on to reveal that 50 per cent of our students obtain more than four CSEC passes but only after sitting these exams on more than one occasion. This is the figure on which basis Minister Jones sought to refute what I had earlier contended during the debate.
The reality is that Barbados’ education spend at approximately six per cent of our gross domestic product, is above the average of that of the world’s most developed countries. Those of us at the level of the political directorate have a…