With the new year upon us, the talk of change often comes as persons look to revive, revamp and/or renew. Right here in Barbados, change and reform has been part of the ongoing dialogue following the historic 2018 general elections. Barbadians are facing constant changes; some pleasing while others have been a hard to chew on.
Higher Education: UWI to Ross University
When it comes to education, the spotlight has been put on the sector. In the latter part of 2018 higher education was the focus with government’s commitment to the University of the West Indies and resuming the payment of tuition for Barbadian nationals coupled with the relocation of Ross University from Dominica to Barbados. Such events were a reminder of the island’s history of being an education hub for both locals and overseas persons, particularly during colonial times. While Ross University’s move to Barbados was not without controversy, for many the move is a welcomed boost to the economy. On the flip side, the move was on the heels of the closure of the University of Washington University Barbados Campus, which resulted in the displacement of international students who were forced to return home without any return on their investment. The dichotomy of these events makes me conservatively optimistic. While I believe that the influx of overseas North American off-shore medical schools is a catalyst of much needed growth in the Edu-Tourism sector, I cannot help but advocate for a national policy to introduce standards, branding and room for indigenous product/service creation.
The Common Entrance: Scrap or Not?
Once again, the volume button on the argument to discontinue the Barbados Secondary Entrance Exam has been turned up: this time to extremely loud. Everyone from the academic to the man on the street is weighing in on the debate. The current argument has made me revisit my bag of questions for the proponents of discontinuing or revamping the process of placing students in secondary school. Below are a few of the questions that come to my mind when listening to the debate:
What questions come to your mind when you thinking about the argument to revamp and/or discontinue the Common Entrance?
This debate is far from over, but this is all part of the change process. More to come.
"Have you visited the school?" is a common question asked by those seeking college/university counselling and placement support. Being able to answer this question positively helps to assure a student and/or parent as well as to instill confidence in the advice provided.
It is not possible to see every school in the world but as an advisor, it is important to have a high degree of familiarity with colleges and universities. What is also important, is having some familiarity with the country of interest, its education system, people, culture and customs to ensure advising is comprehensive and holistic.
The release of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination and the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate results across Barbados and other participating CARICOM Member States is a highly anticipated period during the summer holidays. Firstly, it marks the official end of summer for students (and educators) and secondly, students can now decide on their next steps. Be it, Sixth form, college, university, work or whether they have to go back to the drawing board.
This time of the year is what I often term as bitter sweet! As much as I am excited for my students who are about to start their college/university lives, there is a tiny sense of sadness when it is time to say goodbye. Recently, I said goodbye to our student intern, Darian, who will be commencing his studies at Humber College this September. After working with Darian for a year, both as an intern and as a student, I had the distinct privilege of getting to know this remarkable young man, who has a passion for the field of business.
For those that are going abroad, the months leading up to their departure can be a bit of a 'crazy' period, with all the steps that need to be taken before their arrival. From the time Darian accepted his unconditional offer from Humber College, the remaining months consisted of sorting out his finances in preparation for his tuition deposits and study permit application, applying for housing and registering for classes.
The last day of secondary school was the best day of my life for many reasons. I was elated to be moving on to the next stage of my life: adulthood. I was eagerly awaiting life as a young adult in a new country as a college student. Despite the excitement felt, I couldn't help but also feel a sigh of relief that I would never have to step foot through the hallways and classrooms I occupied for the last seven years. For the most part, my secondary school days were filled with positive experiences, where I enjoyed an active social calendar and celebrated great academic achievements. However, there were days where I faced challenges, which seemed somewhat insurmountable at the time. While some experiences could be categorised as teenage growing pains, there are those that had such an impact, where my vulnerabilities were exposed by persons whose sole intention was to cause harm.
A significant portion of an individual's lifetime is spent learning. Whether learning is taking place in school, the workplace, church, family, friends or in our communities, the fact remains that knowledge is shared constantly throughout our lives. There is a widely held view that Education is life-long learning. This can be seen in some education systems across the world where the creation of knowledge bases and the exchange of information is continuous. Education can evolve as one grows and develops. It is critical to ensure that persons can access information to make informed decisions when it comes to the planning of their education and careers.
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