Barbados to abandon Common Entrance exam, pushes for education reform

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley (Photo: Twitter @MiaAmorMottley)

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley says her government will be making substantial moves to abolish the Common Entrance exam in this new decade, starting with a nationwide discussion in the coming months.

In an address to the nation on Thursday (Jan 2) Mottley argued that the time has come for Barbados to flourish.

“You have heard us speak over and over about the fact that the government is now committed to the removal of the Common Entrance exam—which seeks to relegate people to stations of life or no opportunities, depending on where they go after the [exam],” she indicated.

Mottley’s announcement comes as she notified of “sweeping changes on the horizon” in 2020 for the country’s education system to create more diverse and equitable opportunities for schoolchildren.

‘A modern Barbados needs to flourish…without Common Entrance’ (Photo: Twitter @MiaAmorMottley)

“Ten or eleven years old is too young to ask a child to determine what their life should look like for the rest of their life and I’m glad that the Minister of Education is fully recovered and ready now, in 2020, to lead that discussion with the Barbadian people. In so doing, we will have to determine whether we literally expand primary education, create middle schools [in such a way] that every, single secondary school that will take children will be schools of excellence,” Mottley added.

See a snippet of Mottley’s address below:

An article published in the Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean by the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona in 2018, evaluated Common Entrance’s validity in a modern context using qualitative analysis conducted through the lens of human capital and postcolonial theories in the light of male underachievement. The article, written by Collette Applewhaite, highlighted the disparities between genders in achievement and placement in secondary schools based on the controversial examination.