Chief Fire Officer concerned about educational system

Errol Maynard, Chief Fire Officer is concerned about the educational system in Barbados.

He told The Barbados Advocate at the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs Conference at Accra Beach Resort that the Fire Service receives a lot of applications, but the issue is that they are not qualified, not even having four CXCs,and then the other stumbling block is passing the drug test, a lot of them fail this test.

However, Dr. Cheryl Weekes, Deputy Principal of the Barbados Community College (BCC) highlighted “that the Barbados Community College has been offering training for the firefighters. We have just recently concluded training in Firefighting one and two and Fire science. The college has been working with the Fire Service to improve their training. We are trying to provide the training that they have a greater number of persons to choose from. We will be working with the Fire Service and also the Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs; we recognize that across the region, BCC is perhaps the only institution that is doing the extensive training both for fire and emergency medical technicians...”

“...We recognize education is the key to quality service and if we are talking about standards then we have to ensure that they are on the same page. This is important because we are living in a region prone to disasters, therefore we need to ensure that those services that respond to disasters are adequately trained, the better trained you are the safer the society.”

In terms of the education system, Dr Weekes indicated, “Everything changes and we don’t necessarily keep pace with the changes, when you look at students who are coming in the focus [it]is perhaps different, a lot of our students are into the electronic age and probable they are not reading enoug . We need to look at our system and see if we are providing the opportunities for persons to develop those critical thinking skills, the ability to look at a situation and determine what needs to happen. At BCC, we are still maintaining our enrollment of 3 500 and we will see how that goes but we have maintained our number throughout the years. I would like to see an educational system that gives everyone the opportunity to be successful whether it be in technical and vocational or academic. We want to see different type of training; we have to make sure that our training takes in different learning styles. You don’t have to be a doctor or lawyer because there is a place for everyone and that is why at the college, we offer a wide arrange of subjects.”

She also commented on the recent incidents of crimes in Barbados among young people. The Deputy Principal, believes “it is important that the foundation is there for young people. If there is no foundation the house will be crumble. I don’t think it is a case our young people don’t want to do what is required of them but they have so much influences such as social media etc therefore the foundation has to be strong from the home, the church, the village ...” (NB)

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