While Pastor Hensworth Jonas is threatening to sue Director of Education Clare Browne over statements he made about the Baptist Academy, Franz deFreitas, is calling out education officials for their apparent lack of serious interest in the system.
During a recent radio interview, Browne insisted that private schools should not be compared to public schools, because the latter institutions must cater to the needs of all children, regardless of their academic skills.
Many residents are of the view that certain private institutions reject slower students so that the schools will achieve better academic results in the Grade Six National Assessment exams.
However, if their parents apply to a government-run school, these children cannot be turned away.
DeFreitas does not subscribe to the view that private schools are superior, however. Rather, he says, the Administration’s apparent lackluster approach to public-school education is to be blamed for students’ under-performance.
DeFreitas, the United Progressive Party Candidate for St. John’s City South, notes that teachers in the private-school system are not paid much more than those in the government schools. The difference in outcome, he says, is the involvement of parents in the private system.
Meanwhile, Browne says the Ministry of Education runs an inclusive system in which there is no exam required for admittance.
When schools exclude children through entrance exams, he says, the public-education system is then the obvious choice, since it does not reject children who do not attain a certain grade or average.