The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) made it clear on Monday that it was not trying to introduce the controversial Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) into local schools through the back door.
In fact, the Washington-based institution said Barbados TODAY Monday that he “has no other agenda than to support youth development through the strengthening of public education policies and programs” in this country.
CSE, a curriculum-based teaching and learning process on the cognitive, emotional, physical, and social aspects of sexuality, has met with resistance in the United States and other countries. of the Caribbean, fearing that it promotes sex education in an unhealthy and disruptive way.
Questions have been raised about the possibility of the IDB trying to integrate CSE into the school curriculum after revelations that a survey administered without parental approval to first-graders at five secondary schools, as part of a IT project administered by the lending agency, included questions about students’ sexuality and gender identity.
Ask by Barbados TODAY if the IDB was trying to facilitate, in any way, the introduction of the CSE program in local schools, or if the Bank was supporting the implementation of the process here, the country department of the financial institution in Barbados answered: “The answer to your question is ‘no’. The IDB works in partnership with its member countries to support each country’s development agenda.
“We are working in conjunction with the Barbados Department of Education and there is no agenda other than to support youth development through strengthening public education policies and programs,” he said. -he adds.
Education Minister Kay McConney also categorically denied that the investigation was linked to a recent IDB loan deal with Barbados.
“The answer is unequivocal,” she told Sunday’s edition of VOB’s Down to Brass Tacks, days after the IDB accepted full responsibility for the investigation and admitted that while the Ministry of Education objected to the inclusion of certain questions, it was still released to students in its original format.
During this radio program, Chief Executive Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, who had previously apologized on behalf of the ministry, also admitted that a similar test had also been carried out in other secondary schools in June. of this year, although it did not identify these schools.
The IDB’s denial of any CSE program came the same day social activist Marcia Weekes staged a one-man protest just outside Queen’s Park to draw attention to what she sees as a level of flagrant negligence on the part of the ministry and to get rid of any possible introduction of the program in the schools here.
Weekes, whose demonstration took place under overcast skies and intermittent showers just yards from the Department of Education, Technology and Skills Training, asked if the survey questions related to the CSE curriculum used in North America.
She said parents and carers on the island have a right to know if such moves are being planned locally.
“Parents also created a big problem because they saw the connection between comprehensive sex education and the content of this test. You have to ask yourself ‘what is this type of data for? Is it going to be given to a guidance counselor who will help the children? We don’t know yet.
“That’s why I’m asking the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education to tell us if the comprehensive sex education curriculum is being introduced in schools in Barbados? Have they signed it?
Carry a large poster displaying messages such as “Kick Out Kay!” “Apology Not Enough” and “Heads Must Roll!”, Weekes also insisted that the public should be made aware of the position of the police, as well as that of Data Protection Commissioner Lisa Greaves on the matter. .
She suggested that based on the fact that sensitive information had been collected – including the circumstances of the children’s home – Barbados’ Data Protection Act 2021 could have been breached.
“The question we want to know about her [Greaves] that is to say, was the matter brought to him? According to the laws of Barbados, this matter should have been brought before him within 72 hours. What happened. . . constitutes a clear breach of data protection law.
“She’s the one appointed to enforce data protection law, so we need to hear from her,” Weekes claimed.