By Trevor Yearwood - Barbados' News Leader

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, made this admission yesterday, while saying that more men were applying to teach.

He told reporters females were doing their best in the classroom but there were certain things males were better suited to do to help schoolboys – and even girls.

“I still think that there is still a need to have more men coming forward to the front,” he told reporters during a tour of schools yesterday.

“The (male-female) ratios are still low, too low for my own comfort. The presence of a male and female within a mixed co-educational environment is important to the mental and emotional state of young people and where we can have a little more of men coming forward will start to give a better feel within the classroom environment.”

Jones said men “bring a different strength, particularly to young boys and, also importantly, to young ladies within the school environment who want to be able to see a father figure operate within the dynamics of a school environment”.

He argued that there were things that young boys wanted to talk to men about “and they should have that opportunity to talk to men within the school environment” about such.

Women bring “their own particular peculiarities, their own particular dynamics” and “they can have conversations relative to that maternal, caring outflow that is heavily embedded within the psychological, within the emotional”.

But through games, including cricket and road tennis, men had roles in “helping to make young men become assertive within the school environment and the wider world”, he added.

It was all well and good to speak about “my mother who fathered me” but “we want fathers to father”, he told reporters.

“We want men to be fathers and if you can see that command within the school environment, then those young men who come thereafter will also be responsible fathers and father their children in the community and within the environment,” Jones said.