Sun | Sep 27, 2020

Put youth and culture back in education ministry - Reid

Published:Saturday | December 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

OPPOSITION SENATOR Ruel Reid has called for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and Culture to be re-merged.

Reid suggested that the portfolios, interlinked under one ministry in the past, were operating at cross purposes.

"It is counter-productive for the two ministries being apart," Reid told the Senate yesterday.

Reid called on the Government to impress on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the urgent need to allow it to enter into public-private partnerships to build additional secondary institutions.

Noting that the IMF was opposed to this move, Reid pointed to the sharp numerical imbalance in the ratio of early childhood and primary to secondary institutions.

"It is even better than achieving a 7.5 per cent primary surplus target," he said.

Reid blasted the effects of night noise, among other things, that, he argued, constituted a toxic environment in which many children are socialised.

He was making his contribution to a debate on a private member's motion from Government Senator Imani Duncan Pryce that called for fundamental changes to the teaching of boys.

Opening the debate, Duncan Pryce suggested that Jamaica needs to effect fundamental changes to the modality of learning and teaching as male and female students tend to learn differently.

After a late start, lawmakers listened to Duncan Pryce's advocacy of the urgent need for gender equity in the formal education system to cauterise existing problems of learning disorders.

Duncan Pryce sought to summon energies to mobilise changes to the way resources are allocated to facilitate gender equity as well as to offer a fair chance of having all needs met.

"Let us look at the situation, not blaming any group or individual for the results that we have today, but to effect the necessary changes to implement different approaches to teaching and learning," she said.

Flawed societal expectations

Duncan Pryce pointed to what she characterised as notable mismatches in the way boys and girls are socialised as well as flawed societal expectations.

She noted that research has found that girls are verbal and visual learners, while boys are inclined to be more active while learning.

Highlighting the urgent need for gender equity in education, Duncan Pryce pointed to early warning signals that eventually lead to systemic problems.

Duncan Pryce cited learning disabilities as well as the different ways in which boys and girls absorb information.

She pointed to likely root causes of male underachievements in relation to male socialisation and gender privileges vis-à-vis values instilled in young females.

"My hope is that with the gathering of information and analysis, we can move ahead," said Duncan Pryce.