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Veteran educator Daphne Douglas worries for youth

Published:Friday | March 6, 2015 | 3:23 PMRichard Mitchell
Douglas ... I think having a difficult life is useful.

Former Professor at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Daphne Douglas has placed on the table serious concerns about the students of the present day.

Speaking with The Gleaner in her 20th year of retirement from the UWI, the distinguished past professor of Library Studies said students today are not only self-centred, but they are also at a disadvantage because they are "spoilt rotten".

"The students today are too narrow-minded. The human being in 2015 is the thing that's worrying me," Douglas said.

"They have been brought up with the idea of 'I', 'me' and 'myself', and if anything is left over, it's 'me' again. They don't have the broad perspective that one ought to have. You cannot spend your life making sure that you are the centre of the universe," Douglas said.

"I think we are this way because we are now spoilt rotten."




She continued: "Parents who lived a hard life decided that their children were not going to have a hard life and, therefore, their children never experienced this hardship. I think having a difficult life is useful. Some children today have 20 pairs of shoes and 40 dresses ... In my days, you had one pair of shoes for home and one for church!"

Beyond the easy lives some children are now being brought up on, the past Kingston College board member said she was also seeing a shift from selflessness to self-centredness; something that causes her much concern.

She said: "What is also worrying me is the lack of conscience, not only from students, because when that student grows up and becomes a teacher, you'll have the same thing. Teachers have the mentality of, 'Give me mi salary', 'I am important', 'It doesn't matter if I go to class late' and 'It doesn't matter if I don't prepare a proper lesson to each the children'."

The educator said teachers who place emphasis on extra lessons are perfect examples of a system that is now occupied by persons who lack ethics.

"Nowadays, I hear of teachers refusing to teach students in class in preparation for O' Levels; and then they demand the students come to extra classes. This is what I mean when I say that ethics is what is wrong with the system now."

"We simply have too many people who are looking out for just themselves," the professor concluded.