Sun | Jun 24, 2018

Outdated education system -provides a pathway to the gangster lifestyle, warns Dr Herbert Gayle

Published:Tuesday | May 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Senator, Ruel Reid, (right) Minister of Education, Youth and Information in discussion from left Dean-Roy Bernard, Permanent Secretary, ASP Coleridge Minto, Director MOEY, Safety and Security in Schools Unit and Inspector Clifton Green, Counter Terrrorism and Organized Crime Investigating Branch (C-TOC) at the Ministry of Education/ USAID partneship for improved safety and security in Schools launch of Anti- Gang Workshop Series at the Jamaica Pegasus on Friday, May 18, 2018

Jamaica's desire to hold on to an outdated education system that is unable to give children a better grasp of what is needed to compete for jobs at the global level is helping to fuel violence and the gangland culture, anthropologist

Dr Herbert Gayle has posited.

Additionally, he has called for the complete overhaul of the secondary and post-secondary levels of the education system to give boys, in particular, a chance of a better life.

"The truth of the matter is that we are still hanging on to non-modern, non-technical skills. We are still thinking that a child must want to be a doctor or a lawyer - all those traditional stuff," Gayle said.

"Thirty-three per cent of the children coming into the universities or college system are doing so unprepared. The courses that they are doing are totally unrelated to their skill sets; it looks like a scam. It's just a bunch of people who want to say that they have done something, but [they are not] focused on ensuring that what is done is to the efficacy of the country," he reasoned.

Gayle was addressing the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information's regional anti-gang workshop at the Pegasus hotel on Friday. The ministry launched the workshop in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Education Trust.

USAID has provided funding to the tune of US$3 million over two years' support to the ministry's programmes that were aimed at reducing violence among students and youth, with the Government of Jamaica putting up a further US$1 million (J$126 million) for the programme.

In shedding more light on the issue, Gayle said that it was the Ministry of Education that must lead the country away from violence. "This country is in a whole lot of trouble and the education system is at the centre of it all. It is the education system that [will] pull us out of it [trouble],but before it happens; they [education policymakers] must first get it right themselves," he said.

Speaking earlier during the launch Education Minister, Senator Ruel Reid, argued that the education system needed to now become "inclusive because [based on] the profile of the 1970s to '80s, we only had about 25 to 30 per cent of our population with access to full secondary education.

"Many persons didn't have education beyond grade nine, so when you look at our workforce today, where you have about 15 per cent tertiary, we still have 67 per cent of the population that have no secondary certification ... in an age of industrialisation led by technology where there's less demand for unskilled labour," Reid argued.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com