Gleaner Editors' Forum | Reintroduction of civics urged for schools
Despite years of talk by successive governments, the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), civil society groups, and individuals that civics - studies about the rights and duties of the citizenry - should be returned to the classroom, its return has remained just talk.
Much to the annoyance of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), the issue was again part of discussions with representatives of the PSOJ during a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week that focused on governance, transparency, and accountability in the public and private sectors.
"I fully support the issue of getting civics back into the curriculum and back in schools. The idea that our students are growing up without some sense of the context in which they operate and how they can be a part of transforming and understanding that process, I think, is inadequate," argued Professor Alvin Wint, one the forum's panellists.
Its resumption, he said, was part of the philosophical change needed in the society, but much of the teaching had become too focused on technical matters. He argued that the growth of the society was dependent on its values, not just on the teaching of science subjects.
Wint's position was supported by Cecile Watson, director of the National Health Fund, who argued that some of the problems we face in the society come out because of the absence of civics from the curriculum.
"I think it is very important ... . Part of the issues we face in the society is because civics is missing. We talk about the governance for kids and millennials. It starts with the values. Values not only which they learn in their homes, but in schools, because sometimes, it's what they learn in schools that helps to come into the home and change the face of what you experience there," she told the forum.
How we educate the minds of the children has an impact on the future leaders they become, Watson said.
Greta Bogues, chairperson of the PSOJ Corporate Governance Standing Committee, said that it was the responsibility of the education ministry to lead its resumption, and the ministry needs to speak to the issue.