School beatings backward, cruel
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am absolutely horrified by the latest pronouncement by the minister of education, yet I am not entirely surprised. What should we expect from someone who is so profoundly rooted in the most backward thinking of the 19th century, even as the world is now well into the 21st century?
Jamaica, he declares, is "not ready" to outlaw physical violence against children in schools. Could he perhaps explain what precisely makes us unready, and give some indication as to when we are likely to be ready?
How can this man ever have been considered the right person to steer our education system into the 21st century, since his only "solutions" to our problems consist of rote learning, intimidation (which he would call 'discipline'), the instilling of an exaggerated respect for authority, indeed, everything which is designed to break the spirit and stultify the creativity of our children.
It has never been more widely understood that children learn by example, so that if the example set is one of violence and intimidation, our young people will grow up to use violence and intimidation to achieve their own ends.
Most important, it is only the incompetent and the mediocre who need to have recourse to violence, since they have neither the knowledge, the skills or the personality to encourage and inspire.
I urge all parents to make it plain in the most forceful way possible to school principals that they do NOT sanction the use of physical violence under the guise of punishment.
ANNIE ROSE KITCHIN