Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Letter of the Day | Trust and church schools should go private

Published:Monday | August 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Once again, the Government of Jamaica has demonstrated its contempt for the schools charged with the process of socialising Jamaica's youngsters at the secondary level. First, a prime minister and then a minister of education have named and shamed schools and principals, as well as boards of management, as corrupt extortionists.

The contribution of churches and trusts at both the primary and secondary levels has been discussed, but the work of nation building is often ignored.

We want churches and trusts to continue to provide the best results at the secondary level while cursing the staff and expecting them to do miracles.

Jamaicans want to spend as little as possible to get world-class education. Let me remind everyone that Harvard University, which is the richest and most prestigious university in the world and charges more than US$60,000 for tuition annually, has the largest endowment. And yes, it was established by churches.

We cannot expect to get world-class education to help our people and country to compete while spending pennies.

As a Jamaican who has benefited from the public and private sector in education locally and internationally and who has worked on several school boards voluntarily, as well as working in university systems locally and internationally, I think that the Government should be left to its own devices. Much to my own surprise, I think that the trusts and church schools will have to revert to being private.

Independence means that Government should create policies to do what it pleases in the public sector, and the church and trust schools should find new ways to provide high-quality education through new ways of funding and giving scholarships to Jamaicans.

 

NECESSARY FOR GROWTH

 

I know that many Jamaicans will suffer, but it will be necessary for our growth and maturation. I know that the Government is only providing a portion of the funding for education while past students do their share and parents pay when the Government says they should.

Our national priorities do not seem to include making sacrifices to educate our children. We are seeking fun, fun, fun and talking nonsense about free education. It is not free in China, which has the highest rates of savings in the world. It is not free in America, which we love to copy. It is not free in England. How can it be free in Jamaica?

HILARY ROBERTSON-HICKLING

hilary.hickling@gmail.com