Middle class being eroded
THE EDITOR, Sir:
All successful nations realise that quality education is the road to success and prosperity.
The emphasis on education catapulted the United States to wealth and to become one of the greatest economies in the world.
Unfortunately, over the past 30 years, the move to dismantle unions and outsourcing of capital resulted in a decline in industrial jobs, once the cornerstone of its economy. Poverty increased in urban centres and quality schools disappeared.
Soon, the middle class began to struggle for survival and now cannot afford college for their children. Immigrants who were once welcome are now being turned away.
Many Jamaicans were welcomed before and after Independence. Many of our doctors, engineers, and nurses found opportunities they did not have here. Unfortunately, under new leadership in the US, opportunities for higher education and quality jobs are drying up.
We have only ourselves to blame. Since Independence, we have been struggling to build a prosperous island. We had pockets of growth and some improvement in education. Reliance on bauxite is fading as we have almost depleted the sources. We rely on tourism to supply jobs. Unfortunately, the people of Jamaica share little of the tourist revenue. We have a school system that needs a revolution.
Crowded schools, distressed teachers, weapons in schools, and parents with limited resources are leading to an inferior educational system.
We are told that unemployment hovers around 15 per cent. Faced with many who have given up the possibility of getting a job, an unemployment rate should be closer to 25 per cent. The dark clouds covering our progress called crime is the scourge leading us to collapse.
We are becoming a country surrounded by squatter settlements, garbage, environmental decay, daily murders, sometimes five per day, unreliable growth and appalling ignorance. Our middle class is falling deeper into poverty, while wealth can be seen clearly in the hills and glimpsed behind gated wealth.
R. OSCAR LOFTERS