Free education at Wailer's prep school
Published: Sunday | June 28, 2009
"I haffi a focus pon the next generation's academic development," Wailer said. A major part of that focus is making sure that parents who cannot afford school fess can still send their children to school. "My thing is just free and affordable education," Bunny Wailer told The Sunday Gleaner. "Me no really into stick up people for school fee and if you can't find school fee the child can't get schooling.
"My thing is no fee or what you can afford. If you can't afford the fee just send the child as long as you can uniform the child and get them books. We will take care of the rest. Those people who can afford, them give what them can afford, because we don't have a set, standard rate for school fees," Wailer said.
Solomonic All-Saints began with Wailer's children and those of 'close bredren' and now has nine students. While it has not yet been registered with the Ministry of Education the process is in motion and Wailer says he is working towards satisfying the Ministry's requirements fully. "They have come and they have inspected. We have gotten a letter saying with regards to their inspection they are satisfied and we are now expecting to be actually getting the official registration document," he said.
He points out that "We have track record to show that whether or not the ministry comes our way, we are privately going through the whole process of educating children".
Although the school cannot be advertised without the registration, a go-ahead has been given to do pre-schooling and a curriculum has also been supplied. That curriculum has been adhered to, but there have been a few additions.
"We've made adjustments to improve the curriculum by adding the African languages, other foreign languages, as well as art and craft and other stuff that children should learn. Like agriculture, the children farm, plant and see how it grow, eat it and see what the values are in cultivating what you eat," Wailer said.
He naturally expects an influx of students when the Solomonic All-Saints Preparatory College gets the full go-ahead.
"A lot of children are going to come, because when you say free and affordable, you know people going through a lot of problems keeping them children in school because of the rising of school fees. When we get started with children, we might have more children than we can really accommodate, but so far we are prepared to take in as many as we can afford to supply with the academic standards coming from teachers and other people who are going to train these children," Wailer said.
It is self-funded, as Bunny Wailer points out "I don't get any help from any organisation or any individuals, Rastafarian or anything". He reminds that "Rastafarians have a problem keeping their children in school because of dreadlocks and the situation is not improving.
jamaicans fighting rasta
"It is even more degrading, because people somehow, I don't know why Jamaica people fight Rasta so hard when everywhere else embrace Rasta. In Jamaica, where Rasta was originated, the people of Jamaica give Rasta the hardest fight, the society, the common people, who would jeer and mock and find ways and means of making it look like Rasta is something to laugh at," Wailer said.
- Mel Cooke