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LETTER OF THE DAY - We can overcome education challenges

Published:Wednesday | October 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM


POOR PEOPLE will continue to find it difficult to educate their children in the prevailing negative educational environment. Many reasons are given for the failures of the education system, such as overcrowded classes, apparent government neglect, some teachers either don't care or are not adequately trained to deliver a quality education product to our children, or some parents downright suck.

As impossible as our situation seems there is a solution to our dilemma. It is said 'when the going gets tough, the tough gets going'. The solution is that we need to work hard and smart through these challenging situations.

Gov't's apparent neglect

Government will always be government, acting as if they are doing enough and will not present the reality to the people. With regard to overcrowding, unity will have to be our strength; volunteers are required to be assistant teachers, who will be assigned the task ask to help with the smooth day-to-day running of the classroom. These assistants will go through a process of certification before entering the class room.

Principals should closely monitor teachers' progress, and teachers who are not performing to expectation should be coached and, if performance continues to deteriorate, should be fired. New teachers entering the system must process the required qualification. Existing teachers should be given a timeline to get the required qualification. Funds should be made easily available to them, whether through loans, grants or any other creative means. Obviously, some restrictions should be placed on teachers who make themselves available for these funds.

A campaign should be run in schools, encouraging parents to take ownership of their children's educational experiences. It should entail ways to encourage parents and students how to network with other parents, as well as other creative ways to make their children a success. Some parents suck, but we must educate these children; we cannot treat them the way their parent do; we cannot turn up our nose at them. An additional time should be made available to them after school to be assisted by assistant teachers to complete homework and assignments.

At end of the day the success of our students, in particular those from poor communities, should be paramount to us. Our educational experience is unique and filled with challenges, all of which we can overcome, but it will take mental toughness, unity, people giving their time - not cash. In fact, we don't have any.

What we do have is the resilience of the Jamaican people. It has prevailed in athletics, it has prevailed in football, it has prevailed in music and it can prevail in the mass education of poor Jamaicans.

I am, etc.,


New York, USA