Encourage English, not Patois
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I was listening to an overseas radio programme where I heard a Jamaican linguist arguing for Patois to be taught in Jamaican schools. I will be the first to admit that Patois is unique and should be cherished as part of our rich cultural heritage, but to teach it as a subject in our schools is taking it too far. This would further compound the problems teachers of English face in our ever-changing classrooms.
Our children are exposed to Patois from an early age. To make it formal in our schools will not help any. Across Jamaica, there are different varieties of this common tongue, and since there are no rules to be guided by, we may be opening a can of worms. We must encourage our children to speak and write English to prepare them for the
Future that they must survive in
The international language of communication is English, and we now live in a globalised village where more and more non-native speakers of English are teaching it in their schools. Take, for example, China - Mandarin speaking, the second-largest economy, and the most populous country with 1.3 billion people - which is now teaching English in its schools to be better prepared to compete in the world. We can do no less here in Jamaica.
I am, etc.,
Siloah, St Elizabeth