Sat | May 26, 2018

No value on education

Published:Thursday | January 31, 2013 | 12:00 AM


THE RECENT study by Caribbean Policy Research Institute is merely another in a series over the years to highlight what we all already know: the majority of our young people are not doing well in school.

If Jamaica's goal is to ever move towards productivity and growth, we know that our hope lies in the hands of our youth. Therein lies the problem.

At the heart of our education system it would seem that learning is not taking place. Many people often complain about the paucity of resources, teacher unprofessionalism and incompetence, as well as lack of diverse pedagogical practices.

However, I will unequivocally say that the answer to our problems is not to host another workshop or seminar. This country is a country of committees, subcommittees, panels, workshops and seminars. All are done every year and very little changes.


Our students are not failing because they lack resources. Our Government, over the years, has made much effort to improve access to educational resources and technology. Yes, we still have large class sizes which make it difficult to spread the resources across the board. However, so do India and China. Those countries have schools that are also overcrowded and where some students do not even have classrooms with floors. Yet they are improving.

The fundamental difference that is the source of our educational woes is simply: our values. Talk to the average young person in Jamaica today. He will tell you he wants to be successful. Ask him what it takes to be successful: hard work. However, is that hard work being done by many in the classroom?

"I interface with these students every day and it pains me to see just how little work it is that they really want to do. The current dominant culture does not value spending hours studying to pass exams.

"The current dominant culture does not value that in order for your children to do well it means that you have to take a vested interest, and this does not equate to 'But Miss, mi gi him lunch money fi come school. Wha more mi fi do?'

"The current dominant culture does not value that instead of whining about what you don't have, work with what you do so that you can move beyond your current state.

"Until we are able to change the current culture and begin a process of resocialisation from the formative years, we will continue to get failing report cards."