Perleta Trail is principal at Boscobel Primary School, in Boscobel, St Mary.
I wish there would be a change in the mindset of the Jamaican people. As a nation, we have a negative response to almost everything that happens around us. As such, we allow things to happen negatively rather than positively, because of our thinking.
We should start with our young children; help them to think critically and open their minds so they are able to think outside of the box because, in many cases, they feel unable to accomplish much academically.
I believe, if there are motivators - people who help children and allow them to understand they have the capacity to be successful - both at home and within the education system, we will get much more out of our children and this will spread across the wider society.
But if a child is constantly told he or she is unable to do something; it will become a reality in that child's mind because as Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, states: 'Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.' So, regardless of how many times you fail; if you try and try again, there is a capacity to accomplish and be successful.
This issue is important because our country is falling apart, because of negativity. If a politician sets out to do something, the populace says: 'It cannot and will not work,' but we do not try to find a way to make it work. Rather than waiting for politicians to put jobs in our laps, we could be more entrepreneurial. We can create jobs, we just need to think: 'What is it I can do to make life better and help Jamaica out of this economic crisis?'
As former American President John F. Kennedy said: 'Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.'
Kellian Brown is a teacher and guidance counsellor in training, who is based at Steer Town Primary and Junior High School in St Ann.
"I WISH that greater emphasis would be placed on education as that would be the start of the end of most of our problems here in Jamaica. My greatest wish is to have more jobs for persons who are leaving college, especially in the classroom where you have over 40 students to a teacher."
Brown is keen on seeing a reduction in the level of unemployment and, again, she sees education as a way to address this. According to her, a win-win situation in which there is increased employment and improved education output is possible.
"In some classrooms there are over 40 students to a teacher. In that situation, you don't have the capacity to have one-on-one teaching/learning taking place. Now, if you cut down on that ratio you would naturally have more contact sessions with the child and, hence an increased opportunity for that child to grasp what is being taught. Now, to reduce that ratio, you would have to employ more teachers, hence increased employment for many trained teachers who are sitting at home unable to find employment. So, more people would go home with something at the end of the month, instead of having persons who spent millions of dollars to study, now have nothing getting back, cannot even earn a dollar."
Simply put, Brown suggests that instead of employing one teacher to teach a class of 40, which is usually inefficient, schools should employ two teachers to teach two classes of 20 each.
"The money can be found. Cut waste, reduce spending in less critical areas and put the money in education, that's the only way the country can prosper. I wish, too, that the private sector would get more involved in education, especially in the area of skills training. There are youth out there who can't afford to go to school but they would like to acquire a skill. Private-sector entities could put some funds in some form of training facility for the youth. It's a good investment."