Sat | Dec 3, 2016

New Mandeville school is elitist

Published:Monday | December 29, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The rich history of Mandeville is punctuated with privilege and elitism. The decision to facilitate a Catholic high school under the guise of technical and vocational training at the expense of schools more deserving and suited for this type of curriculum appears to be prima facie prejudicial and dishonest. Contextually, I reference two articles.

New High School to be opened in Mandeville' by Garfield Angus, March 15, 2014:

"It is budgeted to ensure that two primary schools will receive considerable upgrading and we will enable one high school in Mandeville to take on stronger technical and vocational capacities, as the modern workforce demands that blend of academic subjects, and technical and vocational competencies."

'New High School ready to open In Mandeville', published Friday August 22, 2014:

"The institution, a collaborative effort between the Diocese of Mandeville and the Sisters of Mercy, will be a grant-aided denominational school that will seek expertise and advice from Campion College, one of St Andrew's top high schools.

"The Mount Saint Joseph Catholic High School will start by offering first and sixth-form classes that will utilise the curriculum administered at Campion College. This also includes Latin in grade seven, expert teacher input - especially in science subjects - and the implementation of the new Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination digital media subject."

Here is the essence of this paradox. The closest technical high schools to Mandeville are St. Elizabeth Technical High School, located 21 miles to the west, and Holmwood Technical High School, located 16 miles to the north. The need for a technical high school to be located in Mandeville proper is overwhelming and understandable.

Considering the town's evolution from a rural community town to an urban centre, one school, Mandeville School, has consistently provided the necessary vocational and technical workforce. Notwithstanding, students upon leaving this institution receive vocational and technical apprenticeship through formal and informal training programmes. It is, therefore, mystifying to the observant mind why this school would be overlooked for a denominational high school with a curriculum based on Latin and a Campion College curriculum.

Taxpayers' money

It appears to me that Campion College is no bastion of technical and vocational training and Latin is both de jure and de facto irrelevant in the town's history and evolution.

Since this new institution, Mt St Joseph Catholic High School will be grant aided, I presume some form of taxpayer funding will be involved. Will a non-Catholic Rastafari or any other non-Catholic child be reasonably expected to be admitted to this institution and not be subjected to religious coercion? Or will it be as it was in the past that privilege will be allowed to prevail at the expense of more deserving and relevant institutions and by extrapolation students, as the school stated that it will continue to maintain a private prep school? It appears that the Ministry has facilitated by design or default a bail out of a dying institution predicated on elitism and religious biases.

Mr Noel

noeladmlnscience@gmail.com