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JaRistotle’s Jottings: | Is logic dead?

Published:Thursday | September 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Every so often, and the 'often' is getting more frequent these days, matters of an absolutely logic-defying nature hit the national headlines. In the preceding days, we have learnt of the massive damage to cable infrastructure by telecommunications provider FLOW during the various road upgrades across the Corporate Area.

Along, too, came the saga of the fourth-form Calabar students who did not meet the matriculation requirements for promotion to fifth form.


Lack of sense or lack of care


While I welcome the thrust to upgrade the road infrastructure throughout the Corporate Area and am prepared to treat the associated inconveniences of traffic snarls and rerouting as necessary evils, I cannot extend such understanding to the damage to critical infrastructure such as telecommunications cables and network equipment. After all, it is not as if the National Works Agency (NWA) and its contractors were ignorant of their existence.

I would imagine that some element of planning would have gone into these projects, including examining the potential for damage to utility infrastructure, and consultations with the service providers and equipment owners to coordinate removal and protection while works were in progress.

Not so, it appears; logic had left the house. At last count, the cost was more than $40 million, not to mention the opportunity costs appurtenant to repairs and disruption of business services for FLOW and their customers.

So, who is going to shoulder the responsibility for this cluster-crap and foot the bill? Something tells me these costs will be rolled into the overall project cost and we the people will ultimately foot the bill.


To learn or not to learn


Let's turn to the saga at Calabar. At last check, schools are institutions designed primarily for educating young people and not a means for pushing individuals through various grades simply to satisfy government policy, especially flawed policy.

Calabar's policy is that in order to be promoted to fifth form, a student must achieve at least 60 per cent for his overall average, along with a record of good conduct. Consistency would suggest the policy is applicable at all levels. Absolutely nothing wrong with that: It's a school, not a welfare organisation.

The students in question failed to achieve the stipulated requirements, with some of them reportedly having ignored facilities for remedial classes that were offered by the school's administration.

As with just about everything in Jamaica, politics and egos readily come into play. Education Minister Ruel Reid's poppy-cock intervention, speaking to 'they [schools] must conform with the laws and the process of natural justice', is merely a smokescreen to mask a core problem affecting Jamaica: the slaughtering of standards in favour of cheap and retrograde popularity policies and practices.

Education is our future: it is especially critical that standards are maintained.


Sports secondary to Education


It is interesting to note that according to the rules of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), in order for a student to represent his school in an ISSA competition, that student should have an average of at least 45 per cent in a minimum of four subjects and an attendance record of at least 80 per cent in the term before the competition. Nothing here regarding a record of good conduct.

What then happens to an athletic student whose academic average falls below the benchmark for promotion [presumably 60 per cent) come year end when they can't matriculate, worse if they are injured? Smacks of exploitation if you ask me.

Back to basics, please. If sport gets in the way of education, if students can't maintain the grade-point requirements for promotion to the next grade, they ought not to be representing their school. Put education first.

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