Sun | Jul 25, 2021

Education sector in Jamaica needs to be transformed

Published:Saturday | June 19, 2021 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The type of education our children receive will have a direct impact on the type of society we experience. Sadly, our society is in crisis! Fix the crisis in the education sector and we will fix the crisis in society. Based on my over 17 years serving in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and my educational background and training, I would like to make the following recommendations for transforming the education system in Jamaica:

1. Move away from the existentialism philosophy of education (knowledge centred) and adopt to the progressivism philosophy (child centred). This means removing the current way of placing students in high school, etc. Only after we change the philosophy and practices can we really ask teachers to adopt a performance-based pay. It would be unfair to teachers to ask for performance-based pay with the current system in place.

2. All teachers should have a least a certificate in special education and counselling education.

3. Safety and security education should be included in the curriculum at all levels of the education system. Start all these new programmes at the early childhood level. The system currently prefers to start at the high-school level – this is reactive in nature and not proactive.

4. Health and family life education needs to be given much more attention. It should be included in all levels of the education system.

5. Character education (values and attitude) needs to be included in the curriculum – again at all levels – starting at the early childhood level. This should include social and emotional learning. Research shows that emotional intelligence is critical to success not only in school but in the workplace, homes, and the wider society.

6. Adopt the NCTVET Competency-based Assessment as the main assessment used throughout the education system. This makes sense because we are living in the 21st century where competency is valued over knowledge.

7. Significantly increase the budget for early childhood sector. The quality of our colleges and universities is a reflection of the quality of the early childhood sector. Place our expert teachers at the early childhood level! The foundation must be the strongest.

ANISA WILSON-SMITH

CEO and founder

Life Skills Publishing and Consultancy Services