Sat | Dec 4, 2021

The great reset of education

Published:Wednesday | October 13, 2021 | 12:11 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The Geneva-based, 50-year-old World Economic Forum is, in 2021, the major influencer towards what is named ‘The Great Reset’. The thinking is that COVID-19 is an ecological and economic mandate to reimagine and reset global priorities.

“The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world,” says Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Indeed, this year is a critical crossroad and an opportunity in time for a worldwide reset of priorities and reform of traditional structures. For Jamaica, one area must be the education system. Critical and urgent is the need to restart face-to-face classroom interaction, particularly among students at the primary and secondary levels who have been at home struggling with online learning since the pandemic.

The toll of the pandemic on students’ education is indescribable; the damage to the education system will be long-standing.

Even so, we continue to uphold an education system, inherited from Britain, that majors in theoretic knowledge and less on the skills development of our students. The design lures students towards swotting of prescribed, oftentimes outdated texts, to be reproduced on exam papers to gain pass marks.

Excellent students they are, but many graduates are ill-fitted for a vastly changed workplace environment and, consequently, not immediately possessing the requisites to hit the ground running in most employment. Employers rely on offering on-the-job or funding external training to meet the entry-level requirement of their new job holders.

In countries such as the Netherlands, beginning from the secondary-level school, courses are largely of practical component than ensuring graduates are market-ready. Here, the COVID-19 pandemic might be opportune to methodically begin our Great Reset of Jamaica’s education system.

CLAUDE WILSON