University fi stone dog, again
Carolyn Cooper, Contributor
On New Year's Eve I got a very hostile email in response to "Seaga put goat mouth on Bruce" (December 27). As it turns out, it wasn't just this column that had enraged the male writer. "University fi stone dog" (September 13) and "Dog gets MBA online" (November 8) were also stuck in his craw.
Incidentally, I got an amusing email in December from Rochville University, the alma mater of the dog, Chester Ludlow, whose owner had bought an MBA online for him. The aggressive sales team was still trying to get me to buy that bogus PhD in chemistry. There was a new festive twist to their last-ditch effort to get me to close the deal.
Here's the sales pitch: "This is usually a time of the year when you are looking for special gifts for your family, friends and loved ones. Chocolates, flowers, cards seem to be like old ideas now and they last for few days only. Why not think about something different this year and give a gift of life to your family, friends and colleagues? This season, Rochville University provides you this great opportunity to present your friends a chance to earn an accredited degree from Rochville University at 25 per cent waived off fee plan. If they apply before December 31, 2009, they can get their degree in their desired discipline at 25 per cent off fee plan - as a gift from your side. In return, you will also get a limited time fee discount of 20 per cent on your own degree? Great isn't it?!"
What's really not great is the painful anger that these columns about the depreciation of tertiary education in Jamaica and internationally have provoked. I've stirred up quite a large 'ants nest'. It looks as if there's a huge cohort of unsuccessful applicants to the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, who are 'carrying feelings'. The new universities have given them welcome opportunities to get degrees. But suppose some of the diplomas are not worth the paper they're printed on?
Then some readers completely missed my point that the devaluation has hit UWI students as well. As I was grading examination papers last week, I kept on shaking my head in despair at some of the nonsense the students write: 'the shackles of insuperiority,' for example.
The following excerpt from that angry email is quite alarming. Not just because of its bile. The writer is a proud university graduate. But his use of English is appalling. Based on this writing sample, he certainly wouldn't pass the English language proficiency test that most applicants to UWI are required to take. I know that email correspondence tends to be informal and, especially when you are passionate about your subject, your fingers have a way of running ahead of your thoughts. Many times we don't bother to proofread. All the same, the erratic sentences suggest that the writer is more than a little confused. 'So mi get it, so mi give it.'
"Cooper, you have gotten even lower during the last couple a months and start to attack the very things what is to save Jamaica "Education". For years billions of tax payer have been going down the drain at uwi to teach a black elite who later come out behave like they are in the slave great house and the rest of us are still slaves. For years the tax payer of this country money is use to fund this intellectual ghetto while the majority are kept out from earning a university degree. Jamaicans!!! whose hard work money is being spend to run uwi has been turn away by uwi for years with no alternative. Thanks to almighty GOD for NCU, UCC, IUC and other Foreign Universities who start to give JAMAICANS chance to get a university education Thanks be to GOD. NCU now graduatesover 1000 student per year and I am sure the other private universes are send out similar numbers.
'A Perfect Example'
"And guest what Caroline? your so call elite student are not performing better than these new universities student in the world of work. I myself is a perfect example, I graduated from one of these schools and then went on to complete ACCA and is now a certified Accountant and work along side uwi graduate and guest what? they are not better performer than I. In Europe and USA universities do not put in extreme measures to keep out there people but rather make university educated accessible to all. Again thank God for what the Universities to stone dog are doing to save Jamaica through education. Cooper, I have had disagreement with you for years but this time when you attack the new universities that was the last straw. Tears come to my eyes when I hear you talking about universities to stone dog and MBA stone dog.
"What is your problem with ordinary Jamaicans getting educated? IT it black elitism?
"Is it the syndrome of the House Slave vs. the field Slaves.
"TELL me I AM CONFUSE"
It is true that an accountant specialises in numbers, not words. So I do not wish to judge this man's professional competence based on his writing skills in this impassioned email. Furthermore, I do not equate competence in English with intelligence. As I pointed out on the Breakfast Club last Friday, our school system has failed many students by not giving them a solid foundation in English. But if, as this man claims, he is a "perfect example" of a high-performing university graduate, it makes you wonder. This seems to be a classic case of 'cock mouth kill cock.'
Carolyn Cooper is professor of literary and cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona. Send feedback to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.