THE EDITOR, Madam:
In 1986, when I entered a secondary school (as it was called then) as a math and science teacher, filled with vim, vigour and vitality – as they say – enough to overthrow the world, my bubble got unceremoniously busted when I went into the science ‘labs’, as they were called, but of a truth were merely rooms designated for the teaching of science. Feeling totally heartbroken, I requested that I teach only math. That I did up to retirement.
Mr Holness’ announcement to build six schools designated for the teaching of STEM subjects works well with the event at the National Arena where the announcement was made, but of a truth would not be a smart spend on two fronts:
1. One is that that budget (or less) could be used to upgrade the facilities at all pre-college institutions, including basic schools, which would enable a broader cross section of students to benefit. It would also motivate more of our capable pedagogues to remain here rather than to leave our shores out of frustration, as many have been doing.
The present working world – for which schools ultimately prepare our young – demands that services be provided of the highest quality and efficiency, which many of our so-called graduates have been falling woefully short on at every level. The pre-college experience, therefore, needs to be more practical and optimally rounded.
2. Secondly, I am yet to see the overarching goal of this country (save and except that we are successfully producing workers for other jurisdictions); which, for the receiving countries and individuals concerned, is not a bad thing, but Jamaicans seem to benefit mainly from remittances which does not benefit all. So our approach to development is obviously directionless and haphazard; there is no visible vision or plan of development. Yes, we talk about being first-world by 2030 but much of our actions bely such lofty ideal.
We urgently need leaders who are visionaries – technocrats and politicians who have the ability to put five-year-long political campaigns aside after an election – who will work diligently and creatively so that Jamaica may advance, as many other countries are.
Yes, we have managed to make some progress but our lack of direction coupled with our divisiveness and our penchant for anancyism at ALL levels have held us back.
Wanted: someone to ‘bell the cat’.