Problem bigger than teachers, schools

Tuesday, January 28, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

Centuries ago William Shakespeare wrote: "To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day; thou canst not then be false to any man." Among the present crop of ministers Ronald Thwaites must be acknowledged as one of the better performers. Despite his age, he brings vigour and vitality to the education portfolio and he has continued where Andrew Holness left off.

From the outset, Thwaites decided that he would continue the good programmes and that was the smart thing to do. Previously, when a new government enters office some ministers simply throw out the previous administration's programmes, even the baby with the bathwater.

But on the issue of our schools being the breeding grounds for criminals, both himself and Minister Bunting's conclusions are incorrect.

Thwaites attended St George's College, Bunting, Campion College, therefore they may not have encountered gang members in their schools. The high school I attended had some students who were already in street gangs, and this is the case in many schools. I knew of students who headed "crash programme" sites while attending school, and this was in the 1970s. When they came to school they wore Clarks shoes long before Vybz Kartel made it famous, long sleeve khaki shirts and carried BOAC or Pan American airways bags.

The schools then and now are not breeding grounds for gangs, our society is; this one shouldn't be blamed on teachers. The raw material they are getting is, sadly, "damaged goods". What many of these gang members, especially scammers, make in a week a teacher or a policeman doesn't make in a year. Teachers are powerless to influence or educate these characters; they are already streetwise and wealthy. They don't want to be doctors, lawyers, engineers or members of any professional groups or productive citizens of Jamaica. This is bigger than teachers and schools.

Finally, I cannot understand our PM's response to Andrew Holness asking about the frequent trips abroad. He isn't asking her personal questions. He is asking on behalf of all of us, not just JLP supporters. He isn't asking her about what is the limit on the credit card her husband gave her. That would be out of order, and she would have all right to feel offended. She is to answer in detail. Also, when MP Fitz Jackson tables a motion in the House requesting a report from the BOJ on commercial bank and credit union fees and charges, he is doing so on behalf of every single citizen of Jamaica, not just PNP supporters. If Mrs Simpson Miller cannot take the heat then she needs to get out of the kitchen, it is simple as that. She must be the most thin-skinned prime minister on earth.

Mark Clarke

Siloah, St Elizabeth

mark_clarke9@yahoo.com

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