Education system has not reduced regional dependency — expert

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Education system has not reduced regional dependency — expert

Friday, July 31, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Senior Lecturer and Head of the Hugh Shearer Labour Studies Institute at the UWI Open Campus, Danny Roberts, said that the education system used to colonize the English-speaking Caribbean remains largely unchanged after nearly 50 years of independence, and has done little to overcome the dependency on external funding to address critical issues on the region's development agenda.

Roberts was speaking at an online webinar on Thursday last organised by the Caribbean Visionary Educators on 'Education in the Caribbean 2020 and Beyond'.

He said that the nexus between the focus and quality of our education and the advancement of the region as truly independent and sovereign nation-states is profoundly important.

“Unless we decolonize the present education system,” Roberts said, adding that “the dependency on international donors to advance regional development is likely to get worse with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic”.

He said access to the type of information about inclusive educational model that is set out in a 2019 online publication on 'achieving inclusive education in the Caribbean beyond 2020', is critically important.

He noted its emphasis on education in a post-colonial era focusing on improving the quality of life index and addressing issues of human rights, economic opportunities and social mobility.

But according to Roberts “this publication is for sale, while the 2013 World Bank report on how to 'improve the quality of regional education for the next generation', is accessible to the people of the region free of cost”.

Roberts pointed to the need for regional education “to emphasise issues of wealth creation, to reduce our dependency on the savings of others, instilling a culture of productivity to reduce the antagonism in labour-management negotiations, to promote values and attitudes and to impose the teachings of Marcus Garvey to address the post traumatic slave syndrome which still bedevils us as a people”.

He said that unless “we counter what Sylvia Wynter refers to as 'the European super-structure of civilization and its pervasive cultural process', we will unconsciously believe that the present education genre can truly liberate us from the obscurities of ourselves”.

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