Letters to the Editor

MOE moving in right direction

Tuesday, July 31, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

As a teacher and educator for over 20 years, I welcome many of the pedagogical and management changes that the present minister of education has been overseeing at his ministry. I also appreciate the non-partisan approach that he has taken in leading his ministry's efforts to meet the aims and objectives of the country's 2030 education vision.

As such, I endorse the proposed restructuring of the curriculum of the Grade Six Achievement Test since some of its effective and critical-thinking domains demand a bit too much from the children at both their present chronological age and emotional learning levels. Important, too, is the planned re-evaluation of the grades 7 to 9 curriculum, as there should be a clear transitional educating, teaching and learning process, from the pre-primary stage to the tertiary levels of the education system.

During the academic years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, while teaching social studies at the Norman Manley High School, and cognisant of the students' academic transitional needs, I was able to prepare them successfully at the Grade 9 stream to do CXC/CSEC exams. Incidentally, the next head boy Dwayne Gordon, the deputy head boy and a few of the prefects for the coming academic year, 2012-2013, are all beneficiaries of this early-start Grade 9 CXC programme, and from all indications these students should do well in the coming years.

During the academic years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, while teaching social studies at the Norman Manley High School, and cognisant of the students' academic transitional needs, I was able to prepare them successfully at the Grade 9 stream to do CXC/CSEC exams. Incidentally, the next head boy Dwayne Gordon, the deputy head boy and a few of the prefects for the coming academic year, 2012-2013, are all beneficiaries of this early-start Grade 9 CXC programme, and from all indications these students should do well in the coming years.

Therefore, I think that as we celebrate our 50th year as an independent nation, the ministry is moving in the right direction. Such steps are important both for the nation and its children, since the intellectual and vocational challenges of the decades ahead of us demand a well-educated workforce that can produce at a high level so that government will not have to keep borrowing from agencies like the IMF.

Also, with an improved labour force, the economy will grow and standards of living will improve. This would help to curtail the high levels of brain drain that we now experience, and would reduce the need to rely on JEEP, PATH, "Cash Pot," a DJ dancehall "buss", cash for gold trade, scrap metal trade or the lotto scam.

The political economies of developed and developing countries rely on sound economic policies mixed with a raft of educational and social programmes that suit the needs of their particular culture and reap good socio-economic dividends in the long term. The years ahead are challenging globally, but if the two political parties can agree even in principle that at the end of it all we are one nation, with one common 2030 vision of nation building, then it would have been worth the tireless efforts of our Founding Fathers, (and Mothers too) from Nanny, Bogle and Garvey to Bustamante, Manley, Edwin Allen, Glasspole and Howard Cooke - because we are one people living in Jamaica, land we love.

Norman Collins

Kingston 5

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