'Bright poor kids or bright rich kids?'
HERE'S how some Jamaica Observer online readers reacted to a report yesterday in which FYAH 105 FM boss Ronald Sutherland declared that Jamaica's education system places too much focus on "average" students while neglecting their gifted peers:
I wonder if he means bright poor kids or bright rich kids. It is the bright poor ones who need help. But all kids need help. One gets the feeling that the gifted kids, in most cases will get by altho' gifted students (often a synonym for middle and upper income kids) have been known to be bored by the regular curriculum. However, of all the problems attending Jamaica's educational system, the one outlined above, while it has merit, does not require urgent attention. What requires urgent attention is finding ways of helping the average kid from rural or urban Jamaica do well academically.
The green-eyed monster rears its ugly head when a gifted person comes on the scene and a disservice is done to the broader community when that person is brow-beaten into conforming with the crowd. Yes, sir, the nose is cut off to spite the face.
This is true. Sadly!
Everybody is gifted in their own way, it's teachers and some of us in high society who can't see it. So, sometimes we just feel that some of those so-called average children are too much of a bother, and Mr Sutherland, should know that.
Thank you, Mr Sutherland. For decades this has been happening. Please tell us that this isn't just a sound bite, but that you will be adamant that these children must be recognised and be allowed the opportunity to excel.
The gifted children are envied by many and are, in the main, introverts. Even our UWI has placed an age limit on entry (the last time I checked anyway). Jamaica has a culture that, by a certain age you should do this and do that and don't be precocious about it.
This is a matter of grave concern, but certainly not news as the "dumbing down of Jamaica" has been government policy for over 40 years. The dumbing down can only get worse as the JLPNP have no real interest in an education system that will produce a class of people to challenge them.
@Lori: I agree its damn foolishness. He should be scolded for saying something so dreadful and incorrect. Those idiotic adults who sat there and listened to his garbage and nod in agreement are not any better. If I were there, I would have surely put him in his place. What nonsense!
You have to provide incentives to retain bright teachers and I suspect that is the reason this man is no longer a teacher. He sits in his big job at the radio station and criticise teachers calling them average. Was he a bright teacher or was he average like those he criticises?
A student scoring exceptional grades is no indication of superior intelligence. If this were the case, why do the superior children who
enter local/international universities not become world renowned scientists, engineer, lawers, doctors, etc? Why is Jamaica a Third World country?
I agree 100 per cent. I could never see the sense in mixing children; someone is bound to be left behind, both the bright ones and the slower ones. It's also true that many people who go on to teach were themselves average students, but don't expect geniuses to be teaching our kids any time soon, not with the pay our teachers get and the way we villainise them year in year out. So the cycle continues.
In a warped system, where an exam (GSAT) determines a child's future, the elevation of gifted students is at the core of this man's thinking. And then he wonders why the society in which he resides doesn't possess the energy to outrun a snail. Perhaps this visionary pathfinder should gear his expertise in education towards the career paths that the gifted ones are destined to embark on. You know, instead of them being coached to become lawyers and doctors, convince them to join the real big dogs and carve out nation-building careers in the fields of software engineering & research science. Those are the areas that catapult a society to stardom, Mr Former Educator. Peace!