Going back to a tongue that comes naturallyMonday, May 17, 2021
The recent statement made by Education Minister Fayval Williams that our teachers are not producing enough student achievement across the board, and her subsequent rebuttal as aired on the nightly newscast of May 3, 2021, are quite engaging.
There can be no denial that by producing quality professionals in the various fields that our nation will be able to achieve sustainable development through creating jobs, thereby improving the standard of living of its people.
High academic achievers are the catalyst in this regard; it is a chain effect.
The response of the president of Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) Jasford Gabriel, which in part attributes this failure to the authorities' insensitivity to the welfare of teachers should be addressed, but the problem is more entrenched.
I share the opinion that the problem lies in the inadequacy of our system of education as the present system needs to be truly revolutionised. We have kept in place a colonial system of education that was largely designed to demoralise the majority and offer opportunities to a few.
This system we have inherited, among other things, discards the students' mother tongue and adopt a foreign tongue as the students are required to relate in the Queen's English and not patois, their inherent language. The chains have been removed from our feet, but many of us are still mentally enslaved.
Just lend your mind for a moment to the effect this same scenario would have on the system of education in the UK had they discarded the English language and adopted a foreign language as its national language, requiring children to relate in school in a language not spoken at home. I am sure the effects would be quite similar to that which we are faced with at this moment.
The thesis is out. It has already been written. Just look at the high achievement in the field of sports and the performing arts/music, in which our people breathe freely and speak in their mother tongue — no psychological scars; pride intact.
Our children feel out of place in classes. Just stand by a school gate at dismissal and see the opened outpouring of relief, with joy and happiness on their faces, as they race to engage in activities that come as normal to them.
I would ask that the authorities move to legislate patois as our national language and English as our second language; both should be taught in school. Then and only then will Jamaica achieve that elusive equilibrium.
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