Whose interest are you serving?Wednesday, May 12, 2021
The announcement of over $300 million to meet technology deficiency, to be channelled through Members of Parliament, is of great concern.
Why has education, a social good, become a 'pork barrel'? More appalling is the seemingly unashamed way the Andrew Holness-led Administration has continued to operate with impunity.
As a nation we have not overcome the stink at the Education Ministry following the fallout under former minister Senator Ruel Reid. So, it is even more disturbing that, led by the Ministry of Finance, this Administration is addressing teaching and learning technology deficiencies through Members of Parliament.
I say without fear of contradiction that the solution to the technology issue is best resolved through the regional offices of the Ministry of Education in conjunction with school leaders. The Ministry of Education is not short on data about the students with needs and the schools where the greatest needs exist.
Frankly, if education issues are to be solved, it cannot be by politicians. Politicians do not have a job description, neither do they have the acumen to address education issues. They are to stay within the gangs of Gordon House and peddle their crass and tribal behaviour and take their sticky hands out of education.
The intervention is welcome, but the method is not. The method is fraught with political one-upmanship. We witnessed in the past summer the minister of education taking photographs with teachers as she handed over tablets negotiated by the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) under the last salary heads of agreement. Today, some teachers still have not received those tablets, as too much emphasis was placed on pushing politics. The tablets were sourced under the agreement by eLearning and could have been quietly sent to institutions. With the aforementioned behaviour of the minister it is not a welcoming gesture that the tablets will be issued through Members of Parliament.
I am calling on the Ministry of Finance to get the priorities of social welfare right.
Education is a social good. Members of Parliament are political animals. Unless it is a pork barrel initiative being encouraged by this Administration, there are adequate agencies and systems within the education sector to identify and get the tablets into the hands of the needy Jamaican students. It is high time to stop the political bastardisation of education.
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