Another fad?
Educators are fearful that a“dunce culture” has begun toemerge among students.

Dear Editor,

As classes officially get underway in most schools, it is expected that some students will turn up to their institutions with the branded "Dunce" bags, signalling a new trend in our socio-educational culture.

However, the news has reported that some administrators have already warned that students who sport those bags would not be allowed access through the school gates. Education Minister Fayval Williams has also sought to counter this inclination by inviting citizens and parents to support an artist who has been designing "Fully Bright" bags for children to wear to school.

It is more apparent that Jamaica operates within a dynamic pop culture. The least of things goes viral very quickly and becomes the norm until something else pops up and knocks it out of the competition. "Jamaica always a keep."

When incarcerated dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel sang about Clarks and cake soap, these became the trend in our schools. As time went by, our socio-cultural and socio-linguistic surroundings have been influenced by more dance moves and slangs.

Where do we draw the line? Should one be even drawn? In light of ongoing debates about dress codes and grooming in schools, some people argue that it is not the hair nor the slim-fit pants that are learning but the brain that is engaged.

What, then, is different about a bag with a word or phrase written on it? Whether "Dunce" or "Fully Bright", will it change the academic performance of our students? At the same time, however, we should not allow or encourage any behavioural pattern that will promote any further decay in our youth. We may laugh about it today, but tomorrow it will be destructive.

Now that the dunce culture is causing outrage in our society, will our teachers stop labelling students with the term? Will we also call on artistes, influencers, and media personalities to push the "fully bright" agenda?

Oneil Madden

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