Education policy is the ministry's business, not school principals'
The Ministry of Education must formulate the necessary guidelines for public schools.

Dear Editor,

It is incumbent on the Ministry of Education to formulate policy guidelines for schools and their pupils and curtail the consistent, subjective controversy about, inter alia, the appropriateness of children's uniforms, booklists, and auxiliary fees at individual schools.

Too often we have principals and school administrators establishing policies concerning these issues, while the ministry issues inconclusive and equivocal statements to parents and the public.

This only creates conflicts and derails the education process. Decisive policy guidelines must be established and issued by the ministry.

School principals and administrators are to ensure their application while training students in the concepts and theories of the subjects being pursued. It is time the ministry assumes its rightful function and curtail the egotistic and authoritarian frolic of some school principals and officialdom. As a matter of fact, it is also time to bring some depth and critical thinking to school boards instead of the usual unenlightened and narrow-minded infusions to which we have been accustomed.

Too much of our education process is focused on ego and the optics of ratings of institutions. As a result, our children are short-changed because, instead of concentrating on understanding and developing their intrinsic characteristics and abilities, our focus is on maintaining archaic colonial considerations and irrelevant religion-influenced values, oftentimes steeped in gender and race biases.

While schools have a role to play in shaping character, it must be within the context of the societal character objectives and evolution and not the whims of individual masters in schools. Early, middle, and secondary education must focus on developing young minds to think critically, not the imprisonment of passion and individual creativity.

It is bad enough that many of our students' first introduction to order and structure is the classroom. Nevertheless, let us make it a place conducive to the best interest of all.

Mark A Hylton

Montego Bay

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