The significance of education
EDITOR: For long we have touted far and near the famous Education Revolution. While there are discordant views on the nature of this ‘revolution’, there is no doubt that some strides have been made in the education system under the current administration. However, for far too long ‘education’ has been seen only within certain defined contexts.
Being outside of those delineated bounds of academic education, society has no place for the youth. This is a most detrimental force to any society because it polarizes our youth, then shuffles them to a substandard bracket of society where they eventually whittle away in abject poverty. When a job vacancy is posted in the papers, for example, it calls forth the youths (not just the youths who are merely unemployed and looking for a job), but who have a minimum of five subjects, including Math and English. Society’s subtle message is that these are the parameters within which the youth can be employed. Or, the potential economic value of the youth depends on whether he or she has made certain academic achievements. This, while commendable, does not always lend itself to the context of the employment. Often the matter of ‘having experience’ is and must be taken into question.
I am not totally dismissing formal academic education as we know it. What I wish to advocate is that not all our youths are the same, and that this one-size-fits-all education system, is archaic and too ‘colonial’, indeed enslavish, and needs a dramatic and visible overhaul. It needs to be truly revolutionized, especially in this era of social advancement, both for the liberation of the minds of our students and the construction of their metaphorical wings. Our students can do much more than have ten CSEC passes at the end of their tenure. It becomes even more glaring when only a minute percentage of them will acquire this examination milestone. And even then, getting employment is not automatic. Education must now be translated to mean passion and livelihood, that is, pursuing what one is passionate about and making a livelihood of it, whether that be in the culinary arts, the performing arts, the visual arts, the literary arts, the musical arts, whatever that passion may be.
There are many, many youth who would wish not to be subjected to the burdensome disciplines of certain subjects which they have absolutely no interest in. Subjects which will have no significance to them outside the walls of the institution. Subjects of which the content material will not be remembered in a few years. And because content material is now so readily obtained at the click of a website, formal education is seemingly more and more redundant.
As educators, we must also be pioneers. We must pivot with our reflective lens to this type of education system of which we are a part, and which we have been pedaling for decades, and renew, reinvent and recreate it, or at least, trigger fruitful discussion.