EDITOR: Our country is experiencing “extreme poverty” and we may all be responsible. Although the Bible says that we will always have the poor around us, we do not have to experience extreme poverty.
How are we creating poverty by our own actions? How we treat the most vulnerable among us will determine our success in alleviating poverty. The young must be equipped with skills and attitudes to secure their future, while the older citizens should receive regular income set aside from their lifetime of active work.
It is not difficult to determine what our children need to learn in the limited time we have with them. All should complete primary school, provision is made for all to complete secondary school, and some will go on to college. Our desire is for our children to achieve all they can, but if they do not choose our ultimate goal for them, we must still plan for their success no matter where they choose to reach. We need to teach children what they need to learn.
They need to learn how to live and how to make a living. Because there is much opportunity in technical and skilled areas, all students should be given the opportunity to complete a skill at level 11 by the end of secondary school.
There is no doubt that all students need to learn and practice reading, writing (communicating), reasoning, and practical skills. They can learn all these in their school environment. Leaving school at any given point would mean that a child would have experience in navigating the environment where he finds himself and make progress in it.
Emphasis must be removed from terminal exams and placed on continuous assessment. Subjects will need to be written every term rather than at the end of the school year. Essential subjects must be assessed to mastery with opportunity of assessment every term.
It is no credit to us that the public assistance list is growing. Progress is made when it moves towards zero. We need to make adequate provision to collect National Insurance Services contributions from every able-bodied worker. Some workers resist the 4.5 % deduction for their pension fund, but it must be done.
The strong must care for the weak. Lawyers, doctors, self-employed, farmers, van drivers, and all employers should pay in the NIS contributions for their employees. Thus practically, everyone wound have sufficient contributions paid into the pension fund to guarantee a retirement income and make the public assistance almost obsolete.
Anthony Stewart, PhD