Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank/ Watch Dog Group.
The problems in education do not spring from a lack of resources; in fact, while a considerable portion of our money is indeed spent on education, it is certainly wasted on the model /approach.
It is most convenient to: blame the teachers for the decline in discipline; police for the increase in crime; nurses for the problems at the QEH and civil servants for the inability of successive governments to restructure or reform our economy. We protect the new black elite managerial class and turn a blind eye to their transgressions. We submit that the problems we now confront in our society, are to a great degree hatched within an education system, that has not seen any serious reforms for the last forty or so years.
The education system has failed because while it writes off thousands of our children, it guarantees very small elite all the comforts. Failure will continue, once the “eleven plus” remains the corner stone of our education system.
We at Mahogany Coconut therefore submit the following for your readers’ further discussion and consideration.
1. Current System: Enter Primary School Age 5 Enter Secondary School Age 12 (Period Covered 7 years)
Proposed System: Enter Primary School Age 5 Enter Junior College Age 14 (Period Covered 9 years)
Abolition of Common Entrance: replaced by continuous assessment
Abolition of Secondary Schools: replaced by Junior Colleges
Extra two years at Primary school spent on better assessment and preparation for junior college eliminating cost of having high schools. Giving society more time to plan for effective use of human resources; better conditioning of Labour market etc. Resources saved from abolition of High Schools will go toward upgrading of Primary Schools and broadening of curriculum.
Junior Colleges will be zoned thereby allowing students to reach college with minimum difficulty. Teachers will better allocated/ balanced in terms of academic and technical skills. This will break down the lop-sided academic approach. Academically inclined students will enter university direct from Junior College while technically inclined and other students will enter trade schools and or polytechnics.
2. The following New educational institutions will be introduced:
College of the Environment, Emphasis: Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Botany, Energy, Landscaping etc.
Sports and Recreational College, Emphasis: Coaching, Sports Management, Sports Medicine etc.
College of Culture, Emphasis: Music, Writing, Acting, Drama, Folk Culture Calypso, Steel Pan etc.
These changes will benefit both the academically and technically inclined students and will create greater employment and better management of our resources.
Please note these recommendations were made since 1987 and submitted to the then Task Force on Unemployment. This is an extremely edited portion of that submission/paper.