Thu | Jul 7, 2022

Need for positive social change in Jamaica

Published:Monday | May 9, 2022 | 12:05 AM


The issue of social change is complex. I am talking about positive social change for Jamaica in the 21st century. As we plan for the 60th anniversary of Independence of Jamaica, it is important to raise the issue of social change and ask the question: who will lead positive social change?

Social change occurs when the established norms are challenged by individuals and groups of people, with the aim of asserting a new awareness that creates a shift in human thinking and interactions, resulting in the reshaping of thinking, institutions and interpersonal relationships. This process is associated with social justice, an idea and movement that advocate changes, especially in societies steep in inequality, race and gender discrimination, and social and cultural inequality in general.

There has to be serious constitutional discussion inside and outside of the two major political parties to deal with general political changes; and also placing an emphasis on matters concerning history and culture as central features of the new constitutional debate. However, that will not be a short process, so there are important issues and institutions that will have to come to the fore and command leadership in the search for social change and social justice in Jamaica.

One aspect of the cultural inequality that must be resolved before the 60th anniversary of Independence is the declaration of Patois/Jamaica Creole – the language of the majority of the people and the students in schools – as the official language. When we put an end to this linguistic apartheid, we will be able to tackle, in part, the apartheid in the educational system.

The time has come to take an interdisciplinary approach to the identification of the barriers to social change, and also to present a new approach in a world that has more to do with just functions and conflicts. New groups are needed in Jamaica to lead this change. It is against this background that I am advocating that the military, the nurses and allied health workers as well as teachers to become the frontline forces in leading the process for positive social change in Jamaica.

In both old and new industrial countries, the military has played serious role in science development, application and education. This has been the case in countries such as France, Germany, the United States, and Brazil, to name a few.

We need to establish secondary military and naval institutions for both developing discipline and to take science to the masses. No country can develop without making science a part of everyday life.

The nurses as well as teachers must undergo transformation, developing a new view of the world in order to become agents of positive social change.