Thu | Jun 13, 2024

Implement long-term education transformation plans

Published:Tuesday | June 11, 2024 | 12:06 AM


The Gleaner editorial ‘CXC’s first step’ hits the nail on the head on matters of education and the development of human capacity. But it is as if those in educational leadership are not reading or, if they are, they are out of sync. Reference is being made here to those in positions of power and in the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA); the latter seems quite content operating just as a trade union.

They can’t claim not to know the state of affairs, because there is the Orlando Patterson Report on Educational Transformation and the 2021 Programme for International Student Assessment Report, which essentially corroborates the findings of the sorry state of our educational output. Further, the CXC deciding to drop some STEM subjects because of low entries, but later reversing that decision – we thank them for that.

There should be partnership between our policymakers and the JTA and a commitment which says that, by the time of Jamaica’s 100th birthday in 2062 a particular percentage of our tertiary students will be targeted to be at ‘x’ percentage on the various grading scales.

That is less than 40 years from now, which fits nicely for the many able and gifted students who are likely being held back by an education system out of touch with best practices. This wish is to see some of our brightest (there are many of them) becoming among the conceptualisers and developers of the new knowledge for the world of the future, and the inventors, patent owners, and wealth creators on our planet. In fact, I want to see the high quality of their research and development qualifying them for consideration for the Nobel Prize.

I know that our small size and scare resources do not lend itself to extractive wealth creation, but, as demonstrated by people like Bill Gates and Paul Allen of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai at Google and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, much of the wealth in the world can come from ideas whose time have come. Let creativity and boldness of execution be king. One does not need to be wealthy to create wealth. Maybe the education system is not highlighting this, but transforming ideas into useful tools for the world, and becoming wealthy from so doing, has always been a cardinal disrupter.

Many of us might not be around to witness this real transformation in our education output, but it could become the best gift that we give ourselves for our 100th birthday as an independent nation and republic, answering to no one, who may be 10,000 miles away, but to ourselves only, in every respect.