Ronald Mason | Toxic blend of politics and economics | Commentary

If you think education is expensive, try the alternative. For years, the Jamaican high schools have been stratified according to their results by the population at large.

All of these schools now have in common the mandatory interference from politicians posing as ministers of education. It has been many decades since someone like the late Edwin Allen occupied the post of minister of education, and though he was an elected politician, that was not the public’s primary perception of him. The educational progress and the availability of opportunities for excellence came with him.

The immediate past minister of education knew what was required for better outcomes, but bowed at the altar of expediency in not enforcing the remedial actions, so the nation’s educational system drifts along.

Listen to the song Little Black Boy out of Trinidad. Today, we have a major crime problem because the little black boy grew up and has become a significant contributor. Years of neglect and playing politics with the educational system are bearing bitter fruits.

The country has an education tax that is not being singularly applied to the school system. In the age of the 21st century, we still have 50 per cent of those students who are allowed to sit CXC exams leaving school after five years without any passes at all. Boys are terribly marginalised and drop out at ninth grade in significant numbers.

We have teachers in the system who were never proficient students of the subject matter they were employed to teach and expected to deliver at a high level. We pay high-school teachers to go on long sabbaticals in addition to a multitude of holidays. We cannot transfer teachers and there is the stupidity that says you are employed bys the school board, but paid and directed by the Ministry of Education.




When you have circumstances where schools are not allowed to solicit and demand payment for the very valuable commodity of education,…

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