It's Graduation Time Again

EDITOR, The Tribune.

I UNDERSTAND that in government schools, certificates are given to all students pass or fail.

In some schools, a "Certificate of Completion" is given to those students who get a less than passing grade.

Someone who attended one of these ceremonies noted that more students received Certificates of Completion than those receiving Diplomas.

What was surprising was that the parents and others were cheering louder for those receiving Certificates than for those with passing grades.

The commencement speaker, a well-known newspaper publisher, gave an inspiring address on Excellence.

One can only imagine how he must have felt handing out the Certificates of Completion.

Each year, we inject into our system functionally illiterate students and expect them to make a life for themselves.

Then we turn around and wonder why the crime and joblessness rates are as high as they are. The PLP blame our system's ineffectiveness on the FNM and the FNM blame it on the PLP and so on... ad nauseam.

The truth is that our educational system suffers from years of neglect, structural weakness, and a lack of vision or any clear plan.

What would happen if we simply refused to graduate students unless and until they passed their courses?

I agree it would cost a lot more than we now pay for our schools but has anyone considered the social and economic cost we all pay for these young people being sent into the world with little prospect?

Each Minister of Education and every other Minister is handed a blank slate and expected to solve the problem.

They all seem to eventually give up hope and say "I met it this way".

While this is true, if a minister finds that he is ineffective in his position he owes an obligation to the people to just step down and give up the position hoping that the next person named can do better.

It is not an admission of his own incompetence but an acknowledgment that unless he can correct the problem, he becomes a part of it.

One last thing. The key to dealing with the problems that plague us is total commitment on the part of our leaders.

There is the exemplum on total commitment. The chicken provides eggs for the breakfast plate and then goes on her merry way. The pig's provision of bacon to the breakfast plate is total commitment, he gives his life. I know that it would be difficult to make my following suggestion a legal requirement but wouldn't it be great if we could? That to show their total commitment to the people they serve, all ministers of government should be required to send their children to government schools.

I can guarantee you that the public education system would improve almost immediately.



June 9, 2012.


concernedcitizen 7 years, 1 month ago

our schools are expensive babysitting centers for single moms and absent fathers to leave their children at while their busy playing numbers and making more babies ,,until we get our sexual habits and morals under control completion certificate will be the order of the day


notsogullible 7 years, 1 month ago

The most significant problem with our educational system is SOCIAL PROMOTION. If parents knew that their children would not move to the next level until they had mastered the skills of the preceding level then I believe a lot of attitudes would change. This happened when I was a student in the family island (Long Island to be exact). Principals were embarrased to pass children out of primary school who could not read at the appropriate level for the high school and also students could not pass out of ninth grade until they had earned 5 or more BJC's with C or better grades. This produced EXCELLENT students. All who had potential, used it. Those who didn't have potential were trained in agricultural science or they simply left school to go fishing. This was in the days of NGM - outstanding educator for whom the best family island high school is now named.


242 7 years, 1 month ago

A better education system would help with so many problems. The whole fact that you wouldn't be able to get a diploma nor a Leaving Certificate and had to repeat 12th grade would make students work harder to pass so they are not embarrassed.


notsogullible 7 years, 1 month ago

Repeating has to start at grade 1. By the time students hit 12th grade it is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too late


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