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.
LUTHER H McDONALD
June 9, 2012.