School books are hardly being read. The local news is hardly being watched. The important news in the dailies is not being read enough. We have become fascinated only with the murder or demise of our citizenry. Our children are spending an inordinate amount of time playing video games and watching television programs that are aiding them in poor decision making. Our national heroes are dying out and our children don’t know who these Bahamian legends are. We are losing our ability to think.
The first few years of a child’s life are extremely important because he/she has to learn a solid foundation in order to be successful throughout their educational life. This is not happening and as such our children are becoming lost in a world where it is extremely difficult to survive without basic reading and mathematical skills. We see the early signs of failure but we have failed to act accordingly.
Our current educational system is not effective and many of our children are falling victim to the systematic ignorance that has been choking their development and ultimately our citizenry for the better part of 20 years. Ill prepared students create subcultures in our society, many of these dedicated to criminal behavior and social decay. Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney was spot on when he said that we need to prepare our children for the world stage and for the 21st century.
But why haven’t we been successful in our quest as a country to perform this task? The educational system has failed miserably as our students are leaving school in June of each year and they can’t even read or construct a sentence? What will we expect these children to do in order to support themselves? The odds against them are stacked and they haven’t even started their career as yet.
I ask the government of the Bahamas to construct and implement an effective educational plan for our country for the next 10 years. We know that we will borrow millions of dollars per year and we seem to have an idea on how many jobs will be needed in the next few years; but what about the plan to ensure that our children are able to compete on the world stage? When will this important initiative be launched? When will the educational system be revamped or restructured to meet the needs of our students who are now technologically savvy and need a curriculum that uses the latest technologies as opposed to a 1990’s system?
Every so often I come into firsthand contact with students who leave high school with nothing but an attendance certificate. I always recall my amazement when speaking to several recent female graduates this year. I was assisting them with their resume and told them that they did not record their BGCSE and BJC passes. I learned that they had no passes to put on their resume. The sad part about this reality is that they intend to be hired making way above minimum wage. They don’t understand their predicament until it slaps them in the face and they are continuously denied employment.
For many of them, they give up and resort to hanging out on the blocks where they start to engage in nefarious activities and drinking alcohol. Our recent graduates sink into a dejected state and become delusional about their current status. This surely should not be what we as a country want for some of our youth.
There are a handful of students who thrive in the current educational system because of sheer will and some parents and guardians who make the required sacrifices. To these students and parents, I commend you for a job well done. There are also many parents who in my view really need psychiatric help. Some of their priorities are all mixed up. How is it plausible that parents attend political rally after political rally and fail to attend one PTA meeting? How is it that parents don’t even oversee their children’s homework and test scores? The country needs these parents to become a part of the educational process and take an active role in their children’s development.
Someone once said, “Where ignorance is blessed it is folly to be wise”. Can this be applied to the inherent lack of organization and strategic commitment of our elected leaders to implement an effective educational system? Education is a national issue, but the government of the country needs to do more.
We can ill afford to allow our children to continually pass through a system that directly contributes to their ignorance. They will become adults one day. We need an educational system that challenges them to think, be creative and that uses current day technology. We need a system that teaches our children what it is to be truly Bahamian.
To use a manufacturing term, the assembly line (our educational system) is filled with products that will soon need to be recalled. I believe that a good education is one of the keys to be successful and that our leaders and the country need to be honest and admit that we need an immediate system change. Education receiving the lion share of the annual budget has become a smoke screen and fancy marketing ploys have not netted the results that we need as a country. We can’t expect to do the same thing and expect different results.