Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Appoint an education minister

Published:Saturday | February 22, 2020 | 12:16 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I recall the days when the Ministry of Education was a super ministry to which only a top brass member could be assigned. Today, this ministry has been relegated to taking a place among the less-significant ones. We have seen the appointment of so-called ministers who the people of this country never got a chance to elect to the House of Representatives, those whose ‘sell by’ date has long passed or has been bundled up under a ministry of everything to be found under Andrew Holness himself.

This government has been toying around with this very significant portfolio since 2016 , as the populace was seemingly distracted by the PR surrounding national security, finance and health.

We are now at a place where it has hit the fan and we can no longer ignore the fact that our future is in jeopardy. There are horrific videos in circulation on social media which tell a tale of what our teachers are grappling with on a daily basis.

Gunmen are being brought onto school premises as back-up for fights, chairs are being used as weapons in fights, teachers are being floored as they attempt to discipline students, and so on.

Mr Prime Minister, we saw you in your shorts at the SIGMA Run. We heard your grand speech. It was great PR which further bolstered ‘Jamaica Moves’. But, in a few years time, you might be hard-pressed to find any professionals to run alongside you, because they all failed at school!

Your clinics/hospitals will overflow with poor people in search of free health care. Crime will have become far worse than it currently is, because the schools will churn out more criminals than law-abiding citizens. The economy will not grow, because we will not have enough meaningful employees and entrepreneurs.

teachers leaving

Our best teachers will have migrated to greener pastures as they flee the prospect of being beaten up or losing their jobs because they tried to defend themselves in a country that only sees the rights of the child and not the teacher’s. What is your plan for teachers who need better pay and a listening ear in this crisis? Do we now understand why a teacher went rogue and gangster in the classroom?

Mr Holness, it starts here! You cannot expect a good economy, a lower crime rate or less people in clinics/hospitals begging for free healthcare, when our education system is in the gutters. The Ministry of Education is not a joke. You cannot be minister of everything and, with all due respect, Mr Samuda’s time has passed.

Minister without portfolio is absolutely unacceptable for an area of this magnitude. Please get it together and appoint a minister who is the right fit to engage all stakeholders to clean up this mess. Jamaica’s future depends on it!

Ann-Marie Campbell