Private Education, Legislation And Parental Choice

Private education is usually one of the most sought after services in any society; however, the legislation which governs private education differs according to country. In Denmark, a country of 5.7 million people private education has a long tradition and this service comes with a substantial government subsidy. The first “free school” private independent school for children was founded in 1852. These schools were established to serve rural population. In Denmark, all children must receive nine years education; however, parents have the choice where the child is educated. The choice for Danes regarding education is either publicly provided municipal primary and lower secondary school, in a private school or at home. It is estimated that about 13% of all children at basic school level attend private schools. In 2006, approximately, 91,000 children attend 491 private schools, while 690, 000 students attended the municipal school.   Private schools in Denmark are classified into the following: small independent schools in rural districts, large independent schools in urban districts, religions or congregational schools, progressive free schools, schools with a particular educational aim, German minority schools or immigrant schools. It is fascinating that private schools receive a grant per student per year for their operational expenditures which in principle matches the public expenditures in the municipal schools. It is important to note that grants vary depending on the size of the school, the age distribution of the students and the location of the school. Interestingly, students with learning disabilities or other special needs are given special grants. There are also building grants to cover rent, maintenance. In order to be classified as a private school such an institution must not be owned by a private individual or run for profit.   Additionally, such schools must be a self-governing institution with a Board of Governors responsible to the Ministry of Education, guided by rules regulating the use of any assets in case of liquidation. Across continents we visit Canada to examine how private education is governed.

Canada

Canada is the largest country in North America. The country has a population of 36 million people. There are ten provinces in Canada, these are: Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan. There are also three territories, these are; Northwest, Nunavat and Yukon. All education is overseen by the federal government but the onus is on provincial governments to govern funding and academic regulations which vary from province to province. Whether a school is public or private it must meet stringent requirements of federal or provincial regulation. The majority of privately funded schools in Canada are religious-based. Private schools are accredited by bodies such as the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Canadian Association of Montessori Administrators (CCMA). Private schools in Ontario and Nova Scotia whether they are operated as business or non-profit organizations do not receive any financial support from the government, however, five other provinces do. British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec five funds to eligible independent schools based on criteria such as hiring certified teachers and following the provincial curriculum. In Canada, there is a difference between private and independent schools. Private schools are usually for profits institutions. Independent schools are usually not for profit and are governed by a Board which is separate from the school’s administrator. It is estimated that there are over 2,000 independent schools in Canada. Our last stop on this journey takes us to Jamaica.

Jamaica

Jamaica’s population is currently 2.8 million people. Jamaica has had a history of private education. At the primary level parents with the economic means usually send their children to preparatory schools where school fees range from $40,000 to over $100,000 per term. In the past the ability and means to send one’s child to preparatory school is usually an indicator of social class as well as economic standing. However, this has changed over the years since those parents whose wealth is of recent origin might not necessarily have the social pedigree as old wealth class. According to the Education Act 1965, independent schools means any school at which education is provided for twenty or more students between the ages of eight years and nineteen, not being a public educational institution. The Independent Schools Regulations, 1973 addresses in more detailed the framework which guides private education. Jamaica, unlike Denmark allows for individuals to own private schools. Part 11 of The Independent Schools Regulations 1973 sub-section 5 states, “Every application for registration by a proprietor of an independent school shall be made in writing addressed to the Registrar of Independent Schools, Ministry of Education, National Heroes Circle, Kingston, or such address as the Minister may notify in the Gazette, and shall contain the particulars specified in the Schedule and shall accompanied by, a simple sketch or diagram of the school premises; simple floor plan of the buildings; a copy of the school’s prospectus; particulars of the fees for tuition in respect of each course; particulars of boarding fees (if any) for each age group of grade; and such other information as the Committee may from time to time require for the purpose of these Regulations.” Section 26 of the Education Act 1965 provides for a Committee of Independent Schools. The duties of the Independent Schools Committee include consideration for applications for registration of independent schools, as well as, to deal with representations made to the Committee in respect of notices of complaint served.

Social Indicators

Life expectancy in Canada is 82 years while the country’s  GDP is $52, 218, The GDP in Denmark is $46,000 and the life expectancy is 79.4 years. Jamaica’s GDP is $9,000 US and the life expectancy in Jamaica is 73.6 years. The homicide rate per 100,000 in Canada is 1.68 while in Jamaica it is 43.21. It can be argued that parents all over desire the best education for their children. Education is a business and the cost of providing education whether publicly funded or private continues to increase. Ultimately, the parent has the responsibility to select the best option for their child’s education. In the words of Mahtab Narsimhan, a good education is the greatest gift you can give yourself or anyone else.

#Jamaica #Denmark #Canada #education #culture #sustainabledevelopment

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in

development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

waykam@yahoo.com

@WayneCamo

 

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Prostate Health, Pension Plans and Prescription Drugs

“A nation’s greatest is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” Mahatma Ghandi

My dad is an octogenarian. He has been working from the time he was a teenager growing up in Mount Angus in the parish of St. Mary. My dad, Fitzroy is fiercely independent. He still drives his white 1991 Nissan Sunny to church every Sunday and continues to be active around the house. My dad has a passion for agriculture and with every opportunity he engages his enthusiasm whether it is planting banana suckers, yam, calaloo, tomatoes or some other food crop. However, like men of his age he has problems with his prostate. Recently, my dad asked me to fill a prescription. I found this request uncharacteristic of him nonetheless; I did as I was asked. My dad worked for himself his entire working career and as such he does not have private health insurance. On the other hand, the government of Jamaica has in place the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) and the National Health Fund insurance to those who qualify for same. The JADEP programme provides drugs at $40 per drug to beneficiaries who are at age 60 years and older for ten specific chronic illnesses. These illnesses are: Hypertension, Cardiac conditions, Arthritis, High Cholesterol, Vascular Disease, diabetes, Asthma, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), psychiatric conditions and Glaucoma. As you grow older the chances of ill-health becomes greater and as a result a significant portion of one’s pension goes to purchasing medication in order to keep you alive. Additionally, the older one gets the less disposable income one has. The reality is medication is costly with or without insurance. One recent study conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reported that pension coverage in Jamaica in 2012 was 21.4 per cent of the employed workforce as compared with 68.2 per cent in Barbados, 62.1 per cent in Grenada and 54.9 per cent in Trinidad and Tobago. In other words approximately twenty five (25%) of Jamaica’s working population has access to a pension plan. In other words three (3) out of every four (4) Jamaican does not have a pension. Another reality is more than half of all Jamaicans do not have health insurance. Unfortunately, my dad falls in the seventy five percent (75%) without a pension. One month’s supply of this life saving drug Duodart costs $7,490. While I am grateful that the National Health Fund Insurance paid a substantial amount ($3,924) of the cost of my dad’s medication, regrettably, many men are unable to afford the $3,209. 40 it costs for a month’s supply of this critical drug even with government’s health insurance. The cost of prescription drugs globally continues to increase as pharmaceutical companies are more concerned with satisfying these shareholders than providing affordable medication. We live in a society in which a significant portion of the working population does not have health insurance. Healthcare is quite costly and unfortunately insurance is rather prohibitive for many Jamaicans even among those who work. The drug Duodart is used to treat moderate to severe symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Duodart is a combination of two medicines; Dutasteride and Tamsulosin Hydrochloride. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland which is located at the lower portion of the urinary bladder surrounding the urethra. Unfortunately, in men with BPH the prostate gland becomes large enough to squeeze the urine tubes running through it. When the urine tube it squeezed it narrows making it more difficult to pass urine normally. Sadly, men who are diagnosed with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia often experience the following symptoms: difficulty in starting to urinate, an interrupted, weak urinary stream, more frequent urination especially at nights, a feeling that you need to urinate right away, leaking or dribbling and a feeling that you cannot empty your bladder completely. Men’s health is often not given the attention that it desires. As a result many men stay away from the doctor or suffer. The government needs to develop a sustained programme regarding the health care of men. The time to act is now! Our policy makers must ensure that our health care system is inclusive. Additionally, the State must ensure that medication can be sourced in a timely and at a reasonable cost. The policies governing the public health care system must be revisited with a sense of urgency and steps must be put in place to ensure that more subsidies on medication especially for drugs for prostate health are available. It bares thought that until some circumstances impact you and or your family you cannot fully appreciate or empathize what those who are affected. I am almost sure that many men suffer due to their inability to purchase this drug. We need to pay more attention to the elderly in the society.

Any society which fails to put in place an efficient and cost-effective health care system runs the risk of alienating a significant portion of its citizenry and opens itself to revolt not only from the present generation but the generation to come.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

waykam@yahoo.com

 

@WayneCamo

St. Jude’s Primary School: A Beacon of Hope at 55 Years

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”- Aristotle

St. Jude’s Primary School is located at 1 Norwich Avenue in Kingston. The school has been likened to a gemstone despite its geographical locale. It is rather fitting that we associate the precious stone emerald with the school’s 55th anniversary. This noble institution is rather precious and holds great memories for the many students who have been fortunate to have walked its prolific grounds. Like most schools St. Jude’s Primary School has weathered many storms, yet the institution has remained committed to providing quality education to the nation’s children at the primary level. On Sunday, April 22, 2018, this illustrious institution, now a school of choice through its academic excellence in all national examinations, as well as through students’ involvement in extracurricular activities commemorated its 55th anniversary at the St. Jude’s Catholic Church. The Mass of Thanksgiving was conducted by Father Richard Award. It was a delight to have been a part of this momentous occasion. The church was packed to capacity as both past and present students filled the church’s pews, along with parents, teachers both past and present, well-wishers and members of the school board.

Early History

St. Jude’s Primary School was founded by Father Richard Eberle on April 22, 1963. The vision then was to facilitate more students in the community to be exposed to an educational institution which was closer to home. It is important to note that prior to the establishment of St. Jude’s Primary children from the Waltham Gardens community used to attend the St. Anne’s Primary School. St. Jude’s Primary School began as an extension of St. Anne’s Primary. The school’s existence is due largely in part to the generous donor Marie Isaacs who donated the property to Father Eberle.  The Roman Catholic owned school currently has 1,059 students on roll and 32 teachers supported by 2 guidance counsellors, a vice principal and principal. Like all Roman Catholic schools St. Jude’s Primary is known for producing well adjusted and disciplined students. The school takes it religious responsibility very seriously, this is evident in the Catholic School’s Ministry which is held every Wednesday at the church, additionally students in the upper school attend Mass once per term. The institution has produced many outstanding students who are to be found in many disciplines, such as in the fields of education, security, business, media, law and theology, as well as in the areas of Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM).

Achievements

St. Jude’s Primary is a school of excellence and should boast of their achievements. The top female student in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) in 2013 was Latonya Clayton. The school’s first Marcus Garvey scholarship winner Mr. Nicardo Neil graduated in 1999. In 2017 the institution once again walked away with the Marcus Garvey Scholarship in the person of Nickolei Campbell. In 2016, the school placed third in the Junior Schools’ Challenge Quiz. St. Jude’s Primary is among a special group in that the school boasts an A class Marching Band which gives their support to all activities of the school. The school of choice has won numerous medals and trophies in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) competitions and this undoubtedly speaks to the holistic education provided at the school.

This noble institution is known for their involvement in Scouts and Brownies. In fact, both uniformed groups are a force to be reckoned with as they have won awards within the district, as well as island wide. St. Jude’s Primary has also done well in chess as well as the annual Insports Primary School Championships.

Beacon of Hope

As we continue to give thanks in this our 55th year for the blessing that this great institution has been in our lives, we pause to salute the hard work, dedication, unwavering service of the teachers and administrators throughout the years. St. Jude’s like the emerald is synonymous with quality and class. Let us use this anniversary year as a catalyst to urge all past students to offer their time and resources to their alma mater. St. Jude’s Primary has achieved much, however, the journey is not yet finished. As we set our sights on our Diamond 60th anniversary in five years time, let us redouble our efforts and join hands and hearts to move St. Jude’s Primary School to the next level. May St. Jude’s Primary continue to be that beacon of hope for all who enters through its gates. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

waykam@yahoo.com

@WayneCamo

 

International Girls In ICT Day

“Science is not a boy’s game; it’s not a girl’s game. It’s everyone game.” –Nichelle Nichols

April 26 is observed as the International Girls in ICT day. Regrettably, in many parts of the world, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by digital transformation which is yet another barrier to gender equality. Research from the UN Women states women are 14 per cent less likely than men to own a mobile phone and 25 per cent fewer women and girls are online when compared to men and boys. According to a UN Women report, internet access and mobile connectivity, along with provision of digital literacy, can reduce social and gender inequalities. Digital literacy is defined as the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. Historically, women have faced discrimination especially since in most societies women are the invincible creators of wealth and the adhesive for the functioning of families. Women, in some societies are discouraged from seeking employment outside of the domestic or private sphere. The education of girls on a global scale is therefore not viewed as a priority. Unfortunately, in some societies violence is used as a tool to prevent girls from accessing an education. We must be reminded of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head in 2013 for going to school. It bares thought that almost all of society’s social and gender inequalities have its genesis in a system of patriarchy which unfortunately many states still subscribe to even in the 21st century. Undoubtedly, digital technology has the potential not only to transform lives and communities but also to interrogate the sense of ownership and protection that patriarchy provides for men.

STEM EDUCATION

According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are rapidly becoming the most in demand and lucrative in the world. The AAUW adds that despite this demand, at almost every step of the STEM education path women and girls walk away. According to UN Women, women currently represent only 20 per cent of engineering school graduates, additionally, 25 per cent of women engineers leave the field after age 30, compared to 10 per cent of men engineers. This narrative is problematic and we need to do more to ensure a different ending.

Jamaica has been proactive in embracing and infusing STEM in the National Standards Curriculum (NSC). In fact a number of schools at the secondary level across all fourteen parishes have been transformed into STEM academies. Thankfully, we live in a country where our girls and women have equal access to education and training. Undoubtedly, the better paying jobs of the 21st century are all aligned to areas of STEM education and as a result we must prepare our students to take full advantages of these opportunities. In preparing our students we must ensure that the education system embarks on a policy of gender mainstreaming in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The next phase of empowering our girls should be fought at the Early Childhood level of the education system. We need to make a concerted effort to highlight the positive impact that female participation has on national development. Gender mainstreaming must takes root across all levels of the education system in order to support, encourage and motivate girls to enter STEM careers.

GENDER MAINSTREAMING

The UN Economic and Social Council defines gender mainstreaming as a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the policies and programmes in all political, economic and social spheres so that women and men benefit equally, and inequality is not perpetuated. Gender mainstreaming is deliberate, calculated and cannot be left to chance. Gender mainstreaming cannot be achieved without the use of sex-disaggregated data which is critical in driving the intervention required to scaffold women and girls who are oftentimes left behind. Regrettably, the perspective of gender is often an afterthought and added on later in the design and implementation of our policies and programmes. We need to change this mindset and attitude in which we undermine the contribution of women to economic development. In order for this well needed transformation to come about a more concerted effort involving Non-Governmental Organization (NGO’s), the State and other partners must join forces to raise awareness on empowering girls and young women to consider careers in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

GENDER EQUAL WORLD

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 5 speaks, to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. While we must acknowledge that progress has been made and continue to be made we must be mindful that gender inequality is pervasive, depriving women and girls of their basic rights, freedoms and accompanying opportunities. The march towards achieving gender equality requires more vigorous efforts, including legal framework in order to counter centuries old gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms. Interestingly, in spite of the pervasive nature of patriarchy, many families in the Caribbean are matrifocal in design. Researchers, Amy Antonio and David Tuffley in their report, The Gender Digital Divide in Developing Countries, noted that forty per cent of women surveyed indicated they were unfamiliar or uncomfortable with technology. This disturbing finding underpins the barrier to digital literacy skills which many women face. In order to remove the barriers of digital literacy there is a need to foster a culture of gender inclusiveness and gender equity. It is for this reason that the society must work to embrace Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) across our education system. STEM education provides a platform for students to tackle real-life situations and finding solutions. We need to invest more in women’s and girls’ education in order to create a gender equal world. It is critical that students, especially girls are engaged and exposed to careers in STEM in order to break the cycle of poverty. Our girls need to see role models in the ICT industry. It would be useful for us in Jamaica to have a national ICT day for girls, spearheaded perhaps by the Ministries of Science and Technology and Education. Categorically, closing the digital divide for women and girls in developing countries is a must with regards to changing the conversation about gender equality. We must ensure that women and girls have equal access to digital technology, skills and services in order to achieve gender equality and sustainable development.

In the powerful words of Kofi Annan, there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and/or gender issues.

#GirlsinICT

waykam@yahoo.com

@WayneCamo

 

 

 

 

The Road To Damascus

“To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.”-Elie Wiesel

We live in dangerous times. Evil is everywhere and what is considered a threat for one government is considered as a means of survival for another regime. In spite of legally binding international treaties and conventions the world has witnessed at least two instances of what experts estimate to be chemical warfare since the start of 2018. The first such case occurred in England and most recent one was in Syria. It can be debated that the attack in England was the first chemical warfare in post World War 2 Europe in which a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in Britain’s southwestern city Salisbury England. The more recent nerve agent attack occurred in the Middle East, more specifically in Syria where the ongoing civil war has all but brought this country to her knees under the repressive regime of President Assad who is supported by both Russia and Iran. The unmistakably fact is the use of chemical weapons is banned in war under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), formally, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. The CWC was adopted by the United Nations (UN) Conference on Disarmament on September 3, 1992 and became into force on April 29, 1997. In Article 11 of the CWC, chemical weapons are defined as all toxic chemicals intended for wartime use, which includes not only the finished weapons but also their chemical precursors, munitions, delivery devices, and any other equipment designed for wartime use. The aim of the CWC is total chemical weapons disarmament. Signatory states possessing chemical weapons once ratifying the convention must destroy all chemical weapons and such facilities.

Unfortunately, on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 Russia used its veto power to block an extension of efforts of international inspectors to determine those responsible for chemical weapons attacks which have killed scores of civilians in Douma City, East Ghouta, Syria. It has been reported that at least 42 people were killed and more than 500 injured in this latest chemical attack which occurred late Saturday in Douma, a suburb of Damascus. According to a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO), during the shelling of Douma on Saturday, an estimated 500 patients presented to health facilities exhibited signs and symptoms consistent to exposure to toxic chemicals. In particular, there were signs of severe irritations of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to central nervous systems.

Russia, as one of five permanent members of the United Nations has the privilege of a veto which can be used to hinder the progress of any resolution. The other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are the United States, France, China and the United Kingdom. It can be argued that this is one way in which the legitimacy of the United Nations has been eroded over the years. If Russia is so confident that the Assad regime is not responsible for the chemical attack in Douma why then continue to veto efforts to get in independent experts to do the necessary tests which undoubtedly will clear the matter up. The Syrian civil war began in March of 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. The unrest triggered nationwide protest demanding that President who inherited the position from his father resign. According to some estimates more than 250,000 Syrians have been killed and more than 11 million have had to fled their homes. After seven years of fighting it seems that President Bashar al- Assad is on the verge on victory thanks to the support of his loyal friends Iran and Russia.

United Nations Less Relevant

We have seen the United Nations becoming less and less relevant over the years as wars continue to rage and nations continue to flout international law and their relationships. Consequently, we have witnessed more and more piranha states becoming embolden since such nation states are very much aware that the chances of them being held accountable for committing such grave actions of crimes against humanity is miniscule. There is clear vacuum of leadership regarding decency, international law and order. The inaction of those who should provide leadership does not lessen such a responsibility and does not make the world any safer. What is required in 2018 in the face of evil is bold and responsibility leadership.

The United Nations Security Council, as well as the wider international community has failed miserably the innocent women, children and men who are at the mercy of despots who will go to any lengths to ensure the survival of their blood stained legacy. In the words of Simon Wiesenthal, justice for crimes against humanity must have no limitations.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

waykam@yahoo.com

@WayneCamo

#SyriaAttack #Damascus #UN #chemicalweapons #humanity #Ghouta #Douma

 

 

The Ranking Of Schools: a Deficit in Leadership

“Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation not intimidation.”- William Arthur Wood

Each year the society looks forward to the ranking of the nation’s schools. The rankings have become an annual feature of the educational landscape and provide much food for thought for analysts, not only in support for the various talk show programmes but also as a way to drive policies in making our education system more inclusive. The annual rankings of schools is based on the performance of students in the grade eleven cohort who obtain five or more subjects, including Mathematics and English Language in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. The top ten ranked schools over the years have remained relatively unchanged. Campion College and Immaculate Conception High School have swapped the number one ranking since the publication began. Interestingly, both schools are Roman Catholic run institutions and highly sought after institutions. In fact all the schools ranked in the top ten are either Church owned or Trust owned. However, the concern we must all share is not one regarding the ownership of the schools but one of the continued underperformance of a significant number of our schools. In comparing the rankings over the years it is clear that some schools have become permanent fixtures at the bottom. Our students enter and leave educational facilities at regular intervals, so too our teachers, however, in a number of instances the principalship is the one constant factor in a significant number of these schools. It can be argued that a major reason for the interest in the association between leadership and student outcomes in the desire of policy makers to minimize the persistent disparities in educational achievement between various sub-populations in the education system. As a society we need to build confidence of the public in the capacity of school manager to make a considerable difference to student outcomes. Such confidence can be cultivated in a culture in which our principals are encouraged to embrace the major leadership theories of Instructional and Transformational management.

Instructional Leadership

Instructional leadership theory has its empirical origins in studies undertaken during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s of schools in poor urban communities where students succeeded despite the odds (Edmonds, 1979). Research indicates that schools with this type of leadership usually have a learning climate free of disruption, a system of clear teaching objectives and high teacher expectations for students.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership theory has its origins in James McGregor Burn’s 1978 publication in which he analyzed the ability of some leaders to engage with staff in ways that inspired them to new levels of energy, commitment and moral purpose, sadly, these leadership theories are lacking in a significant number of our schools.

Instead, what we have is an archaic type of leadership void of transparency and accountability. This type of old-fashioned leadership must be held accountable for the poor performance of student outcomes of their respective schools. Correspondingly, this type of behavior is parallel to some of our politicians who have no idea when it is time to exit the stage. In addition to the impact of leadership on student outcomes one must examine other variables. A major variable that impacts on student outcome is the pedagogical skills of teachers. This type of pedagogy as it relates to the teacher means whether or not the teacher is a veteran as opposed to being a rookie; whether the teacher is Teacher College trained as opposed to having only a university degree. The type of teacher as a variable is critical to student outcomes. This include whether or not the teacher is experienced with regards to Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) requirements as opposed to inexperienced ones: teachers who have actually marked CSEC as opposed to those who have not. It is fair to assume that highly sought after schools will be more able not only to attract the more experienced teachers, but also, would be better able to retain such teachers. According to educator Errol Douglas, who holds a Master of Science degree in Education Administration and Supervision from Fordham University of New York, as well as a Master of Science in Special Education from Hunter College of the City University of New York argues that those in authority must examine other variables with regards to student outcomes. He believes that other variables such as the type of students chosen for the top ranked schools as opposed to the students who are placed at the lower ranked schools also significantly impact results. He added that the availability of resources and curriculum must be thoroughly examined. He acknowledges this as a critical tool needed when critically analyzing the results and ranking of schools, based on their performance in the CSEC. Furthermore, according to Douglas the conclusive results as denoted in the ranking of schools based on CSEC performance does not necessarily give an accurate picture of a school’s performance. For example, technical schools which are in the lower performance rank subscribe to a curriculum that is geared towards technical based skills and examinations, not necessarily the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC). He argues that even though such schools might be successful regarding the curriculum and output, the wrong lens are used to judge them. Above all, he concludes that traditional based grammar schools attract a different clientele or caliber of academic students based on the current Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).

Notwithstanding my colleague Errol’s premise I strongly believe that the positioning of schools whether at the top or the least ranked is grounded in the quality of leadership provided at the institution. The National Education Inspectorate (NEI) in a 2015 report on public schools inspection mentioned that school leadership and management were unsatisfactory in forty per cent of schools inspected at that time. It bares thought that students in schools with superior leadership and management tend to perform better than their counterparts. While much work has been done regarding the leadership deficit in our schools much more work is required in order to bring all schools on as level a playing field as is humanly possible. There is a tendency in the society to speak of School Boards merely in academic terms regarding school leadership and management. Regrettably, in too many instances the Office of the Principalship and that of Board Chairperson are one and the same. Perhaps, this attitude is one reason why many of our school boards and schools are performing unsatisfactorily. Obviously, all stakeholders need to redouble their efforts in working assiduously in order to change the public’s perception surrounding school boards and management. We need to look closely on the composition of school boards since in too many instances board members are rotating from positions to positions instead of being replaced after serving a three year term which is what is recommended. Is it that the leadership deficit is so widespread that we are unable to get qualified and motivated volunteers to serve our educational institutions? In order for our students to excel we must find ways and methods to rid the education system of the small portion of such principals who believe and behave as if they have a sense of life entitlement to such a position. If as a principal you are not performing or perhaps you are unable to perform then it is simple, do the nation a great service and walk away, quietly. The practice of extending the tenure of underperforming principals is not in the best interest of our students. We cannot afford to continue playing a game of Russian roulette with the future of our children by endorsing a skewed strand of principalship, which focuses on the control of teachers rather than the focal point of a school which is ensuring that effective teaching and learning takes place. The State needs to get proactive and guarantee that all schools, especially struggling schools have in place inspired, instructional and transformative principalship as the way forward in insuring improved student outcomes. In the wise words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

waykam@yahoo.com

@WayneCamoneCamo

 

From Gethsemane To Glory

Easter is one of those religious festivities which conjure a bitter sweet flavour. The bitterness comes because we often reflect on Jesus’ trial and subsequent crucifixion yet it is sweet since Jesus overcame the grave and now lives in Glory making intercession on our behalf. “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “sit here while I go over here and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” – St. Matthew 26:36-38. Easter continues to have a very powerful and indeed personal meaning to many Christians. It is that time of year when Christians enter a period of reflection. It is also that season when God-fearing Jamaicans from all denominations pack the pews of churches in observance of Passion Week which embodies the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Christians believe, according to Scripture that Jesus was raised from the dead three days after his death on the cross. I am sure you have pondered on numerous occasions what Gethsemane looked like? Perhaps you have asked yourself why Gethsemane. Having that Gethsemane experience is a necessary component along the journey for a Christian. It is that time when our backs are against the wall and there is no other way but to seek God through prayer and fasting. Prayer is a critical tool in keeping the communication process open. Prayer is that channel which provides for the Christian not only an outlet but also an opportunity to speak to the Heavenly Father. Jesus led by example, not only in the garden of Gethsemane but throughout the entire Bible in going in prayer to God. The garden of Gethsemane according to Encyclopedia Brittanica is located across the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives, a mile long ridge paralleling the Eastern part of Jerusalem. The area is approximately 1200 square metres. The name in Hebrew means “oil press”. Jesus’ agony, betrayal and arrest are documented in the Scriptures. The trial, crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus were foretold in the Scriptures long before his birth. The prophet Zechariah foretold the betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Zechariah 11:4-17, revealed the payment of 30 pieces of silver and of a good shepherd whose service is terminated. Matthew 26:15 explained the payment of 30 pieces of silver coins which was paid to Judas for Jesus’ betrayal. Judas organized the time and place of Jesus’ betrayal.

Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples

Psalm 41:9, is one of David’s prayer in which he asked God for mercy in the last days. Some Christians believes that it was inspired by God, as it reveals a betrayal of a close friend with whom he had shared bread. This foreshadowed something that happened years later with Jesus. St. Matthew 26:47-50 brings to light Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, one of the 12 disciples, shortly after Jesus and the apostles had shared bread during the Last Supper.

My colleague Troy makes an invaluable point in which he stated, “many people will not understand the significance of the death of Christ. This is because they are looking not to understand but to criticize and prove it as being foolishness. Troy opines that we often focus on the beating and embarrassment laid on Jesus. Troy believes the beating was possible the least of Jesus’ suffering. He adds, that based on the beatings and strain on His body, Jesus should have been dead before the cross. “At the very least His body should have gone into shock and render Him unconscious. However, he had to hold on.” As the Scriptures says in St. John 15:13, “greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus was spat upon and flogged

Isaiah 50:6 states, gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. Isaiah explains that one of God’s servants would experience abuse at the hand of sinful men. Some Bible scholars have acknowledged this Old Testament prophecy as being fulfilled by Jesus Christ, who lived about 700 years after Isaiah. The New Testament explains that he was beaten, mocked and taunted shortly before his crucifixion by the Romans. Matthew 26: 67 says, then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, v 68 Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?

Jesus died for our sins

In Isaiah 53:4-6, the prophet wrote about a servant being punished for the sins of others and that by his wounds people would be healed. As explained in the New Testament, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus was crucified for our sins, and he was sinless. During the days of Old, the offering of animal sacrifice was used symbolically as a means of cleansing people from sin. Through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, we all can be cleanse and become a part of his Kingdom through faith.

Troy stated that the work was not finished and Our Father sent Jesus to complete a task spoken of hundreds of years before he came. Troy argues that he has accepted that Jesus’ crucifixion was the greatest moment of suffering. He stresses that we must realize that He was never separated from the presence of God, never was his communication with God severed. This fact is reinforced in the Scriptures which highlighted that even as a baby in the womb He was in tune with God so much so that when John in his mother’s womb was in his presence he responded to God incarnate. According to Troy Jesus’ greatest pain was having the Father turn away from him because of the sin that he took on for the entire world, then and now. Every vile, wicked, immoral sickening thing we can think of Jesus bore the burden of it all.

The Burial of Jesus

In Isaiah 53:9, the prophet wrote about a sinless servant who was put to death with the wicked and buried with the rich. About 700 years after this was written, Jesus was put to death between two criminals and was buried in a tomb owned by a wealthy man as explained in the New Testament. The New Testament also says that Jesus was resurrected three days later and ascended into Heaven. Jesus himself personified glory and his endurance of such suffering speaks to the depth of his love towards us that while we were sinners Christ gave his life for us.

Reflections

A colleague, Eileen, shared her thoughts, “It is so significant to know that the God of glory, who was living in glory was willing to go through such suffering where his sweat became as drops of blood.” Eileen added, Yet Jesus stuck with it, He did not give up. He endured this suffering because of his love for us. This is an example to us (Christians) and to those who want to become children of God that the reward for serving God will be to share in His glory. Eileen argues that whenever we go through trials on earth but persevere, we should take comfort that this suffering is just for a time, and the best is yet to come.

My cousin Yvonne stated, “rejection, restoration, redemption are synonymous with the Gethsemane experience. She added that in life all of us have Gethsemane experiences but if we live for Him, we shall see Him in glory.

The glory of God is captured in the powerful lyrics from the gospel song, “Show Me Your Glory by Jesus Culture. “I see the cloud, I step in. I want to see your Glory as Moses did. Flashes of light, rolls of thunder, I am not afraid, I am not afraid.”

“Man will forever sin and God is not foolish to this. So we are not damned because we sin but due to our refusal to accept this offering redemption from sin.” So says Troy.

We should not fear the glory of God. In fact, the sole purpose of life here on earth is to prepare us for His glory when we shall reign with Him.

What are some of your Gethsemane experiences? Perhaps, you are that individual who is always extending a helping hand to neighbours, yet in return you are betrayed. May be you are that student who is always sharing your notes and knowledge with your peers yet your peers are unkind to you in return. Perhaps you are that teacher who despite your best efforts cannot get that promotion, however, be not discouraged in due course you will reap your just reward.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Christ bore His suffering, agony and humiliation with such grace and humility that we who are Christians should look to his example. During this Lenten season leading to Easter we must engage in a process of reflection and spiritual renewal in order that we too can reign with Christ. Let us use this period of Easter to repent since Jesus is always willing to forgive and restore us to righteous. We can never experience glory without first having our Garden of Gethsemane experience. Have a holy and blessed Easter.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

waykam@yahoo.com

@WayneCamo

Thanks to Elaine Thompson for her contribution. Elaine can be reached at elainemax_thom@yahoo.com

#Easter #glory #Lent #Gethsemane #reflection #agony #suffering #betrayal #prayer #LastSupper #GoodFriday #HolyThursday #PassionWeek #triduum

 

Male Behaviour, Metrosexuality and Gender

I like to think of myself as a male who chooses to live and explore life to the fullest without restricting myself to labels, so says Sam, a colleague who responded to my question on the issue of the metrosexual male and masculinity. Metrosexual means different things to different people. According to the Cambridge Dictionary a metrosexual is a man who is attracted to women sexually but who is also interested in fashion and his appearance. The online interactive WebMD, states that a metrosexual male is straight, sensitive, well-educated urban dweller who is in touch with his feminine side. The online publication goes on to state that the metrosexual male may have a standing appointment for weekly manicure and has his hair styled by a stylist rather than a barber. The metrosexual male often wears jewellery, loves to shop and pays attention to how he looks. He may work on his physique at a fitness club as against having gym membership. Sam opines that as far as the metrosesexual man is concerned he epitomizes the twenty century’s sexual revolution of pop culture promoted by such icons as, Boy George, Dennis Rodman, Prince and Little Richard who gave men the liberty to step out of their shells while, not going to the extreme by cross or drag dressing. Gone are the days of the caveman like culture regarding masculinity. It has become routine for many men to do what is required to enhance one’s personal appearance. For some men this means visiting the barber weekly for a haircut, or perhaps to have a manicure or pedicure done. However, there was a time in our history, when men who took the time out to care and look after themselves were viewed as lesser men. In fact some might argue that not much has changed since men who are a stickler for grooming are still discriminated against and usually face questions about their sexual orientation since this self-care attitude and conduct was seen outside of the masculine behaviour. The debate surrounding what is viewed as accepted masculine behavior has come a long way. I dare say, as society evolves we can expect to have more interrogation of masculinity. Additionally, the emergence or perhaps the re-emergence of multiple masculinities will become routine in our culture. There are those who believe that the spa experience should be gender specific, ignoring the fact that men have needs too and a desire to feel wanted. In fact a number of business opportunities have emerged for male only grooming services which pamper and cater to males. Interestingly, the metrosexual evolution is also a revolution catalyzed by magazines such as Vogue, Ebony, JET along with modern cosmopolitan women demanding of their men to be more groomed and presentable. Troy another colleague dismissed the notion of metrosexual male. He asserts that men who use the label metrosexual are borderline gay. He added that he has never had a manicure or pedicure and by extension he stuns the label of metrosexual male. In his assessment of the metrosexuality lifestyle, Troy adds, “I think a man who grew up desiring greatly the material things in life and have now come into substance can end up in such a lifestyle.” He added, “also one who wished to align oneself with the trend of the times and gain a sense of relevance.”

Blurring Gender Lines

Undoubtedly, many of us in society, perhaps because of our religious socialization are uncomfortable discussing the idea of gender-fluidity. However, whether we chose to or not gender as a social construct is a fluid concept and this fluidity allows us to express and celebrate the diversity of our sexuality. My dad who is in his eighties was never faced with this blurring of the gender lines and roles. Men of my father’s age grew up in an era where there was no middle ground concerning sexuality, or perhaps the middle was not spoken about. Nevertheless, with each generation there comes more and more freedom as well as an added sense of responsibility. It can be argued that with the proliferation of social media a number of proverbial envelopes have been pushed open, and boundaries as it relates to sexuality and sexual expression have had to be redrawn to take into account the realities of today’s youth and contemporary society. Yet, still the concept of gender fluidity still resides in the halls of academia. Males who behave differently are often viewed as sissies or homosexuals. What was termed gender-inappropriate fifty years ago is now very much appropriate in 2018, or is it? Society then was not tolerant of any gender expression outside of the normative heterosexual masculinity. It bares thought that there is a difference between queer masculinity and being gay. While it is debatable that queerness emerged from the experiences of the gay and lesbian community, it can be argued that in a strictly straight and academic strand, queerness stems from the notion of challenging the categorization of the gay-straight binary. Many straight men have had “queer masculine” moments which can be defined as being masculine outside of the hetero-normative of masculinity which interrogates the traditional understanding of hegemonic heterosexual masculinity. Cultural concepts and expectations about men and masculinity typically generate uncertainty for many men regarding their manhood. Main stream media, as well as social media often portrays queerness as linked with sexual orientation, however, we now know this is not so. The freedom and privilege which comes from being a heterosexual male is unquestionable in Judea-Christian societies. The rise of multiple masculinities is also rooted in the demands that women have been and continue to place on men. An increasing number of women prefer the clean cut, suave, debonair man. The definition of maleness and manhood continues to evolve. The definition of how to behave like a man continues to be interrogated and redefined, not only by standards associated with popular culture but by an egotistical need to be pleasing to members of the opposite sex.

Thug Masculinity

The notion of thug masculinity has been discussed almost at nausea in popular culture for quite a while. In contrast to metrosexuality there is also what I refer to as the ‘bad boy’ strand of masculinity. Thug masculinity is a set of behavioural traits in which men have a rugged persona, characterized by the wearing of tight fitted pants, “the squeeze mi balls (scrotum), hold yuh ankle type” with undergarments exposed. Many men who subscribe to this thug masculinity culture are oftentimes seen as rude and are usually at odds with academia. Thug masculinity is a form of street corner socialization divorced from the trappings of the well-dapper male. Interestingly, many women find this “thuggy thuggy” masculinity rather alluring and charming. A female colleague, Angella shared that she prefers well-groomed men, however, she draws a line with men who shave or shape their eye brows, this according to Angella is too extreme and not in keeping with who is a man. “No where best personifies metrosexaulity as Jamaica.” So says Troy. . “In many societies it is enough to purchase a standard of clothing but the Jamaican males take it a step further by having said clothing tailored to fit just right.” He added, not only are these males the followers of the latest fashion trends but also its innovators shown by the Hollywood lifestyles depicted in the dancehalls. Troy argues, that even beyond dancehall, the Jamaican high society males stick to particular brands. It is these middle and upper class males that are known for mani/pedicure and the changing of vehicles to identify with the latest motor trends. Troy posits that the bleaching of the skin and the wearing of teeth braces is part of the dancehall culture and by extension part of the metrosexual male. Troy is of the view that in taking on such behavioural traits one is no less of a man. However, he firmly believes that in the notion that whatever we give most of our time tends to define who we are. Can a person who dedicates them self to fashion and its every pursuit help becoming vain, he asks? For a man this can very well mean he starts neglecting more worthwhile and higher priority things, such as family. Troy concludes that this is the point at which masculinity is affected and the individual makes himself an infidel despite his outward persona.  The twenty first century male is fortunate. He is lucky in that he has multiple masculinities from which to define his own sense of manhood. The society continues to revolve around modernity and with this association men are allowed the freedom to explore, experiment and appreciate new forms of masculinities. The reality is people are no longer willing to allow the society to dictate to them, how and in what manner they should live and express their individuality as sexual beings. In the words of sociologist, Raewyn Connell, there is abundant evidence that masculinities are multiple, with internal complexities and even contradictions; also that masculinities change in history and that women have a considerable role in making them, in interaction with boys and men.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in

development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

waykam@yahoo.com

@WayneCamo

#religion #queermasculinity #metrosexual #masculinity #manhood #gender #Jamaica #society #sexualorientation #queereye #brotherhood #socialization #culture #discrimination

 

Perspectives on Homeschooling

Homeschooling is not a sprint, the process is indicative of a marathon. Homeschooling is a parent led home-based educational practice which has grown tremendously over the years. Homeschooling involves the parent undertaking the responsibility for the education of their child in the controlled surroundings of the home. Homeschooling is often motivated by parental desire to exclude and shield their children from the traditional school environment, which over the years has become a battleground of sort characterized by bullying and negative peer pressure. Unfortunately, an increasing number of parents are home schooling their children due to health purposes. For example, some children may have severe food allergies and as such it’s best that such children are educated at home. Additionally, there are some parents who prefer to give their child/children a more religious based educational experience which home education facilitates more than being educated in the traditional public school system. The schooling of children outside of the formal structure of a classroom has always been a feature of human development. The modern homeschooling movement began in the 1970’s. John Holt, an educational theorist and supporter of school reform is credited with pioneering work in the movement. Holt argued that formal schools’ focus on rote learning created an oppressive classroom environment designed to make children compliant employees. Holt’s ideology calls for parents to liberate their children from formal education and instead follow a method known as “unschooling”. Raymond Moore, a colleague of Holt and educational theorist argued that children should be schooled at home until age 8 or 9 so as to balance their educational and psychological needs.

 

Sociological research on homeschooled families suggests that there have been two main groups. Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who want to give their children a Christian education and progressive who believes that formal schooling stifles children’s natural creativity and that education takes place best outside the classroom. In the United States of America, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Originally, homeschooling or home education as it is referred to in England was practiced mainly underground or in rural areas. It is estimated that there are 2 million homeschooled students in the U.S.A. or 3.4 % of the student population.

FINLAND

Finland is located between Sweden and Russia in Northern Europe. Finland is often viewed as an innovated country when it comes to education. Finland has consistently been ranked as the top or near the top in worldwide education surveys. Finnish students only take one standardized test during their entire primary and secondary schooling. This test is called the National Matriculation Examination. This test is taken at the end of high school and is graded by teachers, not computers. Although homeschooling is legal in Finland it is extremely rare. Finland has a population of 5.2 million people (2014 estimated). According to Finland Home Educators Association the number of homeschoolers stands at just over 300 students as of the end of 2014. It can be argued that most Finns are generally happy with public education and therefore do not see the need to home school their children.

SINGAPORE

Singapore is located in the continent of Asia. Singapore’s education system is among the most highly regarded in the world, but is also famously known as a pressure cooker. Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education which controls the development and administration of state schools in addition to their advisory and supervisory role of private schools. Most students in Singapore’s government schools take two major examinations yearly and have monthly test to track their progress. Singapore has a population of 5.3 million people (2012 census). The country formally legalized homeschooling through the codification of the Compulsory Education Act in 2000. According to the Ministry of Education since 2003 about 500 pupils have been homeschooled. Children born after January 1, 1996 are required to attend public school for six years starting at age 6: however, exemptions to this mandate are allowed and include homeschooling.

JAMAICA

Jamaica’s history of colonization by European countries helped to shape the homeschooling movement on the island. During the period of enslavement and plantocracy, parents of the white ruling class hired tutors to instruct and provide knowledge to their children. However, today, homeschooling is not confined to any particular social class or religious persuasion. With a population of approximately 2.8 million people, there are Muslims, Christian and Rastafarians parents who home school their children. Parents who provide home education for their children are from all socio-economic groups within the society. It can be said that some parents chose the route of home schooling as a form of resistance to the establishment. Such parents are critical and skeptical of any government intervention into their lives or the lives of the children and prefer to avoid any association with the State as much as possible.

The Independent Schools’ Unit, of the Ministry of Education, Youth & Information is the regulatory arm of the government which oversees and provides support to parents who chose to home school their children. The Independent Schools’ Unit (ISU) is headed by a Registrar and operates under the Independent Schools Regulations of 1973. The Education Act of 1980 states in Part 3 that “It shall be the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age residing in a compulsory education area to cause him to receive full-time education suitable to his age and ability, and satisfactory of the Educational Board for area, by regular attendance “or otherwise”. Under the “or otherwise” phrase in the law, families can legally home school in Jamaica. A growing number of Jamaican parents are opting to home school their children in an effort to better meet the ‘special’ needs of their children. Among the ‘special’ needs students often diagnosed are those with: Autism, Down Syndrome, Dyslexia, Blindness, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Giftedness, Cystic Fibrosis, Tourette Syndrome, Dysfunction of Sensory Integration. The label of ‘special’ needs is used to describe a clinical diagnosis and functional development to illustrate individuals who require assistance for disabilities that maybe medical, mental and or psychological. According to the regulations governing homeschooling in Jamaica, a home school shall have no more than six (6) children who are members of the household. Special permission must be granted from the Ministry of Education for the home to exceed the maximum six (6) children. In order for a parent to register his/her child with the Independent Schools Unit, of the Ministry of Education, Youth & Information as a homeschooler, the parent must submit the following documents: A completed application form, a completed National Student Registration System (NSRS) Form, certified copy of student Birth Certificate, certified copy of student Immunization Card, a copy of the student timetable, 2 letters of recommendation (either from a Justice of the Peace, Minister of Religion, Principal, Education Officer), a certified passport sized photograph of child, a certified copy of parent/tutor qualification who will teach the child and a certified copy of parent ID who is completing the Home Schooling Application Form. In keeping with the draft policy on homeschooling, attendance and evaluation records of students must be kept and such students must sit all national assessments and examinations relevant to their age cohort. Examples of national examinations are: the Grade Four Literacy (GFLT) and the Grade Four Numeracy Tests (GFNT) and the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). It is important to note that 2018 is the last year students will be sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). The Primary Exit Profile (PEP) will replace GSAT in 2019. The draft policy on homeschooling also allows for official home school inspections to ensure that standards are maintained. It can be argued that there are some parents who continue to express reservation about the inspection of their home. However, such an inspection is only confined to the area within the home which is used to provide instruction to the child. As a result parents should be rest assured that their entire home will be subjected to an inspection. This is critical since in some instances children are pulled from the public education system and are kept at home without benefitting from an education. The rights of the child are paramount at all times, and these rights include, the right to an education. In addition to the curricula provided by the Education Ministry, parents of homeschooled children have the option of using a curricular of their choice. Among the more popular curricula used by homeschooling parents are Abeka Book, Montessori, Waldorf, Bob Jones Complete and Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools. Once a parent is registered with the Ministry of Education that parent can request support through the Ministry’s textbook system by writing to the Media Services Unit, Caenwood Centre, Ministry of Education, 37 Arnold Road, Kingston 4. A copy of the request should also be done for the Registrar, Independent Schools Unit.

International Conventions and Treaties on the Rights of the Child

The right to an education is grounded in international conventions and treaties, namely the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, commonly referred to as the UNCRC. This UN Convention is legally binding and guarantees the right to an education to all children once the country in question ratifies the Treaty. Countries which ratify this Convention are bound to it by International Law. Jamaica ratified the UNCRC in 1991. Article 28 of the UNCRC (Right to Education) states all children have the right to a primary education, which should be free. Additionally, the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, Article 29 (Goals of Education) states that children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations in Paris on December 10, 1948, establishes fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Of particular interest is:

Article 26 (1) everyone has the right to education.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. While many home-school parents have expressed concerns regarding the privacy of their home regarding inspection we must be mindful that at all times the best interest of the child should be given paramount priority. The inspection of a home would clearly be limited to that area within the home where the teaching and learning of the student takes place. Educators are always concerned about the social development of students; this is given more importance in the instances of home education. Jean Piaget (1896-1980), psychologist, argues that the development of ‘self’-evolved through a negotiation between the world as it exists in one’s mind and the world that exists as it is experienced socially. It bears thought that the socialization of students is a critical component in developing self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as, acquiring the skills set necessary to interface and interact with people of all social backgrounds. It is highly recommended that parents who home school provide as much opportunities for their child/children to socialize with children of their age group. Regrettably, some parents are selfish and pull their children from public education because they cannot be bothered to live by the rules of the school. This is egotistical approach is never a good reason to home school. This aspect of the child’s development can be facilitated by allowing the child to go on educational trips with a school. Given the age of human trafficking and the rampant abuse of children, it is not far-fetched that abuse of children can and does take place under the guise of homeschooling. As a result the authorities must do all within their powers to ensure that no child is abused or is denied access to an education. A number of famous individuals have acquired their education through homeschooling, these include: Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Albert Einstein, Condoleeza Rice, Florence Nightingale, George Washington and Alexander Graham Bell

Protocol of Behaviour Concerning Home School Inspection

In a time of communicable and contagious diseases, such as, Measles, Chicken Pox, Hand Foot and Mouth Diseases it bears thought that some minimum set standards regarding home school inspection must be addressed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “communicable disease” means an illness caused by an infectious agent or its toxins that occurs through the direct or indirect transmission of the infectious agent or its products from an infected individual or via an animal, vector or the inanimate environment to a susceptible animal or human host. As a result, it is critical that personnel from the Education Ministry, who visit the homes of parents ensure that set guidelines are being adhered, take some basic precautions to make certain that they are not exposed to any disease. It is recommended that such authorities wash their hands regularly, as well as use a hand sanitizer with alcohol to prevent any possible transmission of viruses.

While is it clear that home schooling is legal in many jurisdictions and growing in numbers, it is evident that parents in those societies which are ranked at the top of the educational ladder namely Finland and Singapore prefer to send their children to public schools. In the words of Plato, “Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore, do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child’s natural bent”.

©2018

#privateeducation #homeschool #Jamaica #Finland #Singapore #education

 

#childrenrights #independentschools

Building Partnerships For A Healthier Society

“Health is not valued till sickness comes”-Thomas Fuller

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), US $6.5 trillion dollars is spent globally on health care. The WHO states that total expenditure per person per year stands at US $948. The issue of health care financing is of concern to all governments however, the problem is of more concern to poorer nations due to budgetary constraints. According to WHO, many countries need to use available funds more efficiently and raise more funds from domestic sources, but these measures would be insufficient to fill the current gap in the poorest countries. The WHO adds that only an increased and predictable flow of donor funding will allow poorer countries to meet basic health needs in the short to medium term. It is critical that we establish partnerships, whether public, private or government to government in order to tackle the issues associated with the health care sector. The proposed Chinese government support of US $46 million to build a 220 bed hospital is a prime example of donor funding regarding health care financing. Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton made this announcement in a wide ranging “Vision for Health Care” speech to delegates who attended the Jamaica55 Diaspora Conference. The minister said that the health care facility will be built on lands at the Cornwall Regional Hospital and that when completed the hospital will cater to children 13-18 years old. According to the Minister the Chinese government will provide some of the equipment to be used in the medical facility, but the government will have to source the remainder. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed between the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Ministry of Health. UNOPS, the operational arm of the United Nations, will be required to review technical documents, preliminary designs/drawings and medical equipment for the proposed Western Regional Children’s Hospital. UNOPS will also evaluate and establish the required actions to strengthen the infrastructure for Spanish Town, May Pen, St. Ann’s Bay Regional and Mandeville Hospitals as well as assess the feasibility for the reorganization of the Kingston Public Hospital.

Reform Agenda for Public Health Care

The Ministry of Health has embarked on a Reform Agenda for Public Health to improve health care for Jamaicans. The Minister of Health stated that this health reform agenda will include: A 10 year strategic plan which is being supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The Minister announced that an assessment of the four regional health authorities will be conducted by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). He also mentioned that a National Health Insurance Scheme is to be implemented during the next financial year on a phased basis.

Partnership with the Diaspora

The Minister lamented the continued shortage of specialist nurses in the public health care system. Dr. Tufton made an appeal to members of the diaspora with the expertise, especially in nephrology and oncology. Minister Tufton in his speech informed the delegates at the conference that the government was seeking to forge a partnership with jurisdictions outside of Jamaica to give Jamaican nurses clinical experience. The minister stated that given the limitation of hospital space, nurses trained locally would be able to go to the United Kingdom and Cuba to complete that aspect of their training. The Minister went on to add that there are currently eight categories of specialist nurses which are understaffed in the public health care sector.

Dr. Tufton in his overview of Jamaica’s health care system referred to five areas regarding the Vision for Health Care. These are:

A healthy and balanced diet and physical activity, regular screening and check- ups, primary and secondary care infrastructure, health financing and health personnel. Minister Tufton told the delegates attending the Jamaica Conference Centre housed Jamaica55 Diaspora forum that the Jamaican government was seeking to create a Centre of Excellence at the St. Joseph’s Hospital to offer specialized care in Oncology and Nephrology. Dr. Tufton stated that some 150, 000 Jamaicans require some form of dialysis and that there was a waiting list for this service in the public health care system.

It bares thought that in order to achieve sustainable development a society must have a healthy workforce in which access to affordable medical care is within reach of the most vulnerable in the society. A holistic health care policy must take into consideration the United Nations, Sustainable Developments Goals (SDG’s). Goal #3 speaks to ensuring healthy lives and the promotion of well-being for all at all ages which is essential to sustainable growth. In order for Jamaica to realize fully this goal there must be an unhindered path to primary health care facilities such as a hospital in keeping with the SDG’s.

Minister Tufton continues to urge the Jamaican Diaspora community to get involved in the Ministry of Health’s Adopt A Clinic programme. According to Minister Tufton, there are 100 clinics waiting to be adopted, of this number, thirty (30) proposals have already expressed an interest in adopting a clinic.

Since this announcement the Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) has come on board and has adopted 15 clinics. The Minister ended his presentation by reminding the delegates that all donations to the health sector should be done through the “Health for Life and Wellness Foundation”, an affiliate of the Ministry of Health. In the words of Hippocrates, “healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

waykam@yahoo.com

@WayneCamo

 

#JaMoves #StayActive #Healthcare #SDG’s #Jamaica