Jamaica’s education crisis-May 10, 2021

Reverend Ronald Thwaites is a former education minister and his take on where the parlous state of Jamaican education is strikes many of the right chords in a badly tuned song. Education has failed Jamaica for most of its independence and that failure is shown throughout all aspects of a society that is highly under-education, highly unproductive, poorly paid but largely paid near its real ‘worth’.

The year and more of sporadic education for most children isn’t going to be recovered quickly and looks likely to be a permanent loss.

Jamaica’s education system has many things wrong with it, from its vision, through its methods, through the nature of inputs (children from too many homes where parents cannot help prepare and support them in education, including ensuring they are well-fed and well-rested; teachers too focused on matters other than best teaching practices).

I have no magic wand, and I am not a good example of how children can succeed in a highly dysfunctional system. But, all the talk about the importance of our human capital is hot air when one sees what passes for school life for many Jamaican children. The output is often not ‘fit for purpose’ at more than some basic levels–only 40% graduate high school with any qualification. You can’t make a progressive society and economy with such bad material.

Author: Dennis G Jones (aka 'The Grasshopper')

Retired International Monetary Fund economist. My blog is for organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, but spent 30 years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for two decades, and worked and travelled abroad, extensively, throughout my careers and for pleasure. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of 3 girls. Also, married to an economist. :)

One thought on “Jamaica’s education crisis-May 10, 2021”

  1. I don’t know what things are like now, but if they are still much the same money for uniforms, shoes and books were problems for some families and in others children might be kept home to look after younger siblings. Then there was the ‘streaming out’ following the big exams, into particular kinds of schools. And the emphasis on preparing for those exams, rote learning – so much that worked against so many children. I was lucky enough to come from circumstances that allowed me to make the best of the education system then, but my parents made sure we knew how lucky we were!

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