Saturday, April 13, 2024

GUEST COLUMN – Of stables and horses 2


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Here is the conclusion of the article Of Horses  And Stables from yesterday’s Daily nation.Stable # 3. We are witnessing in these times what was stated in the Bible many years ago regarding children having children, as well as little regard for authority. There have been issues relating to deportment, behaviour, punctuality, homework and more recently the use of cellphones, iPods, and the like. In many cases, schools are getting very little support from parents in these areas. In fact, schools have seen unbelievable resistance from some parents in dealing with these matters, and it has not helped that they (the parents) are able to run to the Ministry of Education or certain representatives of that institution and get the kind of results that reverse, undermine and ridicule all of the efforts made at the schools to manage them efficiently, as is desired. This horse is one which has been rampant for years, and has put some major kicks into the administration of schools in this island. Principals’ and deputies’ hands have been injured and tied, and if this horse is not found and put back in its stable soon, then the children of this country will be in control of the schools. Full zoning may assist in this area, thus bringing back the input of the community and its relationships with the management of the school. Oops! I shouldn’t even go there! Stable #4. When will the appropriate powers deal with legislation regarding the Education Act and what needs to be done to get this horse back inside before there is more carnage. Are you wondering what I am talking about?  I mean the influx and outright manifestation of gambling, loan sharking, extortion, bullying, assault of children and teachers, damage to teachers’ property and herb smoking. Would you believe that there is very little the school’s administration and the police can do? It has become very clear that the laws in the Education Act have neither kept up with the disastrous decline in morals and values, nor the subsequent increase in criminal activities of the society that have infiltrated the school system. This horse has been out, has copulated with another, and has several little ones running around. We need more stables for these. The issue here is that even when students are identified by teachers for gambling, the offence is repeated time and again, and said students are allowed to be on the compound. Violent fights break out as a result of gambling matters. Teachers are assaulted verbally and physically, and when investigated, teachers end up in the wrong. Can you understand why teachers might give up? But we can’t! We need a more updated approach to deal with the upsurge of these kinds of activity. Bring in the metal detectors! Increase the powers of search! Bring in the police and stop trying to “shade” the name of the school. Let the nonsense be known to all and sundry, so that the appropriate steps can be taken to bring the horses back inside before they kick down and kill more people or before schools become “pools” of blood. Yes, it is that serious!Stable #5.  Even though we say adults are really at fault (which is quite true), each child is an individual who has the power of choice. This notion has disappeared just like the horse from this stable, which was well groomed in its early years, but which also decided to adopt the pattern of other horses to “follow the multitude”. Unprotected sex, filthy language, rudeness, truancy and many other undesirable elements are now the norm for children in our society. It is expected that guidance counsellors will deal with these things. Well really? Can you imagine one such person having to deal with over 800 children daily?  Duhh!! Impossible task. So you and I know that we need more guidance counsellors in our schools. Some of our younger teachers also condone and accept some of these poor elements or just let them “slide”. We need the entire staff cooperating, or it’s a losing battle.Stable #6. The media have an important role to play in education in this country. The issue of sensationalism has overpowered the need to present more positive perceptions of what is happening in this country, especially as it relates to young people. This horse had a piece of rope attached to it and it has become stuck next to a tree. Unfortunately, not the tree of knowledge of correct English grammar. How can we expect good results in English language when there is a proliferation of incorrect grammar in the print media (no editing?), on the radio stations (any requirements for announcers?) and even on TV (who prepares/vets advertisements for airing?)? Check these: “The condition of the passengers are unknown”, “the president and members of the committee invites you”; or signs like Damage Bridge and Fry Fish. Now tell me how there will be improvement when our children see and hear these things as the norm? Can this horse be recaptured? I hope so.Stable #7. Another horse which has gone unnoticed and unmentioned is that regarding the teachers themselves. Instances of poor dress codes, disobedience to those in authority, unpunctuality, not doing registration in an orderly fashion, late attendance at classes and poor preparation for classes are among issues posing problems in the schools. And guess what? No paper trails are kept on the files of the delinquent persons, and if a memo is sent to someone, it may very well end up on the notice board of the staff room. Will the so-called teacher evaluation bring back in this horse? No! Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to get rid of any teacher who is often intoxicated, does not know which student he allowed to leave the class and then quarrels when the same student returns, or even those who submit marks for students who left school the year before. Believe it or not, these things are real. Can we have more accountability in these areas or will this horse continue to dance and prance much to the disgust of the administration at the school? Don’t keep your toes crossed on this one. Thanks to both my acting deputy and principal for their valiant efforts over the last two terms (with plenty rope around their wrists). Even they don’t know what is to happen in September regarding their status. See what I mean! The Garrison Savannah must be busy at night with all these horses out of their stables, gathering together and shouting “neigh” to any intention to get them bolted back inside in the near future. Enjoy Crop-Over. Over and out (for now).


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