THE EDITOR: Within recent times there has been a lot of discussion on education, moreso highlighting the African child. Most noted was a two-part article in the Newsday of February 5 and 6, which also appeared in the Express. This was endorsed by 23 prominent citizens.
The article stated that children have the democratic right to quality education at primary and secondary levels – and that I too endorse. However, to suggest, as it did, that there is some level of denying the African child only that right is a serious indictment on our nation.
The supporters in this case do not seem to realise that by that inaccuracy they may have done the African child a serious disservice by advocating that he/she has legitimate reasons to underperform.
The greatest damage we can do to our children is psychological and I do wonder if the author and endorsers considered this.
To state that the denominational schools have nearly no students of African descent is to not be aware of the Catholic, Anglican, Baptist and Methodist churches. These form many more than the Hindu, Presbyterian, Muslim and Vedic schools that have minority African congregations.
By contrast, MP Fitzgerald Hinds, in an Express interview (February 2), advised black youth: “Don’t lag behind.” This is great wisdom applicable to all children. The minister deserves the highest commendation for challenging our youth to performance, as opposed to excuses.
This is not to say there is no need to keep on assessing our children’s performance and taking remedial action.
We are heavily investing in education and deserve returns.
We need to seek accountability and assessment in our schools with interventions as may be necessary. Regular audits, proper supervision, school-based management, promotion practices, among others, are to be addressed urgently.
Only then will no child be left behind.