Is there any doubt that the critical pre-Independence education issue prevails—inequity. Is there universal access to quality education, or is it access to school seats after the SEA competition? All children have an innate ability to learn, though not in the same way, pace, and style. For many of them, the eyes of justice are wide shut to the distribution of inequity. And when the waves of gang shootings and murders crest, race and skin colour seem to trigger much dialogue about social justice and equity.
But why should the skin colour of one group ring alarm bells? Is skin colour the cause of people’s criminality, or is it their socialisation in killing fields of their homes, communities, and schools—their middle passages. Some people indeed become devils regardless of upbringing. But what is the colour of white-collar criminals, bribers, fraudsters and embezzlers, rip-off merchants, tax evaders, money launderers, stock market manipulators, domestic abusers and women killers, drunken killers, paedophiles, human traffickers, and drug pushers? And addiction to mind-bending drugs and alcohol is across all socio-economic communities. The guns too are all over, but the police don’t raid private places as a matter of routine. The priority is "hot spots."
The indifference to the skin colour of criminals except for one ethnic group is embedded in history and culture. It may be true that that group populates most criminal gangs here, and gangs are reportedly responsible for most homicides—primarily of their members, many of whom are children.
These children are groomed within the bosoms of their communities. Their gangster parents rule in the corridors of crime. They are born into a normal life of drugs, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse—that’s their norm.
The schools—many are government-run "blackboard jungles," and some are noted for poor management, indiscipline, where no beauty surrounds and teachers are afraid to go. And we’re told the SEA is here to stay—the cookie-cutter system that frustrates diverse learning needs, demotivates and condemn thousands of children to drown in that rough SEA of stress and depression added to the consequences of broken homes or no homes, bullying and peer pressure. Some drop out and become frontline soldiers in the underworld. They know the grave waits.
Most of our children are capable, have unheralded courage and high tolerance to stress. They beat the disadvantageous system and survive all the injustices thrown at them. They high-jump historical and present-day psychological barriers that inculcated myths of inferiority, perpetuated by religion, history and too, the current education system.
It’s time to emancipate our children—all of them regardless of race, religion, special needs, and economic circumstances from the failing government school system. What about parenting education, sex education, and family planning? Often, the parents of "at-risk" children came from the same vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty and abuse.
The vast majority of our children are not criminals. Wouldn’t it be more productive to respond holistically to the education, physiological and psychological needs of all children, all of whom are vulnerable to societal ills, recognising that some are more at risk than others? What purpose is served by continuously linking delinquency, crime, and everything negative with the race of one group of citizens?
What is the impact on the minds of all children of African descent? To what extent that further marginalises them and reinforces racist stereotyping? Is it only one group affected by the socio-economic and disadvantageous education system?
Is the Concordat with the denominational schools a problem, or, an excuse for the incompetent stewardship of many government-run schools? Where are the school boards? Why was the continuous assessment system stopped? What is the ratio of teacher training expenditure to the bureaucratic administrative cost in the Ministry of Education (MOE)? Is there adequate diffusion of authority from the MOE to school managers? Why not manage government schools like the denominational and private ones instead of using the Concordat as an excuse? If the Concordat ended tomorrow and the faith-based schools reverted to private fee-paying schools, for which there’s a ready market, what difference would it make to the thousands of children condemned to the questionable public school model?