Speaking recently at a function Honouring GSAT Awardees of North Central St. Catherine, Chairman of the Board of Calabar High School, the Rev. Karl B. Johnson, expressed his congratulations to the students on this phase of their journey, and saluted the homes, schools and educators that made the day possible.
In commending them on their achievements, Johnson noted that, “In a society still afflicted with social and class diseases, you have shown that, with much less financial and socio-economic resources than many others, you have overcome!”
He also challenged the audience to speak up about the inequality and inequity in the Education system, saying, “We cannot blind our eyes to the fact that, in many ways, what we are celebrating are not only exceptional performances but we are celebrating children whose performances are the exception!... Until universal access is linked with universal quality I implore us as a country to continue striving for true equity in education!”
He went on to say, further, “Until we ensure that education for all really means quality education for all no matter where you are from, then the struggle continues!” Elaborating on this problem that might be described by some as educational elitism, he chided teachers and parents who have, “wittingly or unwittingly contributed to constructing certain stereotypes as it relates to the schools in which our children or students are placed.” He decried the inordinate pressure often brought to bear on children and students, plunging them “into depression, bordering on becoming suicidal, because they were not placed in certain schools!”
He ended by encouraging the young awardees to “bloom where they are planted” and implored us as a society to “move beyond the knee-jerk response of finding a problem for every solution and pool our significant intellectual, financial, and organizational resources to implement the multi-faceted and multi-layered transformational initiatives that will benefit all our children and redound to Jamaica’s upliftment.”
Photo Credit: Annmarie Danvers