iLocal News Archives

The Editor Speaks: Education

In iNews Cayman today we have published a story where the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA), Lynsley Doodhai, has said “Asking teachers to mark School Based Assessment (SBA) projects and not pay them is modern day slavery.”

Speaking at the 78th Tobago Teachers’ Get-Together held at the Tobago Nutrition and Cooperative Society Building in Canaan on Friday, Doodhai said teachers were under no obligation to mark the SBAs which was the responsibility of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), an external agency.

Last April, thousands of teachers in two U.S. States, Oklahoma and Kentucky went on strike to demand higher pay and increased education funding.

Earlier in February, West Virginia saw demonstrations followed protests and strikes when teachers statewide walked off their jobs for more than a week demanding a 5 percent increase in pay.

Again in the US, last month it was the turn of teachers in Kentucky who demonstrated in their thousands to protest last-minute changes to their retirement system.

Whilst we haven’t seen this happen here in the Cayman Islands there is widespread criticism of the teaching system, especially in the Government run schools, where many parents have blamed the lack of funds allocated in the budget for education needs. And that includes teachers’ pay. Better pay would attract better teachers is one of the messages.

A recent study executed by Global Citizen listed ten barriers to education and their number one finding was “A lack of funding for education”.

The study says: “While the Global Partnership for Education is helping many developing countries to increase their own domestic financing for education, global donor support for education is decreasing at an alarming rate. The amount of total aid that’s allocated to education has decreased in each of the past six years, and education aid is 4% lower than it was in 2009. This is creating a global funding crisis that is having serious consequences on countries’ ability to get children into school and learning. Money isn’t everything, but it is a key foundation for a successful education system.”

Their number two was “Having no teacher, or having an untrained teacher”.

“What’s the number one thing any child needs to be able to learn? A teacher, of course.
We’re facing multiple challenges when it comes to teachers. Not only are there not enough teachers globally to achieve universal primary education (let alone secondary), but many of the teachers that are currently working are also untrained, leading to children failing to learn the basics, such as maths and language skills. Globally, the UN estimates that 69 million new teachers are required to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030. Meanwhile, in one out of three countries, less than three-quarters of teachers are trained to national standards.”

Although I used USA as an example it is exactly the same situation in the UK.

A recent headline in the UK’s Guardian said, “Headteachers warn parents: there is not enough money to fund schools” The articles goes on to say: “Letter from 4,000 heads across England says funding is still a postcode lottery and a new funding formula will do little to ease the crisis”.

The GoAbroad Foundation gave 10 Reasons Why Education Matters

1. Education is powerful.
When children attend school their brains grow, their minds expand, and their eyes are opened. Education has the power to change the world, if we let it, by allowing every child to have access to learning.

2. Education is the first step to cross-cultural understanding.
Geography, history, social studies, these are all standard topics taught in schools across the world. The more we understand the world, the more information we have at our fingertips, the greater our opportunities to see what life is like for “the other”.

3. Education builds confidence.
When children learn to read and write, they become confident in their ability to succeed. Each question they answer correctly, solidifies their abilities and their confidence in themselves.

4. Education combats poverty.
With education comes opportunity, most importantly job opportunities. Higher education prepares children for a wider range of jobs and occupations, giving them the ability to change the cycle of poverty for their families.

5. Education promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Children are introduced to nutritional concepts at school, they are encouraged to be active, and they begin to understand the importance of wellness.

6. Education fosters decision making skills and critical thinking.
Children who attend school are taught about values, morals, and ways to solve problems. With the ability to make important decisions and consider all possibilities, children will no doubt be more successful in their personal and professional lives.

7. Education contributes to the development of interpersonal skills.
School is the first structured opportunity children have to bond with other children their own age, with rules and guidelines of how to properly act around and treat one another.

8. Education develops professional skills.
The more you learn, the more you earn. As we learn, we begin to innovate, initiate, and consider all the professional opportunities that lie before us.

9. Education builds character.
Attending school helps us learn who we are, what we believe in, and what role we play in the world. This sense of self is essential to personal growth.

10. Education can change our future.
Going to school does not only effect the future of children, it effects the future of their families, their friends, and their communities. As more children are educated, the world becomes a brighter place.

And there is one of the answers as to why more money is not spent by governments on education.

There is no mention education increases the coffers of a country or its cities.

In fact it is intentional not to educate children in areas where there is poverty. I said ‘areas’ intentionally and not just poor countries. Education is power and with it comes control. There are less difficult questions to answer from the less educated. And even in the US the poorer areas of the cities there receive less funding on education.



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