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Has society altered the value of education?

by Julie-May Larmond
(University Of Technology, Jamaica)

The term education is seen as the means by which one learns and applies new knowledge or information. It is seen as a tool for using knowledge to improve oneself and in turn society.

Many may also view education as a means of increasing social status within society. The purpose of education should be to develop an individual’s full potential to result in being able to sustain one’s self.

With that said, education does not stand alone, as there is a direct relationship to society. Therefore, factors affecting society will have an effect on education and vice versa. Consequently, as with any entity, there are factors which prevent the entity from achieving its full potential.

Jamaica's educational system is shaped by society and cannot exist without it. Society is what drives and builds education. Therefore, if there is a shift in societal norms and values there will be a reflection in the educational systems.

Unfortunately, higher education is no longer seen as attractive as persons who have gone through the system are not able to sustain themselves and their families from an unattractive salary.

On the other end, there are persons without higher education or even formal education, who can afford to sustain themselves and their families without formal employment in some cases.

This leads our youths to think that education is not necessary or important for a sustained lifestyle as this can be achieved otherwise. How do we change this?

It all comes back to society. Society includes the home, school and community. If we should revisit the value system in our homes and make this impact our schools and community at large. Change can be difficult in a world that sees the lifestyle of First World countries to be ideal. Until we can start to embrace instead of to resist or culture and who we are, then and only then can the change process begin.

Editor's Note
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Aug 29, 2018
by: Anonymous

having an interest in assisting an orphan through the school years from 4yrs old to now aged 13 it has been apparent to me that the state has done a lot to improve the educational system over the last 10 yrs or so.

Having decided to start at base and work upwards ( the right way to go) I now have several degrees of sympathy that there are now a increasing number of well educated youngsters having a problem finding appropriate employment.

It is noticeable that Ja. govt is working hard to attract business interests to the country and wish them all the best in their endeavours to achieve a successful outcome in keeping these, now, forward looking potentially high achievers in Jamaica to contribute to an ongoing long term growing economy.

Aug 29, 2018
The change in attitude to Education
by: Anonymous

Jamaica like most countries are now educating more people and at a faster rate than the market is producing jobs.

Jamaicans overrate the financial return on an education. A person with an Art History PhD in the USA earns very little if they ever get a job. Someone with a PhD in Church Architecture seldom gets a job.

In the past, Jamaicans chose educations that would get them jobs. Their parents and extended family had invested and was awaiting the returns. Now they do what was common in wealthier societies and study the strangest things...and then expects jobs and untold wealth in record time.

In the past, when we left university we fully expect to take a bus to work and elsewhere in our lives. This is still true for Europe. A young Jamaica doctor expects to be rewarded for the energy exerted in his studies, which had been largely paid for by the government,...not his production on the job. They feel disenfranchised at the sight of a bus. Sending a clear message to a large portion of our population that to ride a bus is in some way demeaning...below their dignity.

The Jamaica private sector is slow at creating jobs and the "young Jamaica entrepreneur" often create frivolous businesses. Party planning seems to be at the top of their agenda. It creates nothing...much.

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