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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.
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