Let’s face it, the colonial education system handed down to us by the British was not what it’s supposed to be. It is equal in that it is essentially geared towards the preservation of the status-quo in a society that is dominated by the rich and powerful and where exploitation of the masses is the ultimate objective. It is an anti-democratic and an unfair education system that goes against the principles of social justice, equity, fairness and one’s dignity.
Guyana needs an education system that is based on the socio-economic differentials and equality, and not the current configuration of schooling that does exactly the opposite. Our present school system perpetuates the status quo and is essentially geared towards an elitist education system in which the children of the rich and powerful gain access to the best schools rather than on the development of good decent human beings to become critical and innovative thinkers.
The current education system should be reformed to focus on the development of human capacity to transform society and not to promote the dominance of the elites. It should be geared to produce graduates of the ilk of analytical and critical thinkers who can assume the role as social change agents.
Such a development will obviously ensure that the country’s resources are distributed equitably among its people and that all are treated equally in society. This will end the inequality that had existed for years.
Inequity should not be a hindrance to access quality educational and all children irrespective of their socio-economic background or status should be given a real chance at success by having a good education.
Unfortunately, the elites who support the current education system have not only ensured that the class differential and the status-quo remain intact, but they have convinced the masses and the oppressed that the current state of resource disequilibrium is in their best interest. This is the elitist education system that was bequeathed to Guyana by the British. It is the slavish adherence and retention of colonialism.
The facade of politics has unfortunately become a chief protagonist in this calculated game of power, control and elitist education. Despite their under privileged status, the masses must strive to dismantle the entrenched power imbalances and reform the unfair and inequitable educational system that continues to deprive them of a good education.
An equitable education system not only ensures that all, regardless of race or status are given the means to blossom to their full potential, prepare youths to meaningfully engage in the democratic process and have an equal claim to the fruits of economic activity.
Equity demands that there must be improved opportunities for those with the least. Because of their lack of capital, the socially disadvantaged must be given some priority owing to their limited financial capability towards the achievement of a proper education.
It is well known that in both the primary and secondary levels of schooling in the country, the rich and powerful have over the years seen the need to cement their superior positions in the social hierarchy. The reason being they have the extra resources to pay for private lessons for their children.
It is very difficult for the disadvantaged child to enhance his/her competitive status, given his social and economic shortfalls. In any fair and just society, democratic principles dictate that the State should recognize its duty and responsibility to step in and remove those impediments to educational opportunities to the poor.
All students have the potential to positively transform the society.
The socially challenged students must be given the opportunity to reach their potential. Failure to do this will lead to the marginalization of people who will lash out at society because they are hopeless and see no value in the pursuit of education.
For them equality, will never be achieved and alternative pathways such as crime for social validation will become the option of pursuit. Inequity has always prevented equal opportunity from producing equal results. Reform of the education system is urgently needed.
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