Friday, 31 October 2014

1 Peter 4:12-14 King James Version

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Poem-Reflection

 Reflection

Reflecting on a life that could have been.
Alone, sitting on the sofa, hands on the remote with crossed legs,
Sipping away at some June Plum juice with ginger.
My taste buds are alive
The silence is deafening however,
Still I hear
Voices of my past
Voices of the present
I hear footsteps outside my window
Walking briskly, going about their business.

© 2014 Wayne Campbell

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Words To Think On

Before you use an untruth to assassinate someone's character be mindful that your lack of character and integrity will be exposed by the truth. The truth is always self liberating.-Wayne Campbell

Friday, 24 October 2014

Nelson Mandela Speaks

"Freedom is meaningless if people cannot put food in their stomach"-Nelson Mandela

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Inspirational and Powerful Words

2 Timothy 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Save Our Schools From The Leadership Crisis

“I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one's self-respect.”- Mahatma Gandhi
Have you ever wondered for a moment or perhaps two, the reasons why the Jamaican public has lost respect for the nations teachers?  I have and have concluded that there are two broad based explanations for the rapid decline in respect for the nation’s teachers.
Too many of our teachers have lost respect for themselves. This lack of self respect among teachers has led many of them to enter into inappropriate sexual relations with students. The profession of teaching has been brought into a state of disrepute by these individuals. This fact was highlighted by a news report of May 8, 2014 with the caption “Pervert Teachers”. According to the Children’s Advocate some teachers are exhibiting predatory sexual behavior towards children in schools. Disturbingly, the Children Advocate added that other members of staff including the school leadership are choosing to cover up these cases of child abuse to protect the name of their school.
This is such a sad and distressing commentary about the teaching profession and clearly the time has come for all stakeholders in the education system to work together to weed out those teachers who exhibit such predatory sexual traits.
Jamaica is oftentimes said to be a God fearing country. Disturbingly, teachers displaying predator behaviours are allowed to continue working in the education system because there is a culture of silence among their colleague. This is why the licensing and registration of teachers is so critical to safeguard the interests of all the stakeholders in the education system.
Where are the decent and God fearing teachers who by their continued silence to speak out against these abuses inevitably give their consent to these perpetrators of sexual offences to continue. Who will stand up and be counted and speak out? Who among you will break the cycle of silence on such a sensitive and important matter is worth the life of child.  What if the student being molested was your child?
My second explanation regarding the lack of respect for our teachers has its genesis in other actions for school leadership. This plays out in the scandalous and arbitrary manner in which some principals hand pick vice principals. Gone are the days when consultation and discussion were the order of the day and viewed as best practices for such appointments. One can argue we now live in a modern time and it’s all about situational ethics. This dictatorial practice is clearly a breach of trust and an abuse of power by those principals who pursue such policies. Of course not all principals are guilty of this; some are professionals and refrain from the temptation from so doing and engage in meaning consultation with their staff.  
It bears thought, though what is the minimum requirement for one to become a vice principal. We already know the obvious one, that being the principal’s friend or being highly favoured by the principal.  Does the Ministry of Education has a policy guideline regarding the appointment of vice principals? If not, why not?
What do you do as a vice principal when you know within yourself you are unworthy of such a promotion? Did someone say nothing? What do you do as a vice principal when your neither staff nor students have any respect for you as a person? It’s a sad day in Jamaica when we have school leaders who do not have the moral and or the professional authority to speak to their staff members. Where this occurs such schools are doomed to failure.
What is the role of the other stakeholders in this discourse?
Is there a role for school boards in the promotion/appointment of vice principals? The appointment of vice principal is usually done after the School Board recommends the individual. However, many of our school boards are not functioning and only serve as a rubber stamp for the whims and fancy of principals.
As a society we continue to play a game of Russian roulette with the education of the next generation of Jamaicans by celebrating and rewarding unprofessionalism. The time has come for us move away from this sub standard behavior and move towards creating a cadre of professionals within the education system capable of inspiring and motivating our students.
Should the education ministry in collaboration with the Jamaica Teaching Council begin to conduct background and personality disorder checks on those who are in middle managers or who aspire to be in our schools?
No wonder almost seventy percent of all schools in the public education system are deemed as unsatisfactory. Unless we change our modus operandi we will continue to have the situation where a few schools are seen as schools of choice and the majority of schools are viewed as places of last resort.
The need for transformational leadership is woefully lacking in a significant number of our schools. We have allowed the politics associated with education to rob our students of an education. It appears that politics and the politics of education have joined in an unholy alliance to prevent the masses from receiving a quality education.  
In an era where authoritarian power is being questioned in all spheres of leadership the emerging research is showing that humility is more effective and powerful in terms of leadership. According to a study from the University Of Washington Foster School Of Business, humble people tend to make the most effective leaders and are more likely to be high performers. There is a tendency to associate humility with weakness, however, the opposite is true, it is a strong and forward thinking leader who displays this leadership trait.
The saying kisses goes by favour is so profound in this regard since a significant number of those in leadership whether in the boardroom or the school setting did not get there because they are more intelligent or did better on the interview.
 As a result, there is no need to begrudge anyone who has had to prostitute him/herself in order to get a promotion.  Many have had to scheme and gossip in order to be promoted. As the psalmist David says in Psalm 75 verse 6 such inward schemes cannot gain for them advancement unless based upon the fear and love of God.
The wider society will continue to show disrespect for the nation’s teachers if these sorts of “poppy show” and outrageous promotions are allowed to stand. Have you ever wondered why some schools are perpetually in the failing schools list category? We need to move away and reject mediocrity. The time has come for the education system to rebrand itself and reward hard work and professionalism and stamp out corruption and favourtism.  
A positive school culture is what is missing in most of our schools. This squarely rests with the administration of the schools. In order to improve staff well being respect is vital. Respect creates a positive school environment which will invariably have benefits for the teaching and learning process. Respect contributes to a context of safety and openness. Respect appears to be a fleeting ideal within most of our schools. Those in authorities at times feel that they can talk to their teachers in any manner forgetting that respect begets respect. This lack of respect from school leadership fosters a culture of cliques in all schools. In many Jamaican schools the existence of cliques runs counter to having a positive school culture. In fact the continuation of cliques in our schools is an admission that some teachers are excluded from certain activities and this contributes to a poor school climate.
The lack of effective communication within our schools is one contributing factor why so many of our schools are failing. If the school leadership creates the right working environment so that teachers feel a sense of belonging we will have less conflicts and have a much better working environment.
Karen Dyer of the Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina puts it best. ”teachers will move from mere compliance to commitment” if the right working atmosphere is created. The ball is in the principal’s court.      
A culture of school success cannot be achieved if the school leadership pursues a culture of exclusivity. There is no place for arrogance and vindictiveness as a manager in the 21st century. A school leader who is forward thinking and transformational will put in place measures to foster a positive school climate in which respect is paramount. We need to remember that education is about preparing our students for the future and not about our past. Those who are called to lead must be held accountable.    
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X
Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com
www.wayaine.blogspot.com

Monday, 13 October 2014

Jamaica,s Situational Crisis 2014 and 2044

In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.- Immanual Kant
I invite you to join me on this journey and fast forward to 2044. There is a sense of mistrust between those who govern and those who are governed. To say all is not well within the Jamaican society would be an understatement. Yes, it’s rather a daunting picture. However, thirty (30) years is not too far away. The positive news is that we still have time to change the ending of this narrative.
The recent Bill Johnson polls show that the majority of Jamaicans believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Among the issues facing the country in 2044 are a leadership crisis, a balance of payment deficit, a high youth unemployment rate, a high inflation rate, a spiraling of boys’ underachievement in our schools, uncomfortable levels of crime and domestic violence. Its 2044 and Jamaica is now a Republic having replaced the Queen as head of state. Yes, the Queen is no longer on the throne. Mandarin is compulsory in all secondary schools,
To add insult to injury all our CARICOM neighbours now require visas for Jamaican nationals.  The population of Jamaica has nearly doubled reaching almost 6 million.  Jamaicans living in the Diaspora are now able to vote in general elections and Cuba is no longer a dictatorship. Africa is now the global economic engine of growth. Chikungunya and Ebola viruses no longer exit.
Those leaders holding onto to political power would have died in office or forced to retire making way for a new generation of leaders.  However, don’t get too excited the political culture remains the same. Age is just a number not a measurement of maturity.
I apologize for bursting your bubble. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have merged and is still in the business of improvising countries.
The state of unwellness has its origin in the leadership crisis we now face in 2014. As the leadership crisis worsens in Jamaica we are seeing an increase in the application of situational ethics by leaders of all spheres in the society. Our leaders continue to exercise poor judgment in the decisions they make and the population is finally waking up and demanding more accountability. 
Situational ethics is a condition which promotes the idea that when dealing with a crisis, the end justifies the means and that a rigid interpretation of rules and laws can be set aside if the greater good or lesser evil is served by doing so.  
As our leaders compromise more and more on various issues of national importance the country and all the related institutions slip further and further in moral decay.  The decline of morality in the Jamaican society is cause for much concern. While the moral decay of the Jamaican society could be considered more skewed than other prophecy-related topics such as natural disasters and economics it is clear that anyone with a reasonably discerning spirit can see that moral decay is happening now at an alarming and noticeable rate.
There are many reasons for the decline of morality in Jamaica. However, two explanations are paramount.  These are the changing socioeconomic conditions and the rise of technology.
As the Jamaican economy contracts and more and more Jamaicans feel the economic pinch from the fiscal policies being pursued by the government an increasing percentage of Jamaicans are more willing to engage in immoral and illegal activities just to survive. Additionally, there is a widespread view in the Jamaican society that the majority of our public elected officials are corrupt.  This perception seemingly is shared by Transparency International which continue to rate Jamaica as one of the most corrupt countries worldwide.
The fast changing pace of the available technology today is rather frightening.  Laptops and computers now operate using very fast processors. The use of the computer for example is varied and user friendly. The computer is used to answer telephones, do mathematical computations, check bank accounts, and retrieve customer’s bill information as well as book airline tickets.  Robots are being used in assist in some types of surgeries.
On the negative side today’s technology can be used to scam unsuspecting people of their lifelong savings.  Additionally, the technology can also be used to steal people’s identity. Identity theft is a growing problem worldwide. Human beings with the aid of the ever changing technology have teamed up to commit crimes against their fellow human beings at a faster pace and with little effort. This has resulted in the further erosion of morals in the Jamaican society. The proliferation of cellular technology as well as the widespread use of cell phones has led to more and more crimes taking place all across the society. 
With the use of Google Earth technology we are able to view in real time, images of people’s place of dwelling.  Who knows what else Google Earth has planned for us mere earthlings?
The main foundation of governance should be one of equalizing the gap between the haves and have nots. However, instead of bridging the social class divide we see a further widening between the rich and poor. The rich have become richer and working poor have become poor.
Clearly, the working class is being called upon the bare the brunt of the sacrifices being made in the society. They have no choice since their taxes are deducted at source. Those who continue to avoid paying taxes continue to do so since the sanctions in place do not serve as a deterrent.
Our political leaders continue to pussyfoot with the necessary tax reform needed in the society and by extension with the future of the Jamaican society.
The concepts of situational crisis as well as a decline in morality are diametrically opposed to achieving sustainable development. Where are the women and men of good report? Too many of our current leaders from both political parties have failed us. We should revise the Constitution to ensure that Ethics be taught and pass by all political leaders before they are appointed.
Let us not squander the sacrifices and the gains made thus far. The time for strong leadership is now, who will step up to the plate.
“I have nothing but contempt for the kind of governor who is afraid, for whatever reason, to follow the course that he knows is best for the State.”- Sophocles
Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.
waykam@yahoo.com

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Disturbing Trend At Jamaica,s Borders

The admission by a Deputy Superintendent of Police that the police are not equipped to handle coast smugglers is much very frightening and should be cause for grave concern for all Jamaicans. In recent times a disturbing trend has developed where a number of nationals from Central America, namely Costa Rica and Nicaragua, have entered Jamaica illegally.
Alarmingly, a lack of a paper trail has rendered the authorities helpless in knowing how long the Central American nationals have been staying in Jamaica given that they did not use the country’s legal ports of entry.
Undoubtedly, Jamaica’s national security is at risk in view of the fact that we already know that there is an on-going guns for drugs trade.  It well documented that in this trade Jamaica provides drugs in this lucrative business in exchange for guns. 
Despite Jamaica’s budgetary constraints, the country needs to redouble its efforts to monitor and protect its borders.  Jamaica is a relatively small island with a land area of 4,244 square miles. It has a coastline of 1,022 km or 634 miles which makes policing the border challenging but not impossible if more resources are allocated to this vital cause.  
The monitoring of a country’s borders, including territorial waters becomes more urgent as the international community is on an Ebola virus alert. The possibility exists that some virus could have entered the shores of Jamaica with the illegal entry of these men from Central America.
As a matter of fact, we are not even sure which other nationals have illegal entered our shores.  As citizens of Jamaica our health is at risk if we do not put measures in place to curtail the number of illegal migrants entering the country.
The country needs to be proactive regarding the monitoring of our borders.  There are other related issues surrounding a country with a porous and open border, such as human trafficking.
It is estimated that the global human trafficking industry is worth about $9.5 billion when estimated alongside other forms of crime that are linked to it. According to some estimates over 27 million people are enslaved in the world. Of this number 800,000 to 900, 000 are trafficked across international borders yearly.
Protecting one’s borders from the illegal movement of people, weapons and drugs is paramount to a country’s national security and economic prosperity to which we all strive for.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Monday, 6 October 2014

High School Diploma Equivalence Programme


The start of the academic year is typically greeted with an air of expectancy and promise.  However, this positive outlook is usually short lived as soon as the grim reality sets in bringing to the fore unforeseen, as well as recurring problems to all the stakeholders involved in the business of education.
Each year, thousands of Jamaican students either graduate from, drop out of school or are expelled from various educational institutions. Sadly, many of those students leave school without any form of certification rendering them helpless and almost hopeless in a globalized and competitive world. In this regard we have failed our students.
Recently, I came across some interesting and informative information regarding the work of The Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL). The JFLL has started a High School Diploma Equivalence Programme as of September 2014. The High School Diploma Equivalence (HSDE) programme is geared towards students 17 years and older and provides them with training at various levels. The High School Diploma Equivalence Programme has three (3) levels:
HSDE Basic-At this level the learner is taught lessons in basic literacy and numeracy Life Skills and Information Technology.
HSDE Intermediate: At this level you focus on high school studies (grades 7-9). Subjects taught at this level are: Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies, Science & Technology and Information Technology.
Once students successfully complete the intermediate level, you will acquire the qualifications that will enable you to sit and pass the HEART entry level test to become a certified skill worker.

This initiative by the JFLL is commendable. However, it makes very little sense to have such an important programme in the society yet the target audiences are unaware of its existence. I became aware of this programme by chance. This is most unacceptable. The Jamaica Foundation For Lifelong Learning obviously needs to do a much better job in informing the Jamaican public about this programme.
Additionally, due to the popular practice of screening by our schools many of our students are written off as not being able to sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. This practice also contributes greatly to many of our students leaving school without any form of certification. Too many of our students fall by the wayside after high school especially our young men. As a society we can and should do more to rescue and provide skills training for those who desire such skills. In fact we need a new trust and vision to incorporate skills based curriculum in all schools at the secondary level.
The JFLL should embark on a massive public education programme targeting all secondary schools. There can be no level of sustainable development if the society continues to ignore the practical needs of a significant percentage of the youth population.  

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Poem- Pain

Early morning pain,
Mid day too
Late at night
Does pain defines you?

I rub your back
And joints too,
I see your tears, 
I feel your pain.

Heart broken to see you writhe in pain
Helpless and hopeless, I am not ashamed
One day soon you will be free
Pain free!

© 2014 Wayne Campbell

Friday, 3 October 2014

Psalm 119 verse 11

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Psalm 143 verses 9 & 10

Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do they will: for thou art my God: thy spirit is good: lead me into the land of uprightness.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Climate Change Is Jamaica,s Challenge Too

All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it's here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.  - President Barack Obama
We should all remember the sheer destruction and subsequent displacement and suffering of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos resulting from super- typhoon Haiyan and the impact of climate change of our environment. These images should serve as the catalyst for us to move with a sense of urgency to find lasting and meaningful solutions. The massive typhoon which hit the Philippines was one of the most powerful ever on record, with winds exceeding 200 kilometers per hour. Some estimates have placed some 10,000 deaths in one village alone, with the figure expected to increase as government officials’ access difficult terrain.
Extreme, unusual and irregular weather patterns have been attributed to global warming and the Caribbean as a region is not immune to such occurrences.  It has been unusually hot in Jamaica since 2013 resulting in a drought in many parts of the country. This has led many to ponder the cause and impact of such an intense heat.  
As part of a global effort to mobilize action and ambition on climate change, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited Heads of State and Government along with business, finance, civil society and local leaders to a Climate Summit.
The United Nations has a target of limiting global average warming to two degree Celsius over pre-industrial Revolution levels and this can be achieved by curbing emissions of invisible, heat trapping gases from burning fossils fuels which sadly is the backbone of the world’s energy supply. However, as emerging world powers seeks cheaper and less sufficient energy sources such as coal in order to bolster their economy it is clear than an collaborative is required from both industrialized societies as well as small and emerging economies.
Jamaica is currently midway through implementing phase 2 of a US$25 million Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (SPCR). This initiative seeks to boost government led efforts to strength Jamaica’s ability to withstand the damaging effort of climate-related occurrences such as a hurricane. Successive governments have not always paid sufficient attention to matters of the environment and as a consequence the devastating effects have been felt by many who have lost loved ones as well as property due to government lax building codes and their inability or refusal to monitor greedy developers who in the past have been allowed to construct homes in well- known river beds and sell these to unsuspecting and desperate clients. The heart rending images which appeared on television and other social media after the aftermath of super typhoon should serve as a reminder of the cost of governments’ inaction on climate change. Many lives have been uprooted by this act of nature; adults and children alike are hungry and homeless. One can clearly see a sense of hopelessness and despair on the faces of the survivors as they search for food and meaning in the rubbles around them. We all need to be reminded that any disturbance to nature and the environment will have catastrophic consequences and that the popular and unwise decisions we take today usually come back to negatively haunt the next generation. 
Jamaica has suffered from the devastating impact of hurricanes. In 2004 Hurricane Ivan killed 17 Jamaicans and left damages totaling some US$360 Million. Four years later in 2008 Hurricane Gustav impacted Jamaica with a recovery bill of some US$210 Million. Yet some of our people continue to destroy the environment by cutting down trees and building their homes on the banks of gullies. We must continue our public relations campaign to inform those among us who do not know any better of the seriousness as well as the long lasting implications of tampering with nature and the environment. There can be no sustainable development without first protecting the environment to think or do otherwise is retrograde.  
The New York Climate Summit came one year before countries aim to conclude a global climate agreement in 2015 through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Although the 2014 Climate Summit is not part of the negotiating process, countries have recognized the value of the Summit, including by welcoming the Secretary-General’s efforts in a Decision of the Doha climate conference in 2012.
By catalyzing action on climate change prior to the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in 2015, the Secretary-General intends to build a solid foundation on which to anchor successful negotiations and sustained progress on the road to reducing emissions and strengthening adaptation strategies.
While some of us might still be in doubt as to whether or not climate change caused the super cyclone in the Philippines let us err on the side of caution and learn from others and do what we can do to safeguard ourselves in this ever changing world. The Jamaican focus on climate change should include coastal towns, for example, Portmore in St.Catherine, as well as, areas of St. Thomas should we experience a storm surge. The time is now for us to move swiftly and decisively in order to seriously address the issues of climate change and global warming even amidst our economic constraints.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.
waykam@yahoo.com