Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Let Us Be Safe Not Sorry

The recent crash of flight 9525 in the French Alps has brought into sharp focus the issues of pilot screening for fitness. The aviation industry has not been the same since September 11, 2011 when terrorists hijacked and crashed commercial passenger planes in the World Trade Center killing thousands.
Initial reports regarding the crash have pointed to pilot suicide as the cause for the crash of the Germanwings airline which crashed on March 24, 2015 killing all 150 passengers and crew on- board.  Audio from the recovered black boxes suggests that the co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit after he returned from the bathroom.
As a global community we have avoided for too long the issue of mental health so much so that those afflicted with this serious illness tend to hide their problem and pretend all is well for fear of discrimination.
While this is by no means an excuse we must and should be honest with ourselves and deal with the issue of mental health in a serious and meaningful manner in order that those who suffer from this serious illness will feel comfortable to come forward and seek medical attention.
The fact is more and more of us will experience bouts of depression during our lifetime. According the World Health Organization (WHO) depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people affected. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Suicide results in an estimated 1 million deaths every year. Barriers to effective care include a lack of resources, lack of trained health care providers, and social stigma associated with mental disorders.
When the flying public decides to travel they put their faith in the competence and mental acuity of the pilot and supporting crew. When one’s mental sharpness is compromised there must be a sense of responsibility to do what is right and not the lives of others in danger.
However, we do not live in a perfect world and there will always be those who will do just that.
The time has certainly come for airlines to do much background checks on their employees including pilots to ensure the safety of the flying public. The tragedy involving the crash of Germanwings flight 9525 might have been avoided. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com
Twitter: @WayneCamo

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Palm Sunday 2015-St. John chapter 12 verses 12 & 13

On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, "Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Water And Caribbean Development


“Providing sustainable access to improved drinking water sources is one of the most important things we can do to reduce disease”- World Health Organization Director General-Dr. Margaret Chan.
The international community recently commemorate World Water Day exploring the theme Water and Sustainable Development.  World Water Day is set aside to bring global awareness to the many individuals who suffer from water related issues, such as, no or poor sanitation facilities, as well as, diseases such as, dysentery and diarrhea. 
The vast majority of the Earth’s water resources are salt water, with only 2.5 per cent being fresh water. Approximately seventy per cent of the fresh water available on the planet is frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica.  According to the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture, one in three people are already facing water shortages (2007).  
Caribbean countries have been implementing various measures to control the use of water as the region experiences a prolonged drought. From Trinidad and Tobago in the south, to Jamaica in the north, governments and the various utility companies have announced stringent measures ranging from a ban on watering lawns, to washing vehicles as a means of dealing with the low volume of water in reservoirs as a result of the reduced rainfall. Other islands such as Antigua and Barbuda and Guyana have been experiencing drought as a result of reduced rainfall. With the Caribbean region highly dependent on tourism having access to water is extremely critical for the survival of this major foreign exchange earner.
Tourism is one of the Caribbean region's major economic sectors, with 25 million visitors contributing $49 billion towards the region’s gross domestic product in 2013, which represented 14% of its total GDP.
Undoubtedly, without access to safe sources of drinking water a country’s economic development will be severely hampered. Access to a safe and reliable source of water supply is necessary for the human capital of any country to remain healthy and productive.  Alarmingly, despite all the advances in technology approximately, seven hundred and forty eight million people (748) worldwide do not have access to an improved source of drinking water. Shockingly, 2.5 billion people do not use an improved sanitation facility. The practice of open defecation is still widespread in some parts of Africa due to poor sanitation and lack of access to water. In the Jamaican society, our policy makers and politicians need to re double their efforts to rid all public schools of pit latrines and replace them with modern sanitation facility. The practice of open defecation is clearly linked to abject poverty as is the situation is all those countries where this occurs mainly on the African continent.
Disturbingly, many women and children specifically contract water borne diseases each year because of the difficult in accessing supplies of safe drinking water.  According to some reports diseases from unsafe/untreated water sources kill more people yearly than all forms of violence.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over three point six per cent (3.6%) of the global diseases burden can be prevented by improving water supply and sanitation. 
Clearly access to water is at the core of sustainable development. In the words of Margaret Catley Carlson-Vice Chair-World Economic Forum “water is an astoundingly complex and subtle force in an economy”. It is evident that without reliable sources of drinking water a country cannot effectively plan ahead for the future. We need to ask ourselves what is sustainable development.
What is sustainable development?
According to the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs. The same source adds that sustainable development implies economic growth together with the protection of environmental quality each reinforcing the other. In other words we cannot speak about achieving sustainable development without first scaffolding the environment. However, in a political system such as the Westminster model where the voice of the people is heard but not listened to sustainable development will only be a fleeting ideal on which speeches and policies are crafted and where vested interests are served and corruption thrive.  
Access to clean drinking water can be burdensome depending on where one lives.
Increased urbanization will focus on the demand for water among a more concentrated population. Asian cities alone are expected to grow by 1 billion people in the next 20 years.
Only sixty one per cent (61%) of the people in Sub Saharan African have access to improved water supply compared to ninety per cent (90%) in Latin American and the Caribbean.  According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Haiti has the lowest percentage of people with access to safe water at 62%, the Dominican Republic has 81% of people with access to safe water. Nicaragua is listed at 85% of people with safe drinking water while Jamaica has 93% of people with safe drinking water.
In developing nations the responsibility and burden for collecting water daily falls disproportionately on women and girls. As a result the education of many girls is shortened by their involvement in this daily domestic chore.  It is estimated that on average than women in these parts of the world spend 25 per cent of their day collecting water for their families.  The rights of women will be protected in as much as they have access to safe drinking water since walking miles in search of water put women and girls at a greater risk for human trafficking, physical and sexual assault.
According to the 2012 Survey of Living Conditions published by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) thirty six per cent (36%) of rural communities in Jamaica rely on untreated sources of water. While Jamaica has made tremendous strides in providing safe drinking water for a significant percentage of its population more work is clearly needed in the rural areas.  This task of getting more rural based Jamaicans access to safe and treated water sources will require all stakeholders to work in unison to this become a reality sooner rather than later.  
The demand for a safe and consistent water supply is ever increasing. As more and more countries prosper the tendency is for an increase in individual wealth. Economic growth and increase in personal wealth are responsible for a shift in global diet, from one that was predominantly starch-based to one that consists mainly of meat and dairy, this of course requires more water. 
There is also a co-relation between climate change and access to water. Climate change will and is shrinking the resources of freshwater. The distribution of precipitation is very uneven, leading to tremendous temporal variability in water resources worldwide. (Oki et all, 2006).
Secondly, the rate of evaporation varies a great deal depending on temperature and relative humidity which impacts the amount of water available to replenish groundwater supplies. (Konikow and Kendy 2005)
On a positive note, the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to be realized was halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. Between 1990 and 2010 over 2 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources such as piped supplies and protected wells.
Access to safe drinking water is a human right. In fact on July 28, 2010 the United Nations General Assembly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.
As the world’s population increases we must be mindful that water scarcity is a real issue affecting many millions of people, especially the most vulnerable among us. There is clearly much more work required to ensure that people everywhere have access to safe drinking water as well as proper sanitation facility  If we failed  at this task as a global community we run the risk of not achieving the United Nations (UN )Millennium Development Goals (MDG,s).
Without adequate water supplies the quality of our lives will be severely hampered. In fact a country’s food and national security interests are compromised without a reliable and consistent water supply. Water is life.

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
Twitter: @ WayneCamo

Monday, 23 March 2015

Jamaica,s Fire Department Needs Better Equipment

The recent fire at the Riverton City disposal site has exposed how outdated the Jamaica’s’s fire department is in fighting certain types of fire. The dump at Riverton City occupies just over one hundred and twenty (120) acres. Given this fact it is time that the fire department is given more resources to effectively equip themselves with all available apparatuses to tackle fires spread over such a vast expanse of land.
Aerial firefighting as a technique in fire fighting and fire management has been around for quite some time. This technique has proven itself as an effective and efficient way of extinguishing fires. Without a doubt, Jamaica’s fire department needs to look at incorporating this practice to be used alongside the traditional ground based efforts in fighting fires.
This practice commonly referred to an air attack involves the use of fixed wing and rotorcraft aircrafts which are capable of holding  gallons and gallons of water, as well as, other fire fighting retardants, such as, specially formulated foams and gels. 
The relatively small size of these aircrafts makes it easy for them to be stored.  A possible site to house such aircrafts, popularly called water bombers could be the Tinson Pen aerodrome.
Clearly, the fire department is restricted by lack of financial resources.  As a result the central government should seriously look into the possibility of increasing the funding given to the country’s fire department.  Jamaica’s fire department needs to explore all the aviation resources available in fire fighting techniques as they continue to carry out a most difficult but necessary function.
 Additionally, the fire department also needs to ensure that they have at their disposal all the latest firefighting arsenal necessary to successful carry out their duties. Let us act now before another fire of such magnitude happens again.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Twitter: @WayneCamo

Sunday, 22 March 2015

World Water Day 2015

Today, March 22, 2015 is World Water Day. The theme is Water and Sustainable Development. Water scarcity is a global issue. In many parts of the world access to safe drinking water is a challenge. Without a reliable and consistent water supply a country,s food and national security are compromised. Water sustains life.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Poem-Awaiting Spring

I am still in the midst of my winter,
Awaiting the rush that comes with spring.
How can I forget the hot days of summer,
Or the cool nights that autumn brings.
I am still in my winter.

© 2015 Wayne Campbell

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Impact of Toxins on Human Beings

The recent statement from the Ministry of Health stating that Jamaicans should not experience any long term effects from the fire at the Riverton City disposal site is both alarming and troubling. Over the weekend the same government ministry told the nation that samples were taken of the air quality at two locations and that these were sent off to be tested. We were further informed that the results would have been available on March 18th and or March 19th, 2015. We are yet to hear such results. It bears thought as to how such a statement could be forthcoming as this time since the result of the air quality would be pending.  The statement from the Ministry of Health is at best premature and irresponsible. In fact further explanation is required from the Ministry of Health on this matter.
Disturbingly, in 2012 the cancer causing chemical Benzene was detected at three times the World Health Organization’s air standard as a result from a fire at the said disposal facility.
According to the American Cancer Society Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates quickly when exposed to air. It is used mainly as a starting material in making other chemicals, including plastics, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. Benzene is known to cause cancer, based on evidence from studies in both people and lab animals. The link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and cancers of other blood cells. Rates of leukemia, particularly acute myeloid leukemia (AML), have been found to be higher in studies of workers exposed to high levels of benzene, such as those in the chemical, shoemaking, and oil refining industries. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Its major goal is to identify causes of cancer. IARC classifies benzene as “carcinogenic to humans,” based on sufficient evidence that benzene causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML). IARC also notes that benzene exposure has been linked with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is formed from parts of several different US government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NTP has classified benzene as “known to be a human carcinogen.”
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), an electronic database that contains information on human health effects from exposure to various substances in the environment. The EPA classifies benzene as a known human carcinogen.
It would be quite interesting and informative to find out if the Ministry of Health conducted a study to see how many Jamaicans exposed to the smoke and noxious fumes in 2012 got cancer and what type of cancer. 
Additionally, we need to know whether the Ministry of Health has any plans to monitors those 800 plus Jamaicans who had to seek medical attention due to their exposure to the fire that broke out at the Riverton City. Even without such a study being done, I think the Ministry of Health owes us some clarification of the matter.  We also need to hear from the Ministry of Environment regarding the environmental impact of the fire at Riverton City.
I am sure if the disposal site was located in an upper middle- class community, then we would not be having this discussion, since a suitable alternative would have been found.
Recall what former US President John F Kennedy said: “Our most common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal”.
Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues.

Twitter: @WayneCamo

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Learning From Historical Tragedies

We live in a world of intolerance and discrimination of various forms. On March 20, 1960 under the apartheid regime of the South African government sixty nine (69) black demonstrators in the town of Sharpeville were shot and killed in cold blood as they demonstrated against the unfair and discriminatory policies of the white government.   This massacre outraged the international community and became known as the Sharpeville massacre.
This horrendous and inhumane event resulted in the United Nations (UN) setting aside March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  Each year since 1966 the world pauses on March 21 to commemorate the events of 1960 as well as to remind people of the negative consequences of racism.
The theme for the 2015 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is “learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination Today”. As a people if we don’t know learn from the atrocities of our past history we are likely to repeat those same ills.   The United Nations plays a pivotal role in organizing events to commemorate the significance of the important day to world history. This day is set aside to explore the root causes of racism and racial discrimination, as well as, to stress the essential need to learn the lessons history has provided in order to combat racism and racial discrimination today. Despite the efforts of the United Nations much more needs to be done to end all forms of prejudice and intolerance. Jamaica joins with the international community in solidarity in recognizing the importance of this day as we work together to stamp out all forms of racial discrimination.
In the words of Marcus Garvey “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. The time has come for us to recommit ourselves especially on this the forty ninth (49th) anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to eradicate all forms of bigotry and build a global community where justice and equality becomes the hallmark of our civilization.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com
Twitter: @WayneCamo

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Smoke Blankets Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT)

Last Friday, March 13 was a day of havoc and panic for many Jamaican students who attend school in the corporate area and St. Catherine. A number of schools including those at the primary level had to close early due to the smoke nuisance from the Riverton City landfill. The confusion which occurred at some schools clearly speaks to the poor leadership of some of our schools, as well as, the unpreparedness of our schools in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake. According to reports from the fire department the fire at the Riverton City dump is expected to take a few more days to extinguish. This would clearly mean that primary school children sitting the annual Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) scheduled for March 19th and 20th, 2015 would be severely impacted.  
All stakeholders in education, as well as the general public need to know what contingency measures are in place in the event that schools are forced to close on the day of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
The public needs to know what accommodation are in place for those students who will likely miss the GSAT examination due to exposure last Friday and are attending to health issue brought on by the contact with the smoke which blanketed most of the corporate area last Friday. We don't want a crisis on our hands; leaders must lead. It should be noted that since this article was written a decision was taken to postpone the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com
Twitter @WayneCamo

Thursday, 12 March 2015

One Family At A Time

The Transatlantic Slave Trade has been the single most critical factor in shaping and molding the lives of people of African descent. A critical component of the slave trade was the forcibly breakup of the family unit in which the male’s role was reduced to a mere stud.  Disturbingly, in a post- plantation Jamaican society the remnants of the plantation culture are very much alive and continue to negatively impact us.  The continued abuse  and murder of our children threaten the very existence and social fabric of the society and require serious intervention. 
At the root of the upheaval in the Jamaican society is a state of “fatherlessness” which has now become common place in our culture. According to the 2012 Survey of Living Conditions the vast majority of Jamaicans households are headed by single females. As a result a significant number of boys lack positive male role models.  Sadly, Jamaica, s education system does not adequately cater to the holistic development of our boys. As a result, many drop out of the formal school system and end up without the requisite skills set necessary to become fully integrated members of society.  For many boys to be a man is tantamount to being rough, uncaring and emotionally detached.  Our agents of socialization have failed us.  The influence of the church continues to wane as parents no longer send their children to church. Our failure to put in measures to rescue our youth population will surely usher in new era of re-enslavement of the male psyche. The emotionally and physically detached male has exposed our women and children to the mercy of those who prey on the vulnerable within the society, thus creating havoc and mayhem on individual families as the society in general.  We cannot continue along this path of self-destruction. We need to strengthen the basic family unit which will provide more protection for our women and children. Our males must become more sexually responsible and our females likewise should become wiser when choosing partners. The Jamaican society is at a critical juncture  in the annals of her development. We all need to make a concerted effort to reclaim Jamaica one family at a time. 

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Friday, 6 March 2015

Reclaim Jamaica One Book At A Time

Every year on the first Wednesday of March, the global community pauses to celebrate World Read Aloud Day. It was extremely disappointing that March 4, 2015 passed without any mentioning of the significance of the day in the local media or by the Ministry of Education. As a result our schools were not involved in this global effort which aims at improving literacy skills.
World Read Aloud Day aims to motivate children and adults to celebrate the power of words. The day is observed and celebrated by more than eighty countries worldwide. It is very important that as a society we try to as much as possible to cultivate and do all within our powers and resources to bring awareness to the importance of words. If we are truly concerned about the flight of our children we must show this in practical ways by empowering and securing their future. We must especially engage our boys and young men in reading. A significant number of boys and men viewed reading with suspicion.  Disturbingly, boys who display school smarts are often ridiculed as effeminate by peers and even adults in areas where academic excellence by males is typically devalued. Our boys are already struggling with a toxic notion regarding their masculinity which permeates entire communities which is reinforced by a popular music culture that often celebrates law-breaking.  It is almost as if manhood and masculinity have been hijacked by a thug culture far removed from education.
Let us change and reclaim the Jamaica society one book at a time.
Literacy is a human right that belongs to all people.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Thursday, 5 March 2015

We Must Do More To Protect Our Children

Undoubtedly, Jamaica’s children are at risk. The appalling and horrendous beheading of second form student Kayalicia Simpson of the Donald Quarrie High School clearly reinforces this sad reality which has become common place for many of our children. Ironically, on the day when the nation’s schools were commemorating and celebrating Peace Day the life of this promising fourteen year girl was being snuffed out.
Disturbingly, since the start of the year fifteen children have been brutally murdered. Alarmingly, with each murder of a child the social consciousness and psyche of the society seems unmoved.  A routine has developed we can expect the articulate minority in the society to write a few letters, however, after the dust has settled it will be business as usual. The society clearly needs a spiritual awakening to stem the tide of murders wrecking havoc on the nation’s children. Our children are our most prized possession. We must do much more to protect them and as such safeguard the nation’s future.
Poverty continues to endanger the lives of our children. The children of the poor and working class are at more risk than those children of well to do families.
It is so sad that in a modern age a student had to go outside at 4 am to use a bathroom.
We all have failed our children. May God grant the family of the deceased the strength to carry on during this time of their bereavement.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Doomed Marriage of Education and Poverty

The adage, ‘to be poor is a crime’ is quite familiar to most of us. However, poverty is much more. It can be argued that poverty is a form of punishment that delays and stifle the full potential of human development.  Poverty is a chronic and crippling condition that affects the mind, body and spirit of human beings. Poverty is a universal social condition which affects a significant number of the world’s population.  According to the World Bank, in 2011, seventeen per cent (17%) of the people in the developing world lived at or below $1.25US a day. This means that 1.4 billion people or twenty one per cent (21%) of the world’s population live in extreme poverty and this is most unacceptable.  Disturbingly, women and children account for a sizeable portion of those who live in poverty. Jamaica, like any other developing country continues to struggle with drafting measures to alleviate poverty. According to the 2012 Survey of Living Conditions published by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) more than 500,000 Jamaicans or one out of every five Jamaicans lives below the poverty line. This statistics speaks volume and requires governmental intervention in order for us to have and maintain sustainable development.
It bears thought that investment in education is the only way out to break the cycle of poverty which has entrapped and destroyed many Jamaican families.  It is well documented that many children raised in poverty enter school a few steps behind their more affluent peers. The cognitive stimulation parents provide in the early childhood years is crucial. The most critical years of a child’s development are from birth to age five. This is exactly why more focus and funding are required to scaffold the early childhood level to ensure that each such institution has a trained teacher with the necessary skills to mould these young lives. Our brightest minds should be at the foundation level working to stimulate the minds of the very young. However, in our society we tend to think otherwise. This increase in funding is necessary in order to bridge the socioeconomic divide in education which manifests itself at all national examinations from as early as the Grade Four Literacy Test where students of preparatory schools outperform their peers at the primary level of the education system.  
In January of this year it was announced that both Trench Town and Charlie Smith high schools would be merged resulting in the closure of Trench Town High school.  Interesting both schools are located in the volatile inner city community of Trench Town where unemployment and poverty are high. It is safe to say that a significant percentage of the students attending both institutions are from economically disadvantaged families.  Economically disadvantaged families are those with parents whose incomes are less than what is required to purchase and satisfy basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. The recent demonstration by students, teachers and parents associated with Trench Town High regarding the pending merger and the subsequently announcement by the Ministry of Education to delay the merger speaks to how ill conceive this policy has been. Merging both schools will not turnaround Charlie Smith. In fact the opposite will happen. Is it that the Ministry of Education plans to embark on a national merger of underperforming schools? According to the 2014 National Education Inspectorate (NEI) report more than sixty per cent (60%) of the country’s primary and secondary schools are failing in their education delivery to the nation’s children so clearly an amalgamation of underperforming schools is not the way to proceed. What is next? Are we going to see for example a merger of Denham Town and Tivoli Gardens High schools? Perhaps a merger of Kingston Technical High and Holy Trinity High will be next? 
Studies of risk and resilience in children have shown that family income correlates significantly with children’s success. Poor children are half as likely as well off children are to be taken to museums, theatres, or the library and they are less likely to go on vacations or on other fun or culturally enriching outings. (Bradley & Corwyn, 2002). 
Children raised in poverty are much less likely to have lack critical social skills. There are many emotionally dysfunctional students in our schools. This accounts for the fact why so many of our students get so frustrated easily. While children of the poor are enrolled in school, such students from poverty stricken backgrounds are more likely to drop out of school than their peers from affluent backgrounds. Many of our students especially in the inner city communities have little or no support and are being felt to the whims and fancy of chance to succeed.
We continue to do a disservice to the children of the poor at the secondary level. In a few months time hundreds of such students would have graduated from high schools without any form of certification. The truth is ever since the decision was taken to stop the Secondary Schools Certificate (SSC) Examination and the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence Examination (CCSLC) many students from upgraded high schools sit no form of external examination. Of course there is the City and Guilds examination, however, this examination has little or no currency in the workplace and many students shun it. The Ministry of Education should invest a bit more in promoting the City and Guilds examinations. 
Poverty should not be an excuse not to succeed. However, poverty does impact the development of one’s brain and this will certainly impairs one’s success.
In 1934 Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s theory asserts that students cannot be expected to function at a high academic level when their basic needs for food, shelter, medical care, safety, family and friendship are not met.  It can be argued that a significant percentage of our children struggle on a daily basis to have their basic needs met. There are many students who attend school daily without having breakfast. In fact the Programme Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) was developed by the Government of Jamaica as a social safety net to address the nature of Jamaica’s poverty.  Poverty in rural areas is very much different from urban poverty. According to the 2012 Survey of Living Conditions thirty six per cent (36%) of rural communities in Jamaica rely on untreated sources for water.
However, the human spirit is able to overcome adversities.  The good news is that being raised in poverty is not a sentence for a substandard life.  Many students have and will continue to succeed despite the odds. Nevertheless, the government must do more to alleviate and empower the poor within the society. A more concerted effort is required by policy makers to ensure that no child is left behind.   
In the words of Nelson Mandela: Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity; it is an act of justice. 
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

Monday, 2 March 2015

Deliverance-Psalm 34 verse 17

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Proverbs chapter 28 verses 13&14

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.