On The Move: The Caribbean Since 1989 (Global History of the Present)

Contemporary history
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Several writers, Aronowitz and Giroux , Livingston , Greene , Apple , Flude and Hammer , Yates have labeled and attributed the current wave of education reform in the Anglophone industrialized world to the New Right. Flattered by the importance ascribed by this attribution, the New Right has accepted authorship. The concern raised by these writers is that schools and education are being taken over by economic considerations to the exclusion of its wider mission to develop the whole person. Comparative advantage, competitiveness, efficiency, accountability, cost benefit, and the free market have hijacked both administration and instruction to the detriment of the civilizing mission of schooling and education.

Bell argued that modern capitalism had promoted modernity in secularizing and rationalizing various societal processes but that this has had both negative and positive effects. The negative manifested itself in hedonistic, self regarding, anarchistic lifestyles that were eroding the tradition discipline of bourgeois life. Habermas makes the distinction between social modernity, which applies technical innovations to solve social problems, produce growth and prosperity, and cultural modernity, which embraces hedonism, self actualization, and alternative lifestyles.

Habermas goes on to assert that what is common to the evaluative scheme of the New Right critique of the contemporary situation in the several societies is their affirmative stance toward social modernity and denigration of cultural modernity. Elliott and MacLennan make the point that cultural modernity is not only about hedonism and self actualization but also about the extension or rights of individuals, equity and justice, and the positive freedoms of association, communication, debate, and claiming new rights.

This position has been more explicitly stated in Britain than in either the United States or Canada.

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Sir Keith Josephs, Secretary of Education in the Thatcher Government, argued for the abandonment of polices related to equality of opportunity and equality in educational system. For example, multiculturalism is mainstream in the Caribbean; school prayers are standard practice; alternative lifestyles are not taught in schools; and an ideological retreat from the principles of equality and equity in social policy could not be sustained by any government or party depending on democratic means of ascent to power.

It is for these reasons that, in examining educational reform in the Commonwealth Caribbean, this monograph has ignored the partisan debate that is currently taking place in the United States and Britain, principally because it is not a driving force among the actors and stakeholders in this subregion at the present time. Instead, the reforms are examined and interpreted in terms of the imperatives identified within the subregion.

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Note, however, will be taken of the growth of the American influence on education in particular countries and specific levels of the educational system, especially in the immediate post-independence period. Commonwealth Caribbean Education and the Third World. In their highly impressive work on primary education in developing countries, Lockheed and Verspoor characterized the educational systems of these countries as being marked by improved, but not universal coverage of the school age population, high repetition, high drop-out, low completion, low efficiency with respect to through-put, limited access for girls and women and low standards of achievement.

Primary education in the Commonwealth Caribbean defies almost every one of these characterizations. The subregion has had universal primary education for at least the last thirty years. In all countries children have free access to public schooling up to age 15 years, at least. The drop-out rate is low, repetition rates are low, completion of primary schooling is high, the efficiency rate in terms of through-put is high, and girls have access to schooling on the same basis as boys.

In fact, on the whole, girls enroll earlier, attend more regularly, drop-out less, repeat less, complete more, and achieve at a higher level than boys. At the secondary level eight of the sixteen territories have universal secondary education up to age 17 years. Kitts and Nevis, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

In the case of the other countries more than half the relevant population receive some form of secondary education. It is important to note that the gender difference in favor of girls is even more marked at the secondary level than it is at the primary level. It can be seen, therefore, that the educational provision in the Commonwealth Caribbean is broad based and does not have the gender inequities that mark the so called Third World or developing countries.

Any analysis or examination of education in this subregion that adopts the Third World stereotype is bound to meet with numerous paradoxes and contradictions. The UNDP Human Development Index, HDI, ranks countries world wide on the basis of human resource development criteria including years of schooling, adult literacy and educational attainment.

Of this number, 31 are listed as industrialized if one excludes the new countries emerging from the break up of the former Soviet Union, and 46 if one includes them.

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For the purpose of this discussion one will exclude these 15 new republics from the industrialized country category. When the HDI ranking of these remaining 31 industrialized countries is compared with the ranking of the 12 Commonwealth Caribbean countries included in the list, nine of the 12 Commonwealth Caribbean countries are ranked before the last ranked of the 31 industrialized countries.

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Among the countries listed as developing, Barbados ranked 1st and Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas 5th and 6th respectively. The point to note is the considerable overlap on the Human Development Index between these so-called Developing Commonwealth Caribbean countries and the so-called Developed First World countries. The implications for education reform, by this location of the Commonwealth Caribbean in the Development Index, are threefold:.

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It is important to note that the location of the Commonwealth Caribbean countries on the UNDP Development Index represents nothing new about the subregion relative to the industrialized world. Ramirez and Boli , reviewing enrollment data of school systems at the end of the nineteenth century, found a similar relationship between these British West Indian colonies and the countries of Western Europe and the rest of the world.

Indeed, Commonwealth Caribbean enrollment data poses immense problems for explaining the spread of schooling in the world through reference to the forces of industrialization, nationalism and political independence, and the hegemonic manipulations of ruling classes Miller Uncritical acceptance of donor assistance, predicated on their stereotypical diagnosis, could be both wasteful and costly to the subregion.

While most educators and policy makers are mindful of this prospect, the dilemma is the scarcity of resources and the temptation to accept assistance on any terms.

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Education in the Commonwealth Caribbean has to be assessed on its own terms and not forced into convenient stereotypes developed elsewhere but do not fit. The micro and mini-states that constitute the English-speaking Caribbean provide basic education to their populations and have been doing this for some time. The education provided at the primary and secondary levels offer wide coverage of the population.

This is not because governments are generous, but because the people place a high value on education. For the most part, the educational provision is below the demand and the level of participation.

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Accordingly, there are less school positions than children in school. The reasons for the high level of participation and the high value of education relate more to the limited opportunities available for socioeconomic advancement in the general society than it does to any deep seated belief in the intrinsic value of education.

But for whatever reason, both the state and private enterprise provide education that is readily consumed by the population. The enduring features that mark Caribbean education, historically and currently, can be summarized briefly as follows:. Caribbean education does not fit neatly into any of the prevailing stereotypes. The relatively low levels of provision for education and the limited quantity of tertiary education available locally resembles educational systems of several countries in the Third World.

On the other hand, the universal coverage at primary level, mass or universal secondary education, low rates of drop-out and repetition, and high completion and enrollment of girls resemble systems of the First World. The central importance of external examination is characteristically British and standard in almost all Commonwealth countries.

carpiforsuhan.tk The high involvement of the church in the public system of education does not fit neatly into any of the standard categories. The fact that these educational systems are mature systems, that they have been around for over years, is a feature shared with Latin America. This combination of features, which intersects with several stereotypes, gives the Caribbean its own character and personality and requires recognition in its own right. Caribbean Education in Historical Context. While it is crucial to view Commonwealth Caribbean education in its own image, it is also important to understand it in a broader context.

Probably the most insightful approach is to trace its historical development in relation to major trends in the global evolution of education institutions and systems. Because of the historical relationship of the Commonwealth Caribbean with Britain and the Anglophone world, it is only natural that this brief synopsis will be so biased in its focus and treatment. The British began colonizing the New World in the early seventeenth century. They brought with them the concepts and paradigms that represented the state of the art of schooling and education at that time.

From this starting point it is possible to identify four major eras in the evolution of Commonwealth Caribbean education which parallels, for different reasons, similar developments in the British Empire, the Commonwealth, and Anglophone World. These eras can be labeled as follows:. Each of these will be discussed briefly. Just before Britain began to colonize the New World, Europe had been experiencing three important developments.

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The first was the gradual extension of education to the laity that had occurred mainly during the latter part of the Middle Ages. Third was the invention of the printing press and with it the increased availability of books at more affordable prices. In Anglican England these developments translated into an approach to education that was premised on the following principles:. In Calvinist Scotland a different tradition developed. While accepting the first premise, which was common to all Protestants, and permitting the second, it prescribed that education was a collective responsibility to be provided by the community.

Accordingly it insisted on laws that would make it mandatory for towns to provide schools funded by taxes that were paid by the community Anderson While it took decades for these two traditions to crystallize and become practice, in both England and Scotland they represent the ideas that the colonists brought with them to the New World. These were the cutting edge ideas about education at that time. The New World colonists adopted the latest ideas on education by establishing themselves in their new situation. By such wholesale borrowing, the New World advanced to the education frontier without going through the stages that guided its evolution in Europe.

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However, in the Middle and Southern American colonies and in the West Indian colonies, it was the Anglican tradition of family and philanthropy that prevailed Cremin One major difference between the American and West Indian colonies was the social composition of their societies. In the West Indian colonies, it was mainly men who came without their families, and they were located mainly on estates. The family tradition of these West Indian colonies was, therefore, never strong. It was for this reason that the philanthropic aspect of the Anglican tradition was greatly reenforced by the nature of the society.