Comprehensive Education Review Team preparing report for Government. I learned quite by accident that there is a Comprehensive Education Review Team. They are examining the state of comprehensive education in
Based on my exposure to Anguilla’s sole high school, in my estimation fewer that 20% of this year’s Form VI graduates will enter the work force, or go on to an institution of tertiary education, able to either write, or to express themselves verbally, anywhere near a Form VI standard. The exceptions are all the children of professionals. I assume their parents put pressure on them to achieve and to excel in school. Those children who do not come from equally ambitious backgrounds are not being helped by the present school system. I had not realised that the Comprehensive Education System, as it works in
I am conscious that the secondary school system is not the only, or even the main, culprit in this failure shown towards the students of
Parents, who were too busy to read to them when they were very young, are partly to blame.
The primary schools are graduating students who cannot read or write.
Most Anguillian school children are latch-key children. There is frequently no adult present when the students come home after class to encourage them to study and prepare. Too often, the only real family is the neighbourhood gang.
Drugs, alcohol and pornography on the internet are pervasive. These adversely impact young persons in
The paucity of the facilities at the High School is noticeable. The school library serves as the Form VI students’ lounge. The books are in the mess you would expect. I have not asked, but it is unlikely that any student, other than a sixth former, would dare to enter the school library.
The public library is no substitute. It is a place for students to go to gossip and to play computer games. The different reading rooms in the library are not invigilated when there are students in them, as they ought to be. The public library of
There is no invigilated study room in the school, as there ought to be, for students who have no class to sit quietly and study. The result is that there are groups of boys and girls hiding in corners of the schoolyard laughing and chatting at all hours of the day.
There is no supervision of the students in the school yard during breaks or at lunch time. I understand the Teachers’ Union is opposed to it. I have not asked Emma if it is true. This abandonment of the students encourages them to engage in bad behaviour. It reinforces their perception that there are no consequences for bad behaviour. Foul language on the school grounds is commonly overheard, among boys and girls. There is no one to report their misconduct.
Even if anyone did report unacceptable behaviour, there is in practice no penalty of any consequence. There is, eg, no invigilated room for misbehaving children to be made to stay back after school in punishment. Class control is not managed by rules or procedures, but by the force of the individual teacher’s character. Teachers do their work in terror of some abusive parent storming into the school and assaulting them.
Many of the teachers I meet are disillusioned and disgruntled. The teacher’s common room is a dump. I have never seen more than five or six teachers in it at lunch time or at any other time, except when the Principal holds briefing meetings. The explanation I have been given for its present dilapidated state is that it is old, about to be replaced, and not worth repainting.
In my humble opinion, there is no necessity for the education authorities to compound all the wider social faults and defects in
In my humble opinion, the comprehensive education system of
I was pressed by the team at the end of the interview to find something positive to say about the system. I got the impression they wanted a balanced opinion from me. Sorry, I don’t do balanced opinions. I am only capable of delivering frank opinions. Let the mealy-mouthed equivocators produce the balanced opinions.
Parents, schools, and students of the 1960s and 1970s had fewer resources than those of today. Yet, the students left the education system highly educated. They left both disciplined and highly motivated. Those were the Anguillians who built the
Sorry if it sounds too harsh a judgment. I tried hard, but I could not find anything more positive to say.