St. Joseph Street
Benque Viejo del Carmen
I wish to state my opinion on the educational system of Belize with regard to a recent letter posted in your newspapaer. The author, Alberto Vellos, spoke of the youth being lied to and he exhorted them to rise up. The young rising up sounds good, but I wonder how can we show we are not willing to have politicians and other unscrupulous persons step on our dignity?
Many youth experience the harsh reality of doors closing in front of their faces and no one does anything. As Alberto pointed out, no one can do anything unless the youth themselves start out by taking action. It is at this juncture, that I want to point out that one factor contributing to the passivity of the youth is the failure of the educational system to shape the character of young people.
When I finished high school in Benque Viejo in 2012, I had no idea how to start a discussion in class. I entered John Paul II Junior College, the new junior college at Benque Viejo, and I was disappointed to come to know through my personal experience, the ways in which the educational system is failing. I was able to notice this failure because the education offered at John Paul II Junior College is based on liberal arts and when one studies the liberal arts, one learns how to think critically.
As pioneers of the newly established college, many of us complained about the amount of reading that was required. The majority of us had not even read five books during high school and we were not used to reading! How can we say we are being educated when in our schools we are not being drawn into reading? What is even worse is that they are taking out world history from the high school curriculum.
Our schools are not teaching the young generation the real purpose of education. In class teachers present information and the student is expected to regurgitate back that information without doing much reasoning. The educational system is telling young people that education means “being able to get a job to have money.” Of course, earning money is not evil, but that is not ultimately the purpose of education. The purpose of getting educated is for a person to cultivate the intellect; to learn how to think to make wise decisions in life.
Because the schools are not prioritizing reading and world history they are not giving young people the tools to think for themselves. That is why when young people are lied to or manipulated, they readily give in.
One may ask: but what does world history have to do with thinking critically? It is simple; to avoid making mistakes, just look at others’ mistakes. I therefore, encourage the youth to get acquainted with reading good things – good books. If our schools are not prioritizing reading and thinking critically, let us do it by means of our own effort. By having the tools to think, then it will not be easy for others to take advantage of us. That is the start to rising up and beginning a revolution against the things we are against!