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Stabroek News

LETTER OF THE DAY - After Olympics, what now?
published: Tuesday | August 26, 2008

The Editor, Sir:

Like all of Jamaica, I am proud to be Jamaican. However, after the Olympics' nine-day wonder, what then? The prime minister has intimated that he would like to use this high that we are on to transform the nation. I agree, but how? We have to use it to reduce the number of weaknesses we have as a people.

I have identified the following major weaknesses that are preventing our economic development, both individually and as a nation:

1. Inability to read and write

Everybody knows that to be considered well-dressed, your foundation garments have to be right. Similarly to be a 'proppa smaddy' your basic reading and writing skills have to be right.

You cannot expect to compete with the rest of the world if you cannot read and write. We are not preparing ourselves properly in a globalised economy.

2. Lack of self-discipline and confidence

We need to acquire the discipline to work towards what we want to achieve, discounting the negatives and in spite of the obstacles we face.

The number of children who do not finish school speaks to this. If we are disciplined in the small things, the big things will follow: standing in a line or waiting your turn, as well as saying 'no' to the hustling in the workplace.

3. Opportunity and tools to be our best

We teach life skills in schools, but what of nation building and civic pride? Is civics still part of the curriculum? Could civic pride help in preventing garbage in the gullies.

Do we really provide our youngster with the analytical skills and know-how to survive in this world? Are they critical thinkers? Will they become knowledge-based workers? Until we can confidently answer yes for all our children, this is something we need to improve.

There are plenty of opportunities and pathways for people to excel. By excelling, I am not talking about being a star, but being able to provide for your family. Do our youngsters have this road map? Do they know what opportunities that are there for them?

4. Standards have to be set and adhered to

It has become the norm for boys coming home from school to take their shirts out of their pants and put in their earrings. It should be a rule that once you are in your uniform some things are not done.

The adults should be telling them to dress appropriately. I saw on national TV a student standing beside her principal accepting a donation. I was shocked as her lavender lipgloss spoke to me.

I knew it was lavender as it matched her uniform. Since when has make-up become part of the uniform? Do prefects no longer scrub your face when you come to school in make-up? And these men with all of their underwear showing, isn't this indecent exposure?

Things like these have to be stopped for us to move forward. People who can read and write usually do not behave in this manner.

I am, etc.,


Spanish Town,

St Catherine

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