Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Growing Up Jamaica(n) Pt 1

(Talking ‘Bout My Generation)

We have synchronised our watches, studied our calendars, existed in minutes, and completely forgotten to step back and see what we've accomplished.
- Jodi Piccoult, My Sister’s Keeper

Where did all the great leaders go? The world used to have some pretty amazing people.
I uttered these words to a friend recently and immediately felt their indictment on me, my nation, my generation.

I look around me and often wonder where the deficiency in basic care and concern for our fellow men went. Sometimes, it feels like the human race has deteriorated into a mad pack of selfish seekers, each rushing to attain lofty ideals at the expense of many others.

My allusion to the past is not uncharacteristic. I frequently look back to history for instruction and inspiration. And when I get overwhelmed, (I try not to fall to pieces and freeze), I remember my ancestry of slavery and struggle and remind myself that the same thousand-warrior-strong blood of resilience flows through my veins. I sometimes forget that I am more than meets the eye. But I’m sure I’m not the only one.

So the question is, where did the drive and push that propelled one generation to greatness go? Did it get lost where it should have been transferred? Has my generation lost the essential strength gene that characterises Jamaicans? And as a result, have we entered an age of lackadaisical nonchalance, disspirited resignment and growing resentment in our youth?

And if all of the above is true, could we be sitting on a ticking time bomb?

50 Years of Independence
August 6 this year will mark Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence. We will celebrate an age at which most nations boast wisdom, experience, sagacity. Jamaica, like the rest of the world, is in the throes of an economic meltdown. We’re an amazing island full of vibrant and colourful people. But, like everyone else, we have our fair share of hardships and struggles.

One area of great concern for the nation is youth empowerment. Most of Jamaica’s children formally enter the education system at the age of four years old (early childhood institutions, more commonly referred to as ‘basic schools’.). At six, most of these children begin primary-school education, from which they generally matriculate by age 12. Then on to high school, for another five years, sometimes seven, and after that, for the truly lucky, tertiary education for another three to four years. So, on average, by 23/24, ???% of Jamaica’s youth would have left a tertiary-education institution holding a bachelor’s degree or diploma certificate.

Then what?

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

1 comment:

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

I've decided not to wait for leaders. I'll do and help other women to do.

Jamaica's taught me A LOT about using my creativity.