A recent editorial in one of the printed dailies highlights a major reality.
From my vantage point as an employer, I am of the firm view that our school system is like a production line without a quality control point. I see dozens of applications and conduct several interviews on a monthly basis, and I confess to being appalled.
Applications are cyclostyled, spelling and grammar are atrocious, presentation is simply sick and the attitude of applicants is depressing. Many applicants are clueless as to the very basics of an application for employment. I am prepared to show the proof to anyone willing to see it. More especially, if an applicant has about seven passes and above at CSEC/CXC, he/she conveys the undisguised signal that he/she “has arrived.” Their expectations of salary and conditions leave you awestruck.
I have proposed at a different forum that our education policy-makers consider a more pragmatic approach to making our high school graduates more marketable and more functionally literate. A six-month attachment, or two three-month attachments, to places of employment during the third year in high school should be mandatory for every student. An appropriate assessment structure is constructed to evaluate the student’s conduct and performance during the attachments and serves to award the student with a maximum 15 marks at the CSEC examination.
My proposal suggests, inter alia, that:
1. The student is exposed to the world of work, which in turn conditions his outlook to his final year in high school, and beyond.
2. The student’s posture in his final year will be more mature and objective since he would have an understanding of the ‘real world’ and be able to relate academics to pragmatism.
Because the existing emphasis is on study, study, lessons, lessons, our children are under-exposed and constricted. Many of them do not even engage in physical sports. The work attachment will introduce a pragmatic component which will result in a more analytical, rounded output at the time of the final examination.
The end-product will be a more ‘savvy’ high school graduate.