November 1, 2007


Posted in Education, Guyana tagged , , , at 7:11 pm by randallbutisingh


This article was written around 1958 when most of the children were given only Primary Education. The principle of this article can be applied today when youths who do not find employment, find nothing else to occupy their minds and very often land into trouble.


More serious than the traffic monster which claims the lives of old and young in this country (Guyana) is the specter of unemployment with its attendants: poverty, crime and juvenile delinquency.

If our education is purposeful and fulfils the aim of “fitting the child to live and to live with” this situation need not have reached such alarming proportions. In primitive society, there is no such thing as unemployment. This is a disease of civilisation and its main carrier is Education which is irrelevant to the needs of society.

Most of the youths of today are like the young North American Red Indian who after being educated by the White Man in a university and sent back to live among his people, found that he knew nothing. He could neither hunt nor fish, nor could he make anything with his hands, so he became a burden to his community.

Literacy is an important facet of Education, but not the most important. Children need skill in the use of their hands and the ability to think clearly.. Too much cramming is done in school in order to make a show at inspection or examination. Pupils memorise what they cannot digest, nor care to. Even mathematical problems are crammed, when the important thing is to exercise thinking.

In planning the Educational programme, thought should be given to the crucial years of the child, the ages between fourteen and sixteen, those ebullient teenage years, when he will be out of school. With nothing to do and the lack of ability to do anything, he will land into trouble. However, if he is trained to use his hands and to think, he will at least employ his hands and mind until he can do better.

Resourcefulness of character is very much needed in this age of machines. With machines replacing men and the population increasing, what will the many do after the few have been absorbed? Hands and heads will have to come to play in order to save a critical situation.

There are however a very few enterprising schools that have done their best in this direction. Some of the youths leaving school find their time profitably employed in gardening, stock rearing, needlework, woodwork, basketry and other handicrafts.

Unemployment can only be defeated by Education that is relevant; School leavers will have to be equipped to face the new situation. They will need the qualities for their new adventure. These qualities have to be trained and inspired. Can our Primary Schools rise to the challenge.

Randall Butisingh


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