May 23, 2008

FOUR-H CLUBS

Posted in Education, Environment, Philosophy, Thoughts tagged , , , , , , , at 1:46 pm by randallbutisingh

FOUR-H CLUBS

The Four H’s are for Hand, Head,, Heart and Health.

During the fifties, personnel were brought from the U.S.A. by the government to foster these Clubs with the help of the teachers of the Primary Schools. Primary Education was all that the children received up to the age of fourteen in those days. Only the very rich few got a High School education which did not take them further than the Junior and Senior Cambridge. Those who succeeded were drafted into the Civil Service. Those who finished their primary education had no resource as the system stressed the unpractical Three R’s, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. This was all that was needed for the powers that be, the ability of the school leavers to write their signature. Very few, with effective intelligence, got apprenticed to some trade where they worked without pay and were made to do other chores for their masters.. Others helped in hewing wood and hauling water at home or helping in the farm if the parents had one. Most of them lived idly.

The Four-H Club was conceived with the purpose of filling the need of the unemployed youth. They succeeded to a certain extent as boys and girls were motivated to have little kitchen gardens, rear chickens and goats and do craftwork. This went well for some time, but when the organisers left and the teachers were left to carry on, the project collapsed. Teachers were not willing to go the second mile by giving of their spare time or to soil their hands. There was no dignity in that for them.

This was what I wrote to the press when the project was on.

Government is doing good work in fostering Four H Clubs in its development programme.. Buxton is one of the lucky areas, and if the leaders prove capable, the youths would learn the dignity of labour and the nobility of Agriculture, the greatest need, except the spiritual, in any community. In this venture, the school should give active cooperation in the interest of a useful Education.

It is regrettable and tragic that this aspect of the child’s development is being neglected in schools. From early childhood manual training should keep pace with mental training for the acquiring of a balanced personality. Even in a poorly equipped school, and they were many in those days, the opportunity for improvisation and resourcefulness would leave its mark on the character in the attitude of the child to the use of its hands.

In the U.S.A. and other advanced countries there are professionals, adept in trades which they pursued as recreational hobbies. Even Her Majesty the Queen finds interest in flower gardening.. Our Four-H organizers should however bear in mind that the ‘H’ in relation to heart is not the least important as on it hinges the success of the other three.

His Grace the Archbishop of the West Indies, in a letter to his Diocese remarked; “ A sound and extensive community development in all parts of the colony is essential to our national life and progress, and we ought to give our actual support and help to whatever is done to achieve it, but unless those responsible for this development keep in mind the spiritual needs of those for whom they are planning, they will not only be wasting their time and the resources placed at their disposal, but actually sewing the seeds of a future calamity.”

This statement is self-explicit. Unless physical, mental and spiritual attainments keep pace in the march of life, we have no hope of producing a Nation that is self-reliant, resourceful and possessing of that great virtue, the spirit of self-sacrifice.

I wish the Four-H project every success.

— Randall Butisingh

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1 Comment »

  1. Patanjali Ramlall said,

    Sir,
    You once chided a pupil of yours for not understanding “the dignity of labour”. He later pondered that statement at home and his attitude changed towards contributing some service at Lusignan Anglican.

    That statement became my personal philosophy in life’s vicissitudes, I never looked back, and encountered few problems in a changing world. I was totally orphaned at age five.
    You did a wonderful job, and still continue to do so.
    Thanks a million.

    Your chela,
    Patanjali.

    Note: The colonial system developed a strategic system to curtail education at an early age.


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