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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Jamaican Schools

Jamaica is very big on education. A schoolchild generally starts school at the age of 2, when they enter into primary education. It is never too young to start your child in the formal learning process. By the age of 10, a school child enters into what Americans would term "high school." Their usually is a test for these slots. To win a Government Scholarship is a prestigious thing.

School children play the typical games like their American counter parts. We also have our own games we play. Two examples would be , In and Out The Windows and Broke Rock Stones.

The Song for Broke Rock Stones is:

Here are the words to the song in English and Patois

Go down to Emmanuel Road,
Girls and boys to break rock stones.
Break them one by one girls and boys,
Break them two by two girls and boys.,
Break them three by three girls and boys

Gu doung a manual road
gal and bwoy fi go bruk rok stone
bruk dem one by one gal and bwoy
bruk dem two by two gal and bwoy
bruk dem three by three gal and bwoy
...repeat as many times as needed.

I remember going to Prep School in Jamaica and you would never dare talk back to your teachers. Teachers were held in high esteem and regard, and even though our teachers were strict, we still appreciated them. Attributes such as excellence and leadership were constantly instilled in us. In contrast today, everyone wants to be part of a pack. Individuality is frowned on instead of being emulated. As students we were motivated to work hard and get good grades because it made us genuinely feel a sense of accomplishment.

Wearing our school uniforms gave us a sense of pride and made us easily recognizable by rival schools. It was competition, but it was all in good fun.

During these years we were exposed to a well-rounded curriculum: Art, Dance, Music, Sports, Languages, as well as regular academic subjects. We had no options. We participated in all the activities, and I feel that today as we reflect, would agree that we are fortunate to have had those experiences.

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