Gloomy clouds overshadow the future of Jamaica’s societal builders. It has come to my attention that educational facilities, often underappreciated by the average Jamaican high school student, may be seen as luxuries and long-lost treasures to the students of Haile Selassie High School, both past and present. Why is it, that a school recognized by the Ministry of Education is allowed to function in such a substandard learning environment? Mind you, in reference to the immediate surroundings, I chastise not the community, but the conditions under which the students valiantly accomplish academic and sporting heights. Haile Selassie High School has been crowned all-island badminton schools league champions for the past academic year. The school boasts three national representatives in Shakira Bailey, Shinell Hyatt and past-student, Shawn Forrester. This is mainly due to the persistence of national and school coach Lisco Jackson (PASO Level 3 Badminton Coach). Jackson, who has a personal relationship with most, if not all his athletes, takes an interest, not only in their athletic prowess, but also in their personal development. A prime example of what is necessary if we are to recover the lost youth in search of faith, independence and companionship. He, the Dean of Discipline, among other educators intimately connected to the school, voiced financial stagnation as their main deterrent.
Even with that prospect, students have acknowledged a lack thereof and decided against making it a hurdle. Rather, they have embarked upon a few beautification projects of their own, utilizing their own manpower. These enhancement projects include painting uplifting and inspiring images applicable by anyone who has had the honour of roaming the school’s walls. Said students resonate and beam brightly with potential, potential which has to escalate into much more. Isn’t being a Good Samaritan more crucial than having the capacity to be one? It is my astute belief that students of any kind and of every school should never be in need of methods, tools and practices essential for their characteristic, educational and personal manifestation into self-sufficient beings. In the case of Haile Selassie High School, the football pitch has been blanketed by sheets of dust and dirt which circumnavigates the compound. Pebbles and stones of slightly greater magnitudes decorate the field, all of which are sanctioned as hazardous and inadequate conditions under which to play football. Obviously, proud students of the school, competitors and officials would be discouraged from playing, competing and officiating under such circumstances; Thus, resulting in their absence from and lack of participation in any inter-secondary school competitions.
Now, having something so invaluable is one thing, but its preservation is another. Proper maintenance and upkeep of all educational facilities must be taught and enforced. This is the only way that the lifespan of netball courts, cricket pitches, athletic tracks etcetera can be lengthened. These mandatories should be able to serve generations of students before the call for renovation and refurbishment. I also believe that students must practice and retain information about planting, growing, reaping and preparing their own food. For that to be done, there must be allocated plots of land for agriculture, gardening and kitchens for creative cooking. There is no need to seek international assistance when our farmers, chefs and teachers are being sought out overseas. We are all capable of making the ‘dream’ into a reality; solely requiring unity and employing impartiality. A school or any other educational institution should never be shut down because it cannot support itself. Should a nation stop operating and governing the affairs of its people simply because it can’t afford it? The Ministry of Education ought to teach schools means of earning their own capital to fund their own spending. Each school should receive quarterly grants which contribute to that school’s enhancement. Schools educate our nation’s children, who are tomorrow’s nation. Without education there will be widespread mental segregation.
Haile Selassie High School must have a physics, biology and chemistry lab for the students to grasp concepts being taught with a more ‘hands on’ approach. Experiments of such nature guarantee the development of more specialized students who may move on to realize the pinnacle of expertise. Distilled water, free of harmful substances, must be flowing through the school’s pipes. The students must be able to walk through a confined area of higher learning with clean unpolluted air from which to breathe. To deny them these overlooked necessities is to deny them a future, and in doing so, also denying our nation’s future. What an immense shame it would be, for H.I.M Haile Selassie I who laid foundation for the erection of a free learning sanctuary in Kingston, Jamaica to behold its existence today.
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