Critique, Story Come to Bump!
by Denise N. Fyffe
Title: Story come to bump!
Authors: Peter Espeut
Source: The Daily Gleaner, July 5, 2006
‘Story come to bump’, is an enlightening article written in the prestigious Daily Gleaner, on July 5, 2006 by Peter Espeut. He is a sociologist and executive director of an environment and development NGO. Mr. Espeut’s fundamental argument is the lack of space available for students in high schools.
This is highlighted when he points out the situation of the number of students leaving primary schools, which is three times that of the actual spaces available for them in high and secondary schools. He discloses his experience of visiting a government official at the Ministry of Education and his method of choosing who ‘pass’ the GSAT exam.
The official used a ruler to draw a line.
He stated that the successive Jamaican governments have never been able to resolve this issue and the ‘rebaptism’ of ‘new secondary schools’ into ‘high schools’ will not resolve the problem. The situation is made worse by these schools as they are not equipped with the requisite infrastructure to qualify as high schools. Therefore, the level and quality of students will remain deplorable and unequally matched when compared to other traditional high schools.
Mr. Espeut’s article both educates and informs us of a situation that, however, apparent, is still inconspicuous. It is integral to us not only as Jamaicans, but also as parents, educators, and students to understand and learn of the unfair odds we have faced and which our children will or are facing. The author did not approach us in a condescending manner, but his arguments were logical and easy to follow. There was no problem in the comprehension of his points, especially as it relates to the Jamaican milieu. The main idea was clear and reinforced by his easily identified and relatable points, which were strung throughout the article. They included his reference to the government ‘senior official’ and where the ‘rebaptism’ of ‘Holy Trinity Junior Secondary School became Holy Trinity Secondary School, and then Holy Trinity Comprehensive High School, and then Holy Trinity High School’.
It is possible to support or dispute his points. He purports that these schools do not have ‘a science lab, language lab, or a computer lab’; we can check or visit these schools and see for ourselves. Although he used figures, which were dated, they were still relevant to his point and the 1993 data, could be checked with agencies such as the Statistical Institute of Jamaica. It was particularly good; one might add that he utilized statistics in his argument. This supported his authority on the topic, as a sociologist, and made him even more credible, and easier to objectively be of the same opinion and assess.
His title was supported by the last few facts given at the end of the article.
Mr. Espeut highlighted that persons have started to score higher in the GSAT examinations, however dramatic the improvements the adverse effect is that persons who have perfect scores are not guaranteed any scholarship because there isn’t enough. There are also not enough places in the traditional high schools for high achievers therefore they are to utilize the low achiever places. His call for action, though it was not direct, referred to his efforts over the past 15 years in his articles. His only recommendation was to stop preparing students for low-income, manual jobs.
The greater purpose could have been served in ending this article if he had, at least, listed the ‘how’ to his recommendations and not just left the government to do what they have always been doing; making things ‘come to bump’.
In summation and not to detract from Mr. Peter Espeut’s efforts, his article served its purpose, used facts, and highlighted, and supported his issues. But he failed to clearly call for action and his recommendation was not ‘tagged’ with how they should fulfill the suggestion. His article was not hard as nails neither were it as soft it was unpalatable. It was something to consider and whether action or changes result is yet to be seen.