Jamaican Politicians Bicker Over Their Mansions While Schools Don’t Have Enough Desks

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Source: Jamaica Observer. Clovis Toons.

Article (re)defined by SM.

Summary:

Each publication of the Jamaica Observer features a cartoon that depicts a specific current event. Clovis Brown, the artist responsible for these cartoons drew the one above soon after schools reopened for the new academic year in September. As the cartoon shows, students were sent home, as some schools did not have adequate resources such as desks and chairs to accommodate them.

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Source: Jamaica Observer. Clovis Toons.

Today, the majority of Clovis’ cartoons are centered around the upcoming general election. This cartoon shows Andrew Holness, the Leader of Opposition as he incites the crowd by encouraging them to “Nyam dem out and vote dem out” which means he is advising his supporters to accept bribes from the other political party while still maintaining their allegiance and vote for his party.

Comments:

The sentiments expressed in the second cartoon represent the type of discourse that usually occurs during an election. Instead of highlighting key issues in education such as the one shown in the first cartoon, the candidates and members of the two major political parties focus on trivial personal affairs. Continue reading

Sino-Jamaican Relations: Implications for Politics, Education and Employment

Article (re)defined by AJ.

Summary:

A recent news story on CVM (a popular Jamaican television station) highlights the plight of 40 Jamaican construction workers on a Chinese owned work site who are protesting exploitive labor practices and low wages. The workers feel they are treated with a lack of dignity, and that the Jamaican government does not respond to their concerns.

The second story was published in the Jamaican Gleaner on November 1, 2015. Economist Densil Williams discusses China’s slowing economy and the potential effects on Jamaica’s economic growth and election outcomes.

Comments:

In recent years, Chinese neocolonial endeavors have begun to shape Jamaica’s economy, environment, and education in significant ways. Through partnerships, Chinese interests have invested in Jamaican education and social services through infrastructure grants, but there are questions about the true nature of China’s neocolonial interest in Jamaica and whether the Jamaican people will truly benefit from sustained interactions between the countries. Continue reading

Study Abroad in Russia—Scholarships for Jamaican Students from Mining Regions

Article (re)defined by AJ.

Summary:

Mining company UC Rusal has resumed large scale bauxite mining activities in Jamaica. In a Jamaica Gleaner newspaper article dated September 8, 2015, this resumption is discussed from an economic perspective with focus given to increased employment opportunities and potential income from bauxite production.

The Jamaica Observer focuses on the educational significance of UC Rusal’s presence in Jamaica in an article dated November 24th of this year. They highlight a new UC Rusal scholarship program for Jamaican students from mining regions. These students will have the opportunity to study STEM subjects in Russia, and are expected to return to Jamaica to “contribute” once they graduate.

Comments:

Jamaica has a long history of bauxite mining which has seen sixty years of foreign-owned companies’ sustained interests in the country’s natural resources. While revenue from bauxite has spurred infrastructural development, there have also been major concerns about environmental degradation and health issues related to mining activities. In addition, much of the actual revenue from bauxite mining and alumina production does not stay in Jamaica. Continue reading

Can Remittances Sustain Jamaican Economy?

Nurses, Teachers and now Farmers Seek Opportunities Abroad.

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Farmers sign up for overseas work program. Source: Observer File Photo.

Article (re)defined by SM.

Summary:

The Jamaica Observer outlines the latest recruitment efforts on the island. The Great Lakes Agricultural Labor Services (GLALS), based in Michigan visited Jamaica to discuss a partnership with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security that would examine potential job prospects for Jamaican farmers. Bob Boehm, the manager at GLALS noted that there is a growing demand for farmers in Michigan and was particularly interested in Jamaican farmers, as he had received “positive feedback on Jamaican workers”.

Comments:

The unemployment rate in Jamaica is presently at 13.2% and an incredible 38% among young people. With these high unemployment rates, more Jamaicans, particularly young people, find themselves seeking opportunities outside of the country. In my last post, I discussed the efforts by Hourglass Education Recruitment Agency to recruit Jamaican teachers who are more likely to stay once they arrive in Britain. The former Minister of Health, Mr Fenton Ferguson challenged the World Health Assembly (WHA) policy on International recruitment as it has had adverse effects on the health industry in Jamaica. Developed countries were recruiting a majority of Jamaican nurses, as they are able to provide better remuneration and benefits. Therefore, as developing countries struggle to provide opportunities for its citizens, it also has to grapple with many of them being recruited by developed countries. Continue reading

United States is the Victim of Dominican Republic’s Xenophobia

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“I Am Dominican and I have rights” Source: Human Rights Watch

Article (re)defined by JB.

Summary: 

Published in the “Liberty” section of the Cato Institute’s website, this online article focuses on the economic hardships endured by Haiti causing migration to the Dominican Republic and the United States.

Comments:

It is interesting that this “Ethnic War” is described in nearly purely economic terms.  Granted, the Cato Institute is a public policy think tank “dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace,” the framing of migration issues in economic terms leaves out the impact of Haiti’s colonial legacy along with the Dominican Republic’s deportation legacy.  Though the article mentions Haiti’s liberation in 1804, there is no discussion of how the international community for years refused to recognize the Haitian government which has produced a long-term detrimental effect on economic growth.  Issues tied to ethnicity are embedded in webs of power inclusive of, but not solely reliant upon the economy.  Bandow’s focus on economics has left many gaps and inadequacies in discussing this situation. Continue reading

Brazil’s Budget Freeze on STEM

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Science without borders. Source: cienciasemfronteiras.gov.br.

Article (re)defined by FG.

Summary:

This article reports on a recent decision by the Brazilian government to freeze the budget destined to its most important STEM education exchange program called ‘Science Without Borders‘ due to the rising exchange rate between the Brazilian currency (BRL) and the US Dollar (USD).

Comments:

In my previous posts, the importance of the STEM fields in the process of “modernization” (through industrialization) has been discussed.

One fairly typical strategy that national governments adopt in Latin American countries (Argentina, Perú, Colombia, Chile; also Caribbean countries such as Jamaica) in order to promote “modernization” (through STEM fields) is to invest in the education of national citizens in institutions abroad. That is, the state provides funding for scholarships so that students (usually graduate students) can pursue degrees in foreign universities (typically, from the First World). In this comment, the focus will be on Brazil’s ‘Science Without Borders‘. Continue reading

Sustainable Military Missions Rely on TVET in Liberia

 

Article (re)defined by JB.

Summary: 

Providing an overview of a mission to assist Liberians with the construction of army barracks, the author Aaron Boehm creates a celebratory tone resonating of the heroism and strength of the Michigan National Guard.  He includes quotes from representatives of the Michigan National Guard to explain the importance of this mission and to highlight their previous international work.

Comments:

Historically, the Liberian Armed Forces has received ongoing support from the United States since the settling of freed American slaves in Liberia.  This historic partnership has been important to Liberia’s ability to maintain independence and essential in rebuilding Liberia post-war.  However, the discourse around these kinds of missions continues to position the United States as the holder of knowledge and expertise.  Countless scholars have critiqued this notion of the Western “expert” in developing countries offering claims that part of the reason so many countries continue to lack in their development efforts is because local knowledge is not valued, projects or missions are not designed with local people as part of the process and partnership efforts become ongoing because they are otherwise not sustainable on the ground.   Continue reading