Mauritius Leads by Example in Fight Against Brain Drain

sashae-5

The Calixto Garcia Hospital in Havana. Source.

Article (re)defined by SM.

Summary:

The article in the Jamaica Observer discusses the new travel permits introduced in Cuba wherein doctors will now have to request permission to travel outside of the country for personal reasons. Cuban authorities noted that health centers are being “seriously affected” by the shortage of medical specialists such as anesthesiologists, surgeons, and cardiologists who have been leaving the island for better paying jobs abroad. This law, according to the government, will help to reduce the number of doctors leaving the country and address the significant impacts of brain drain on the economy.

Comments:

My previous blog posts discussed how postcolonial societies struggled and continue to grapple with increased numbers of skilled individuals like teachers, nurses and farmers leaving their home country and seeking opportunities overseas. This post, however, examines the other side of this discourse by exploring how countries are working to address the impacts of brain drain. With the recent restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and United States, more Cubans–particularly medical specialists–are leaving the island in search of a better livelihood. Although this policy may be considered extreme in that individuals should be free to travel at their own discretion, Cuba is one of the first islands in the Caribbean to develop tangible ways to tackle brain drain. Jamaica, for example, has recorded an unemployment rate of 38% among young people and the government has yet to identify how it plans to improve this situation. Therefore, young people describe life in the Caribbean as “living without hope” while they desperately look for ways to migrate.  
Continue reading

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

11856607_629128603856790_94896500_n

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.

edt16

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

Can Remittances Sustain Jamaican Economy?

Nurses, Teachers and now Farmers Seek Opportunities Abroad.

farm-work

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

Britain Takes Teachers with One Hand; Gives Prisoners with the Other

A-classroom-in-Montego-Ba-009

A classroom in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where teachers may earn a fifth of the salary of UK teachers. Photograph: Myloupe/UIG via Getty Images.

Article (re)defined by SM.

Summary:

The article in The Guardian outlines Geoff Brown’s efforts to recruit Jamaican teachers. Mr. Brown, the director of the Hourglass Education Recruitment Agency, was on another visit to the island to interview teachers who would help to address the significant shortage of teachers in Britain. He explained that Britain expanded their recruitment efforts to New Zealand, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Jamaica; but the Jamaican teachers are highly desirable. Once the Jamaican teachers arrive in Britain, they – unlike others – were more likely to stay.

Comments:

Jamaica, has been struggling since gaining independence from Britain in 1962 to rebuild its economy. While under British rule, Jamaica sent raw materials to Britain where manufacturing occurred. This cycle of extracting resources from developing countries has continued even after the end of colonization. In some cases, the resources are now in the form of human capital, especially trained professionals like teachers. The article highlights that in the 1960s, Britain looked to Jamaica for tube and bus drivers and is today looking for teachers. Continue reading

Plan Hopes to Improve Math Scores in Two Years…But Then What?

Rev. Ronald Thwaites, Minister of Education Source: The Jamaica Observer

Rev. Ronald Thwaites, Minister of Education.
Source: The Jamaica Observer.

Article (re)defined by SM.

Summary:

The article in The Jamaica Observer highlights the recent pilot project developed by the Ministry of Education to improve numeracy rates by providing parents with mathematics training. This project, funded by the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) and the Embassy of Japan will work with low-income parents in two rural communities over two years. The author outlines that the project is motivated by the Ministry’s goal to achieve at least 85% mastery on the Grade Four Numeracy Test by 2018.

Comments:

The Grade Four Numeracy Test is a national exam that determines mathematical proficiency levels among Jamaican students. This exam has received significant attention in the past 5 years as more than 50% of students at the grade four level were failing and as such were considered not numerate. Several factors have been highlighted as contributing to these low levels. Some of these factors include: teacher quality, ineffective methodologies being used in math sessions, lack of parental involvement among many others. This article focuses on the role of parents in addressing the numeracy levels among Jamaican young people.
The article uses quotes from and an image of the Minister to convey the importance of this project. Although the Minister announced the project, his picture is somewhat unnecessary. Perhaps, a picture of a group of parents working with their children on an assignment would be more appropriate, since the article is based on targeting parents. Continue reading