The importance of science to kids

I noticed that there are many Bahamians who tend to shy away from scientific subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics in high school, and then struggle severely with them in college (when they choose to do science-based majors).

But the question is, why?

Is it because of religious reasoning? Is it because the older generation tend to make science seem hard and that only the intelligent can manage with it? is it just too elusive when taught in schools?

Well, I have my own ideas on how this could be the case:

1. Science and religion don’t really get along too well– Science is based on pure facts that can be measured, justified and experimented on to get the same results while religion is based on faith (believing in things that you cannot perceive nor quantify in the natural realm). As you can see, the two are seemingly contradictory, which makes it difficult for the average Bahamian to accept one or the other, especially since The Bahamas considers itself a ‘Christian nation.’ Many Bahamians feel that exploring a science can ‘test their faith.’

2. Asking questions is taboo– Many black Bahamians (well I find that this occurs throughout the African diaspora) tend to teach their children that questioning authority is wrong, including God. Science, on the other hand, questions everything, even the very existence of God. Again, both are seemingly contradictory.

3. Lack of role models– We are having a serious brain drain problem in which educated Bahamians (especially those that are great in research) are forced to find jobs to support their career goals elsewhere in the world simply because the older Bahamians don’t accept/understand concepts that they were never introduced to. In other words, the older generation is vastly afraid of change and are too complacent to accept any new ideas that might rock their boats for the first few years of its implementation. Thus, many young Bahamians don’t see that strong research component represented. The only scientific fields that are represented are medical (physicians or nurses) and maybe pharmaceuticals

4. The information presented seems hard to understand– science can become very complex the deeper you get into it. If you don’t understand the basics very well, it will be extremely hard to understand more complex topics such as organic chemistry and biochemistry.

There may be a few other reasons that are not listed here (if you have some ideas, please place them in the comment section below). However, the average Bahamian need not be afraid or trepidatious when it comes to science and research because each country needs its own groups of researchers that will help it to succeed. It’s how most first world countries become first world countries. Also, not everything that works for other countries will work for our own, thus we need unorthodox forward-thinking individuals and this is something that must be instilled within our kids from a young age.

Here’s why.

Learning science encourages interest in research

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One of the things that we have to stop doing to our kids, especially in the black community, is forbidding them from asking questions. We should allow their curiosity to be peaked and try to answer as best as we can. And for those answers that we don’t know, encourage them to do their own research.

This is what science is. Asking questions and conducting research to try to find an answer to those questions. By asking questions, we are allowing our minds to venture off outside of the box. We need this in Bahamian society.

There is also this fallacy that many Christians love to purport which is, “God doesn’t want us to ask Him questions.” This could not be further from the truth. There were so many prophets, Kings and others who asked questions that God actually provides the answer for. In fact, many of them challenged God to prove his power, authority and even His promises of which He obliged (see Gideon, Abraham, Jonah, Moses, Jeremiah, Simon Peter, even Jesus to an extent, just to name a few). There is no excuse for us as human beings to not ask questions.

Learning science encourages critical thinking

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When you are allowed to ask questions and you then research the answers, you start to relate commonalities between uncommon things and are able to decipher between what is useful and what is pure garbage.

Our Bahamian populace lacks this quality immensely and it is crippling us as a country, on the whole, affecting all areas from politics to education.

I am also quite aware that there are millions of people in first world countries that lack this quality as well. However, the reason why they thrive so well and for so long is because science is encouraged through STEM programs and science fairs/competitions in schools. This encouragement stems from the need to survive centuries of existential crises such as wars, viral/bacterial epidemics, famine, and drought.

The Bahamas, in its entirety, hasn’t had a need to fight in a war since the American War of Independence of 1776 which means that we never really had to fight for survival in that sense. We just depended upon our first world counterparts for answers, protection, and money. We are also at a disadvantage because these countries have millions of people whereas we only have around 400,000 citizens. But this is exactly where we can shine.

Learning science should not disrupt religious beliefs

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In fact, it should magnify it. I do identify myself as a Christ lover (as you can tell by the slightly biased imagery and tone of this article haha) and through science, I’ve come to understand the beauty and complexity of the world that He created. Do you know that with all the knowledge that we have today, it only just scratches the surface?

There is just wayyyyy too many things that science can’t answer yet and it will take some thousands of years before it is able to access the meat of how our world/universe works. Thousands. That in and of itself is amazing.

Now, there are a lot of scientists who lose their faith in religion because they become too logical; they are constantly looking for answers and proof of their answers. And truth be told, a lot of these answers cannot be easily found in religion as it is a personal and spiritual relationship with an unseen being (in most cases). But if you really believe that there is a divine being then you should not feel threatened in any way as you start to learn and explore more about the world.

I can’t speak for any other religion, but in Christianity, the Bible teaches us to seek knowledge first from our heavenly creator by reading the bible. He also wants us to understand the world around us because we are living in it for a short time. God also wants us to ask for wisdom and He will freely give it to us. Contrary to popular belief, God doesn’t withhold anything from us. He just waits for the best time to reveal it.

Science is a necessity. Not an option.

It’s how surgeons learn how to operate on you precisely. Its how pharmaceutical companies create medication to heal (or at least ease) some of the most terrible illnesses. It’s how we can use the very device that you are using to read this article right now. Its how we are able to consume the foods we like year-round. Its how we are able to drink the drinks we like and also have the ability to taste other types of distilled water. It’s how we are able to travel via car, boats, planes, and trains on a day to day basis. Its how we build our homes, offices and other structures. It’s how we understand music.

Science is all around us. It’s time for us Bahamians to take it seriously.

Chemistry Study Tips

Chemistry is one of those subjects that you simply cannot absorb by reading.

You must apply the principles by practicing equations and relating everything you’ve learned to something you encounter every day.

I think a lot of us have issues understanding science topics, especially chemistry because we can’t see it in our every day lives. So to help you out, I’ve devised several ways in which you can start to prepare for chemistry

1. Understand that chemistry happens all around us

The hardest thing to do when you begin studying chemistry is to apply theory to practice. If you can just begin to understand that everything that happens around you is some kind of chemical reaction, then you are able to proceed.

For example, I want you to imagine that you are sitting in your favorite restaurant waiting for your food to arrive. You see and smell so many different aromas within the restaurant that your body produces chemicals to

  1. identify the different smells (every fragrance is a chemical that your body perceives)
  2. identify the different foods by sight
  3. fill the brain so that it can prepare the body for the meal

Now, I want you to imagine that the waiter finally brings your food and note how you feel when you see the waiter arrive and when you take the first bite. You now have chemicals that

  1. fills your brain and causes you to feel happy
  2. fills your mouth with saliva, which also have chemicals to break down the food
  3. fills your taste buds and then send those same chemical messages to the brain so that you are able to taste the food
  4. breaks down food while it is in the stomach

So on, and so forth.

and this is just a small tidbit. Try to think of other scenarios which require chemical reactions (leave them in the comments below).

2. Understand that theories in chemistry are applicable and not invisible

After you understand that chemical reactions happen all around us every day, always remember that scientific theories are not always abstract, invisible, nor hypothetical.

For example, the atomic theory states that matter is comprised of tiny units called atoms. In the earlier years, the atom was just a philosophical concept because it was invisible to the naked eye. However, in the 20th century, the atom’s existence was proven and even smaller units of the atom could have actually been seen because of electromagnetism and radioactivity.

These smaller units were called protons, neutrons and electrons and the interaction of these smaller units is the basis of what helps us to understand different chemical reactions.

This means that scientific theories are not guesses: they are based upon factual evidence. They are only called theories because there are still some missing pieces of the puzzle that scientists have yet to uncover (God made this world quite complex).

3. Understand that chemistry has patterns

Let’s say you are studying the periodic table of elements and its trends across and down the table.

Assuming that you already understand the basics of the periodic table (if not, please leave me a comment below and I will explain), I will show you how it has a pattern.

For example, the atomic radius (which is the total distance from one end of the atom’s electron shell to another) increases as you go down the periodic table (this makes it very easy for them to give away electrons) but decreases as you go from left to right (thus more difficult to take away electrons).

Why? because as you add protons to the nucleus going across the table from left to right, the more the nucleus squeezes in itself and thus, making the entire atom smaller and the attraction of the electrons to the nucleus stronger.

And based upon these facts, it means that the ionization energy (the amount of energy needed to remove an electron) and electronegativity (the ability to gain electrons) increase going from left to right and decrease going from top to bottom.

Phew. I didn’t mean to give you a chemistry lesson but this is just to give you an idea of how to break things down and see some patterns.

4. Relate your topic to something that you see every day and actually understand.

Using the same atomic radius example above, take a picture of an atom and relate it to something you recognize, like an onion.

An onion has a lot of outer layers. The bigger the onion, the more layers it has and the longer it takes to reach to its core. It’s also very easy to peel off its top layers but the inner layers takes some work. This is easily compared to the atom. The top layer/valence shell of the electrons is the most reactive. Because the inner layers are closer to the nucleus, then its harder for them to be removed.

5. Always use visual demonstrations

This may include finding interesting videos on youtube, like this one, that has a lot of visual representation, animation, and clear and precise explanations.

You can also try free websites like Khan Academy or any of these free online courses to help you with any clarifications.

Of course, if you need one-on-one help, I am available through skype sessions (if you live outside of Nassau, Bahamas).

6. Repeat after me: Cramming is WRONG!

You cannot, and I repeat, CANNOT study for a chemistry test the night of…or even the week of. you will fail. Trust me.

The only way to completely understand chemistry is to ensure that you are looking at your notes and applying them, ideally, after every lesson.

If you don’t have the time, then pay special attention to your homework. Ask questions about it when you don’t understand. Don’t just hand in crappy work to pass and ignore it. Take your time to ensure you understand what you are talking about.

Once you understand these concepts, you will be a chem whiz in no time!

Happy studying! 🙂

 

 

TESL Enthusiasts: i-to-i TEFL Review

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links so I may receive small commissions when you click on some of these links

Name: i-to-i TEFL Review


Happy New Adventure

Subjects taught: Teaching English as a Second Language certification in 2 levels (level 3 and Level 5)

Price Range: $139.60 for level 3 course; $398 for level 5 course. There are also internship packages and other course bundles (which I will outline below).

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Are you an avid adventure seeker? Do you like experiencing different cultures? Do you like learning languages? Do you like teaching? Do you have the flexibility to move to an entirely different country?

If you answered yes to any three of these questions, then Teaching English As a Foreign Language (TEFL) could very well be for you. But in order to do this, you will need to have obtained a bachelor’s degree (in any field really) and then go through the right programs that are certified in TEFL (so no-one can send you in the middle of a jungle with no aid in sight) and i-to-i TEFL is a good choice for that.

Who is i-to-i TEFL?

It’s both an online and on-site training certification program for those that are interested in teaching English as a second language in different countries. Additionally, after completing the training course, they help you find paid internships and also jobs in any non-English-speaking country in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Latin America and online.

The company first began in 1994 in a classroom and then moved into the online field in 2001. They became the very

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first tutoring program that offered classes online and the longest-running TEFL program to date.

i-to-i TEFL is accredited by The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), which is a government agency in England that regulates qualifications, examinations, and tests.

Now, after explaining all of this, I know that this may be a question that all of you are asking: Is it mandatory for those who are native English speakers to receive certification to teach English as a Foreign language?

Yes. In this day and age, most businesses and/or schools are not going to accept applications without it. even if you have your degree in teaching. This is because teaching English as a second language is hard work, especially if you don’t speak the local language. Plus, you are guaranteed a higher salary with the certification than without it.

What are some of the services?

There are two main courses that the program offers; Level 3 TEFL courses and Level 5 TEFL courses. There are also paid Internship packages and course bundles that might be of interest. I will go in detail of each. The total access time to all of these resources is 6 months from the time you purchase them.

Level 3 TEFL courses

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These are cheaper courses that can either prepare you to teach while volunteering in different countries or prepares you to go into teaching TEFL full time. All of these courses are online so it can fit around your time.

You can choose one out of 3 options of total hours that range from 120h to 300h.

  1. 120h: it is an English government regulated course that is internationally recognized and you have access to support and feedback from qualified tutors. This cost $139.60.
  2. 180h: You have all the benefits of the 120h included and then there is an additional bonus of a 30h teaching young learners course and 30hour awareness of grammar course. This package cost $179.60.
  3. 300h: you have all the benefits of the 180h course included as well as additional options in a 30h advanced lesson planning course, course on teaching one-to-one tutoring and 60 hours teaching business English course. This package costs $259.60

In my opinion, if you are already a full-time teacher and just looking for certification, then the 120h course is the perfect package for you. If you have no experience in teaching what-so-ever, then the 300h package is perfect for you.

Level 5 TEFL courses

This is a certificate course that’s said to give you access to some of the most competitive jobs worldwide. Each course is divided into three nodules with a test at the end of each nodule. Then you must take a final assessment in which you create lesson plans and discuss it with a tutor, then take a final exam.

You can choose one out of 3 options of total hours ranging from 180hours to 300 hours based upon your budget:

  1. The 180h course is a level 5 English government regulated course that allows you feedback from qualified tutors, is recognized and highly respected by employers and is slated to boost your earning and employment potential. This course costs $398.00.
  2. The 240h course includes all the perks of the 180h course and then adds an option of training in one-to-one teaching and online course that is 60 hours long. All of this will cost $478.00.
  3. The 300h course includes all the perks of the 240h course and then adds an option of learning how to teach business English, which is 60hours long. This package cost $518.00

In my opinion, you can get by with the 180h course if you’re on a tight budget. However, the 300h course is ideal because it includes certification in teaching business English, which is a plus because you literally can teach anywhere that has foreign non-English-speaking workers, including in your home town.

Now you may be asking, “what’s the difference between the Level 3 TEFL courses and the Level 5 TEFL courses?”

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Well on their website, they suggest that the Level 5 courses are ideal because you can teach English worldwide at competitive locations whereas the level 3 courses are mainly for those who would like to teach English while volunteering in less competitive locations and you don’t need great English to learn from this course. But I decided to do a little research of my own.

The level 5 course is considered similar to a CELTA and Trinity certification (which are strict courses created by Cambridge University). There are even some jobs that list the CELTA certification specifically. This may be considered a plus if you were to choose to do a level 5 course. However, there is a possibility that these particular companies are only recognizing CELTA qualifications so they may not recognize the level 5 i-to-i training course. In this respect, you must do your research.

The fact that there may not be a lot of businesses accepted i-to-i TEFL courses can also limit the amount of choices to only those that are in partnership with i-to-i TEFL.

Additionally, the minimum industry standard number of hours that a person must have by the end of a completed course is 120hours, so depending upon your goals, you may not need more than a standard level 3 training.

Also, the courses are filled with theoretical concepts, much of it is barely applicable to real-world application but it will get your foot in the door to many foreign businesses. So I would suggest selecting the course that fits your budget and meets the requirements of a specific job that you are interested in.

Internship Packages

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You have the option of 3 different packages where you can stay in a particular country for a short period of time while being paid. These packages include free accommodations, in-country support, orientation, visa experience and you can choose if you would rather volunteer your time than being paid for the internship. Please note that the prices for these packages may not be the same as this post. The packages include:

  1. Paid Vietnam Internship cost $777.00 – This package includes
    1. 120hrs online TEFL training,
    2. 5-month teaching internship,
    3. $700 US monthly salary (with a $700 bonus upon completion of course),
    4. Vietnamese lessons,
    5. accommodation and support throughout the internship and
    6. it can host a group of 75 people or more.
    7. The only drawbacks are that you must already have a degree, must be between the ages of 20 and 35, and you must hold a passport from South Africa, UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. The deadline to apply for this program is January 24th, 2020 and once you would have applied, you have the option of choosing 2 different dates out of the year to go. Of course, there will be other opportunities to apply if you had missed this deadline. You also will need to sort out flight, visa info, and travel insurance yourself as these are not included in the package. Lastly, it is imperative to budget at least $220 for your first month as you won’t be paid until the end of the month.
  2. Thailand TEFL internship cost $837.00 – This package includes:
    1. 120hrs online TEFL training,
    2. 7 week (or 2 months) volunteer internship (i.e. not paid),
    3. accommodations (where you will have a roommate or a friend living with you),
    4. orientation and full support throughout the internship and
    5. is for a group of 20 or more students.
    6. The good thing about this program is that you don’t need a degree or prior teaching experience and its available to individuals between the 18-35 years. You’d also need to budget $360 per month.
  3. Paid China Internship cost $770.00 – includes
    1. 120h of online training,
    2. 5 months internship teaching English,
    3. lessons in mandarin,
    4. orientation and full support,
    5. accommodation,
    6. $260 monthly allowance with a $650 bonus for completion and
    7. orientation and full support throughout.
    8. Can also take a group size of 100 and more and for those between the ages of 18 and 45. However, just as in the previous internships, you will have to prepare at least $55 for the first month as you will not be paid until the end of the first month.
    9. The great thing about this internship is that you don’t need prior teaching experience, a university degree or a second language.

Other Course Bundles

Of course, TEFL allows you to customize your courses with different add-ons so that it is more specified to you. However, I must note that these add on can only be added if you have already purchased a course.

Level 3 course bundle:

  1. Bronze bundle- $59.95: includes 5 different ebooks that range from career planning to grammar. Also, has a 15-hour extension
  2. Silver bundle- $79.95: includes a 30-day extension, 5 ebooks, and a TEFL job guide
  3. Gold bundle- $99.95: includes a 90-month extension, 5 ebooks, TEFL job guide, becoming an online tutor course, how to teach teenagers course and how to become an IETLS coach.

Level 5 course bundle:

  1. Bronze bundle- $39.95: includes 4 ebooks, 30-day extension, and a grammar guide
  2. Silver bundle- $59.95: includes 4 ebooks, 90-day extension grammar guide, and a TEFL ebook
  3. Gold bundle- $74.95: includes all that’s included in the silver bundle with an additional finding a TEFL job guide, How to teach English online and already done lesson plans

Internship bundle $44.95:

includes already made lesson plans, 3 essential ebooks, grammar guide, teaching teenagers course, teaching young learners course, and 12-month access to the course.

If you ask me, the level 3 and level 5 bundles seems unnecessary unless you see that

a). There is something else that interests you or

b). You’ve noticed through your job search that one of the add on bundles has what you need that the regular course doesn’t.

The only bundle that makes sense to me is the internship bundle as everything comes pre-prepared so you are ready to teach as soon as you arrive. The problem with that is, will you actually learn anything while there?

Pros

  1. Flexibility of hours- you can do your lessons any time you want
  2. budget-friendly- all of these course packages are designed to give you the best bite for your buck at your budget (in fact, they are very inexpensive compared to other TEFL certification courses).
  3. You have access to thousands of jobs through their job bank
  4. you’re able to receive on the job training through both their paid and unpaid internships
  5. they don’t leave you basically defenseless during their internships- they provide accommodations, at least one meal, and 24h support.
  6. certain add-ons include lesson planning, which cuts A LOT of time off your hands (trust me. lesson planning can suck at times).
  7. their website is very user-friendly. Everything can be found easily.

Cons

  1. the certification may only limit you to the jobs offered by i-to-i
  2. you’re not able to adjust the course with the add-on (for example, switch out one option for a next).
  3. too many options can seem overwhelming to anyone
  4. The course material themselves are not as mind-boggling as some say in their reviews. It’s mostly surface knowledge but you can get by with it.
  5. You are limited to the amount of time you can access your course material (you don’t have it for life)
  6. the internships are only available to those who hold passports from the countries listed above (however, its worth a shot to still ask anyway if you are from an English-speaking country not listed).

So should you buy?

Whew!

I know this one was a lot of information to wrap your head around but I wanted to make sure that I was as in-depth as possible.

The i-to-i TEFL courses are viable options if you are interested in dabbling in teaching English as a foreign language world and want to see if you would keep it as a career. This is because they are some of the most inexpensive courses that are offered, especially in the online world, and they are government certified.

For those who are just interested in getting certification, the level 3 120h certification course will be just enough. For those of you who know that you want to pursue TEFL as a career, then I would recommend the level 5 300h course. Anything else in between is just a waste of time and money in my opinion.

I would also suggest purchasing add-ons for the internship so that you won’t be so overwhelmed with trying to complete lesson plans while learning how to adapt to a certain culture. That will be extremely helpful. Trust me.

There you have it! if you are interested in learning more about the i-to-i TEFL courses or maybe you have already made up your mind to purchase ——–>click here<————

See you soon!

Why College Education?:The difference between obtaining a degree and recieving education

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Hey guys!

I know it’s been a while since I have posted an article (2 weeks to be exact) and that’s because I was having too much fun during my Christmas break (i.e. sleeping lol)

But I was talking to a Gambian young man recently who raised some issues that, quite frankly, all of us are facing and is exacerbated in Africa.

That is, you’re taught that obtaining a degree/multiple degrees will get you a good job and afford you a better life.

I have learned from personal experience that that is not true. At all. Especially in the Bahamas. In fact, after I busted my butt and had mental break downs several times trying to obtain my bachelor’s degree, I tried to enter the job market and failed miserably.

Why? because there were no jobs available to me.

And this is the case with many individuals, especially Bahamians. You will find that the jobs aren’t there and if you happened to get one, the salary is not what you would expect.

On top of that, there is the issue of cronyism (where friends and/or family is appointed high positions and qualifications are disregarded), lack of job security and a lack of respect for younger citizens entering the job market because they threaten the position of older, less qualified managers.

Now please don’t get me wrong. Education is highly important because you need to learn what you don’t know from those that do but there is a difference between receiving a good education and obtaining degrees and we as a people need to stray away from teaching our kids the latter.

1. College education is supposed to be an enlightening experience

With a show of virtual hands, how many of us actually made our own decision to go to college/university because we found our purpose in life and that purpose required higher education?

 

I bet that if I was in a room with 100 other people, maybe 10 people would raise their hands.

I’d also bet that the reason why the rest of us didn’t raise our hands included our parents having to push us into going to college. To them, it’s necessary financially, but not because it’s supposed to grow you as a person so that you’re able to obtain the financial gains that you need.

I personally have faced this fact. I went to college because it was the next automatic step in a student journey, without knowing exactly my purpose and why I needed to complete the course.

Eventually, I found that my path was leaning more towards music therapy and music education (which is a HUGE deviation from my degree in Bio/chem) and this required me to go back to school.

Thus, I ended up with a degree that is useless to me after finding my purpose and other interests.

2. College education is supposed to be an investment in your knowledge, not an investment on a degree.

As my Grammy would tell me, “they can take your food, they can take your clothes, they can take your money and they can even take your life, but what you put up here *points to head* they can never take that from you.”

This is gold because my grandmother came from a time when she actually witnessed segregation between whites and blacks, including in education. She knows how disproportioned blacks were in society and she knew that receiving education would break the cycle and cause prosperity in the black home. This is why she would push us to get “as much education as you can,” which would, in some cases, entail going to college.

Our grandparents probably tried to convince our parents to do that too but it didn’t travail as much then as it does now. So I think that our parents have realized the importance of college education after seeing other black families prosper when their children completed college.

But they made a slight error when they equated their success to the degree that they obtained, not their actual knowledge base, which resulted in them throwing money at a college/university for their child/children to blindly complete by any means necessary.

This is how we ended up with a lot of degree-holding individuals, who are not that smart.

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Additionally, if the child decides to go off to school in another city or country then in most cases, if they don’t receive full scholarship, the parent and/or child have to take out an educational loan. So when the child is going to school just to obtain a degree because it’s the next step, then that’s exactly what they will get….and also drowning in a boatload of debt.

3. Not everyone was made/created to attend a College/University

Everyone will not need a Ph.D. to complete their educational training (in fact, I would suggest only going to do the Ph.D. if you’re strongly interested in research and teaching at the university level).

Everyone will not need a Master’s degree. There are some professions that requires you to have a Masters to be considered certified, which includes doctors and psychologists. And this depends on what country you plan to stay in, really.

Everyone will not need a Bachelor’s degree. Now, this is a hard sell because a lot of entry-level positions now require a bachelor level degree. However, if you’re into entrepreneurship, you don’t need a 4-year college education. You just need a good mentor and, if needed, pay for really inexpensive classes online.

Obtaining an associates degree is a waste of time and money because it has become outdated.

Lastly, there are some of us who are more talented with using our hands, i.e. trades. These professions include plumbers, electricians, landscape developers, cooks/chefs, mechanics, musicians etc and a lot of these professions simply requires a certification program and apprenticeship (where you’re learning under a seasoned professional who knows the ins and outs of the profession).

I leave you with this:

Please remember that each of your children have unique qualities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Don’t try to place them in a small box

Don’t try to dictate them into areas that you think they should go because it’s YOUR regret. Not theirs.

Don’t compare them to other children, or even their own siblings.

Don’t get mad when they decide to drop out of college or not go to college at all.

Encourage education on THEIR strengths and unique qualities. They will thank you later for it.

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I’d like to hear from you. Do you think that going to college is necessary today? Would you still push your kids to go through with it? Please leave your opinions in the comment section below. I’d love to learn what you think!

A look into Political influence on education: History of education in the Bahamas Part V

In one of my earlier posts, history of tutoring, I talked about how the British government did not get involved with education until 1833. This meant that the colonies would be affected simultaneously because the Governors who were assigned to each colony was in charge of ensuring that the wishes of the Crown were carried out.

Now, this did not necessarily mean that the Crown, and subsequently its host of royal Governors, somehow understood their populace and wanted to help them because the common man at the time had no need or interest in pursuing education.

At all.

Therefore, the real reason the Crown heavily advanced education was because they saw a need for more trained skilled workers to build housing, buildings, and bridges throughout Great Britain. But in order to do that, they needed a large workforce, most of whom were uneducated. Hence, the drive to make education available and accessible to the majority, who were poor subsistence farmers and the only things that they were educated on was arithmetic, writing and reading.

But what did that mean for The Bahamas?

Well first, let’s talk about the establishment of the local Bahamian government (otherwise known as the House of Assembly) and it’s really…tumultuous relationship with the Crown.

Who is the House of Assembly?

The House of Assembly (previously known as the General Assembly) is a local governing body of a commonwealth country that consists of elected Members of Parliament (of which the citizens of the country votes upon). In The Bahamas, the House of Assembly currently consists of 39 seats with each seat representing a constituency in the country.

It was first established in 1729 because King George II and the Commission had specifically instructed Governor Woods Rodgers to do so as the newly appointed Governor of The Bahamas. Actually, this would be the second time that Woods Rodgers became the governor because his first time governing over the country left him broke, sick and emotionally depleted (he ended up using all of his finances to try to improve the dire state of the Bahamas, only to be met with backlash from the locals and having to run back to England to claim bankruptcy).

Upon his return, he separated The Bahamas (which was only Nassau, Harbor Island and Eleuthera at the time) into 5 districts and fixed the number of Members of Parliament to 24. The eligible citizens then took two weeks and voted for their preferred Members of Parliament and the newly formed General Assembly met for the first time at one of the elected member’s house on September 29, 1729. Almost immediately, a fight broke out between the House of Assembly and Governor Rogers and suffice it to say, this power struggle lasted for more than a year until Governor Rogers decided to dissolve the Assembly in December 1730.

From then on, the duration and sustainability of the General Assembly relied solely on the wishes of the Governors. Additionally, the struggles between the Governor and the elected House of Assembly lasted until the country received independence from the British Government in 1973.

So did this fierce political friction affect education?

Actually initially, there wasn’t any friction between the Governors and the House of Assembly when it came to education of the poor. As a matter of fact, by the early 1820s, the government became strong advocates for education as they worked together along with the church to try to bring free education to the poor.

However, it’s important to note that those who were elected into the General Assembly were rich, white merchants. Some of them owned plantations for themselves throughout the colony. So, of course, there wasn’t any problem with educating the poor…as long as they were white. This meant that when governors started to show sympathy and advocated for equal educational rights for the black population, the white slave owners became agitated

And you can only imagine the power struggle between the Governors and the House of Assembly when it came to education of slaves and freed black men.

Sir James Charmichael Smyth

For example, Governor Sir James Charmichael-Smyth (Governor of the Bahamas from 1829-1833), once warmly welcomed by the whites in Bahamian society, was automatically rejected and hated once it was made known that he was a fierce advocate for the abolition of slavery and the advancement of freed colored people. Also, his stance was so strong that he created two schools in both Adelaide and Charmiachel settlements because they were considered experimental settlements for liberated Africans.

Now it is important to note that during this period, there was a rising amount of free blacks and liberated Africans arriving in the colony, which further fueled animosity between the House of Assembly and Governor Charmichael-Smyth as the House of Assembly (remember they are majority slave owners) wanted to maintain dominance over the growing black population.

Eventually, the House of Assembly caved in and established a Board of Education in 1836, which was shortly after the emancipation of slavery but it was a long way and a hard fight to get there. And because the House of Assembly felt forced to accept emancipation, it reinforced the idea that schools needed to be segregated, which became a law 19 years before emancipation.

What about today?

In 1823, the government reduced expenses towards education (including salary reduction of teachers and headmasters, and funding) and also reduced the number of schools in the colony because those they were trying to help, which would have been the poor whites, were not taking education seriously (there were serious rates of drop-outs and absences, among other issues).

Blacks, who probably were the main ones to want education, were never taken into account in those plans and was only thought of us manual laborers who were “beneath” the whites by the Government.

Today, education of the black population still remains on the back burner by the local government and this is unfathomable because we are led by a majority black government and we STILL see the inequalities surfacing such as

  1. funding to public education continues to be cut every fiscal year (and more money is dumped into tourism, fueling a dependent economy)
  2. the current curriculum is completely outdated and needs to be revised
  3. The national exam, the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE), is an inaccurate measure of a student’s mental acuity because of inconsistencies of its grading system
  4. the rise of learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADHD and autism, just to name a few, are COMPLETELY IGNORED
  5. the problems of overcrowding in public schools have yet to be addressed, which leads to the issue of proper tutelage between teacher and students.

These issues must be examined and addressed in order to improve as a country, otherwise, we are just perpetuating the wishes of our late colonial slave masters: for the black population to remain low-class laborers.

I then leave you with this quote by Robert Kiyosaki that completely resonated with me:

Do you think the Government could do more in the advancement of education in the Bahamas (or whatever country you are from)? Are they doing enough? do you see any progress? Please leave your comments, suggestions, and critiques in the comment section below! I’d love to hear from you!

 

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