We should teach the history of our people

July 26, 2019

I think it's time for the government to reintroduce civics and Jamaican history into our schools. Too many young people today know so very little about their own country, and for me, that makes it easier for them to be influenced by the history and culture of other countries.

It bothers me terribly when I run into young people, something relating to our history comes up, and their faces go blank.

For us to develop a population that is knowledgeable and loyal to their country, we have to teach our history from our perspective, not anyone else's.

Kingston College teaches the history of the school to first-form students. That is where I believe we should start. Each school should be tasked with developing, programmes wherein students are taught its academic and sporting accomplishments; the history of its founders, first principal, and first batch of teachers; and so on.

Beyond that, we need to be teaching the history of our country - not rubbish like Christopher Columbus 'discovering' anything.

What should be taught is the genocide that happened under his watch after he and his diseased men came to the Caribbean by mistake and murdered hundreds of thousands, or millions, of natives.

We should also be teaching the history of our people who sacrificed their lives fighting wars for other countries, including our former colonial masters who owe us trillions of dollars in reparations.

Another key piece of Jamaican history that needs to be taught is the history of our music - the pioneers, the history of ska, reggae, and dancehall, and their global influence. Too many children these days do not even know about Coxsone Dodd or U-Roy.

Similarly, learning about our history in sport should be mandatory for our youth from G.C. Foster to Bolt, from Headley to Gayle. Our children should also learn about the former leadership of this country - from the very beginning.

Teaching our history would also create a new industry. You would need researchers and writers to produce the texts and software for our children and generate business for existing publishers or new ones.

This, I believe, could be a useful new step in the quest to overhaul our antiquated education system, create better awareness of what our country is and what it represents, and provide our children with reasons to be proud - and perhaps even inspire new leaders to come to the fore.

New, inspired leadership is never a bad thing.

Send comments to levyl1@hotmail.com.

Other Commentary Stories