Is Education Linked To Crime
Just recently, the Attorney General stated that the crime that we are experiencing in Barbados can be partially attributed to the failing of our education system.
Although he came under attack from many, the evidence is there and for those who want to see, it is very clear.
This link, crime and education does not however refer to Barbados only, across the globe research has been proving that crime rates are linked to poor quality education. That does not mean that every child that drops out of school or that performs badly at school would lead a life of crime, but the likelihood of failing students getting involved in crime is significantly higher than those who perform better at school.
Examining the fact, that students from the island’s most troubled and low-performing schools are over represented in our criminal system, it therefore cannot be a coincidence but it seems obvious, that the school climate, the quality of instruction and the manner in which children are disciplined at these schools, play large roles in whether a student graduates, the standard at which he graduates and if he is likely to lead a life of crime.
If we look at what happens when children enter school for the first time in Barbados, one would notice that not all children are socially and developmentally ready for school and no evaluation of children is done on entry to primary school to determine where he or she should be placed. They are lumped together according to age.
Take a look at the scenario in a classroom of new students entering primary school for the first time. One student from a home of two well educated parents and two older siblings who are both at the top of their classes and who benefitted from an excellent private pre-school, sitting next to her new class mate whose parents are both uneducated and whose siblings are already incarcerated and pregnant in their teen years and who did not attend preschool.The two students have nothing in common except age, one already well versed in the English language, exposed to an extra curricular activity and the other r not even knowing how to sit quietly and with a very short attention span.
They are however expected to do the same work at the same time and stay focus throughout the day. This usually results in one student forging ahead while the other student labours to write her letters and numbers and getting frustrated as she sees that most of the other children are ‘better’ than her.
At the end of the school year, both of these students will move to the next level whether or not they attain a satisfactory level of progress. Coupled with that, there are little, if any, programmes in place that caters to the development of the raw talent of children that can help to boost their self esteem and children are left to dream and occupy their time with thoughts that may not be in their best interest.
Many of these children are not fortunate to have parents that understand what is happening to them and most times these parents depend on and accept whatever the school says and does as this is the easiest thing to do.
Frustrated by the system that is not catering to them, children are most likely to feel frustrated and lose interest in education at an early age.
When the Common entrance Exam comes around, the failing student must write the exam and is then told that she ‘passes’ for a school with probably under 40%. On entering secondary school, the trend continues. There are no programmes in place in most schools, no time taken to identify the weaknesses in students and for most of them, school is a place to go and pass some time and the end results is never pretty.
Many of them get involved in unacceptable behaviour and I recently learnt that many are out of school by the time they reach 14/15 years-old and principals in many instances are culprits in putting these children out without any effort to uplift their standard of education as the school is supposed to do.
Idle and without the most basic education, offers from illicit persons are attractive as it means ‘money’ and there lies the bedrock of our crime.
No hanging, no long jail terms, no flogging will do anything to change this situation, but schools equipped with quality instructions and programmes in place to deal with the various challenged students that walk through the gates every morning will see a drastic decline in crime.
Education and crime are most definitely linked.