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Caribbean Journal of Education

Tertiary Education in Transition

Publication Date: 
September 2001

I am indebted to two distinguished members of the academic community at Mona for stimulating my preparation for this presentation. One was Professor Errol Miller, who at a forum staged by the Ministry of Education reminded us of the hidden agendas-my term, not his-which are served by education systems-agendas often hidden from the practitioners, the participants/beneficiaries, and even (as it seemed to me on reflection) those who might hold titular office and believe that they are in charge of the system. 
The other was Professor Elizabeth Thomas-Hope who forced me­on pain of fracturing a beautiful friendship--to commit to paper in summary form key elements of the philosophy which guides the Jamai­can education system. In delivering that short paper I said then, and I repeat now, that I am not certain of the grounds on which I speak or the authority for my assertions. Ministers of education are temporary; they certainly enjoy less security of tenure than university faculty, who are trained and facilitated to reflect, to analyse, and to influence thought in profound ways. And on the subject of being temporary and expendable, I am reminded of Henry Kissinger, who let me hasten to say is not my role model in this respect. He once said, "The longer I am out of office, the more infallible I appear to myself." 
This paper reflects my own perspective, and the thoughts in it are expressed in the context of an evolving government policy. That policy is influenced by present reality, a vision of how a wholesome future for the society can best be accomplished, and the regional and world contexts in which we operate. Of course what I say is consistent with the evolving policy, but not everything that I say will be found within policy documents of the government or the ministry. 35

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