Examine Gender Equity as It Relates to Education in the Caribbean Society.

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Over the past centuries people have gained insight in the importance of education to a nation, Jamaica is one such country. Credit must be given to the English Missionaries who were able to convince the slave owners of the importance of literacy for the slaves. Although it was started in no formal way, over the years it was enlightenment for almost all who were afforded this precious service. Global changes in areas such as demand for job requirement in the market place has really helped to strengthen the education system in Jamaica. It is a fact that historically education has provided some degree of upward social mobility for many Jamaicans, though it has done so to a lesser extent for some groups than for others. Gordon 1987 postulates that this social mobility in Jamaica has been most marked during the years after the Second World War.

With the strategic planning of the private sector equity in education has become more an agent of transformation. Equity in education can be viewed from several perspectives such as gender, social strata and race or color. The paradox of large scale social mobility coexisting side by side with gross widening in equalities of opportunities between the minority at the top and the majority at the bottom of the social order.

Those at the bottom of the social order are the groups who have note received the benefits of education and have consequently not enjoyed any social mobility the child of an unskilled labourer, will in all likelihood become an unskilled labourer. This may be explained in part by the differences in the quality and quantity of provisions for schooling made available to the children of those at the bottom of the social order. It can also be seen by the differences in the processes of schooling in these schools the expectation, and the interaction between students and teachers. Educational opportunity and access become implicated in social class issues because persons of high social class, as compared with those of a lower social class, have usually benefited from a higher level of education and can usually afford the monetary cost of their children. Children on the lower social strata will not attend school on a regular basis, and they don’t participate much in all school-based activities. They cannot enjoy amenities and facilities such as electricity, water and easy transportation, as those on the higher end of the social scale. Evans reported that in 1997-1998 94.3 percent of the wealthiest group of children were enrolled into secondary education, however this has changed significantly as the past century have seen vast improvement for children of the poor. This came about as a result of the Ministry of Education living up to its mandate as outlined in The Green Paper 2000, this saw special attention being paid to the issue of access, resources and equity as they expand the learning opportunities for all Jamaican citizens. This was achieved on the premise that no child should be deprived of formal education up to the end of secondary education purely on the basis of economic deprivation. Equity as it relates to gender as been a controversial topic over the years, however in recent years a school of thought as been creating eye openers to the advantages and disadvantages of such issue. Fennema (1990) defines gender equity as the set of behaviours that permit educators to recognize inequality in education opportunities, to carry out specific interventions that constitute equal educational treatment for both male and female to ensure equal educational outcomes. Jamaica, like many other Caribbean countries has its culture been shaped on the views that some things are associated with boys while others are associated with girls. In the past crossing this gender path would see boys being labeled as” Sissy” and girls as “Tomboys”. Long before they enter school, boys and girls are exposed to different models of behaviour which are considered to be appropriate...
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