Winning 2014 Essay in MSS Association Competition Speaks About Education System Challenges, Conditions For Learning At MSS & Solutions


Warren Cassell Jr

Release Date

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Like most adolescents every day I’m faced with challenges. However, these challenges have nothing to do with going through puberty or balancing my schoolwork with my personal live. Rather everyday I’m faced with a never ending battle of challenges being presented by the current education system in Montserrat. I began to be affected by them during my primary school years and as I gradually made my way to the Montserrat Secondary School the effect has become greater. These challenges include, trying to maximize my academic potential with limited or outdated resources, being confined to a very narrow list of subject choices and being taught with old, unengaging methods. As I distilled these challenges I was able to pick up a common trend between them. They are a result of the local education system and in particular the schools in Montserrat not being run as a business, but instead as a money and resource bleeding network of institutions. If the school was run more like a business these problems would have been less likely to occur. The following essay will explain the above mentioned challenges and my recommended solutions.

Firstly, the education system on the island is not properly funded. Throughout my years at the Montserrat Secondary School, my classes have been deprived from carrying out experiments due to the school not being able to provide the necessary materials needed for the lab. In fact, most of the labs that we were able to carry out were not even done properly because apparatuses were substituted with a look alike. This will negatively affect our School Based Assessments because the instructions were not necessarily carried out correctly and the results may not come out as expected. Most of the classrooms are just not properly equipped.

Another example at the Montserrat Secondary School would be the insufficient amount of desk and chairs for students, and malfunctioning computers in the computer lab. However, this lack of resources and poor learning environment is present at the other schools on island as well. I became aware of this when I was temporarily housed at another school run by the Government of Montserrat as a result of an asbestos scare.

As a result of this, there was no smooth transition into this school and though things were quite bad at the Montserrat Secondary School, I missed it! The school had poor drainage and septic problems; even some classes had no sockets to plug in computer chargers or fans. How can children be expected to learn when their learning environment is not encouraging?

In the business world, companies are aware that in order to make a profit they must continually invest in developing their products and services. Employers of the most successful businesses in the world also know that in order to keep their staff really happy and increase the level of their production they need to have and maintain good working conditions.

The current conditions at the Montserrat Secondary School are not at all conducive for learning. The atmosphere is extremely humid and the air conditioners don’t work and neither do the fans. This sends a message to children that the Government of Montserrat is unconcerned about the horrible conditions and demotivates students from working at their highest potential.

This concept of investing resources, time and money in order to increase production, employee satisfaction and the overall well being of a company in order to make a return can also be used in our education system as well. If a government invests in educating its children it will produce returns. The level of returns, such as the number of skilled workers the system produces, will ultimately depend on the amount of money that the government invests in the education system.

Secondly, the number of subjects offered in Montserrat is quite narrow and confines students when it comes to thinking about their future careers. Imagine that you wanted to go into a certain field or was interested in a particular subject area but was unable to explore that field because the school you attended could not offer the subject for you and more than likely at higher education you will be at a disadvantage because you don’t have a proper foundation. This is something that I find happening constantly at the Montserrat Secondary School.

When you compare the subjects that are being taught in Montserrat and compare them with the subjects been done in neighbouring islands, you will quickly realize that the subject range is very small and basic in Montserrat. This is something that can be seen both at the secondary school and at the college level. I personally believe that this is why a lot of students at the Montserrat Secondary School are not encouraged to go to classes. They are indirectly forced to attend classes they have no interest in just because what they are interested in isn’t being offered.

However, in the world of business, companies continually try to offer what its customers and clients need in order to encourage them to come back more and more. Market research is done before new products are offered and this is exactly what should be done in the schools. Students should be asked about their future career aspirations and what subjects they would like to explore. This will inevitably encourage them to be excited for class much more than how they are now because they will be engaged in activities that they are interested in.

Lastly, the education system on Montserrat continues to use outdated methods of teaching. Classrooms on the island use the same teaching tools that were used decades ago and teachers continue to teach in the same way they did in the past. This generation has changed and the outdated methods and styles being carried out in the local education system is not suitable for this era. Children are growing up with technology all around them and it would make learning a lot more fun if modern day teaching.

Businesses are always evolving. They know that in order to keep customers satisfied they need to keep up with trends or else customers will no longer be interested in them. It is exactly the same thing with school and students. Schools need to also evolve and adapt to this modern day in order to keep students’ attention.

It is my emphatic belief that the education system in Montserrat needs to be run like a business. The Government of Montserrat needs to invest money in the schools and educating the children of Montserrat to realize better academic and economic rewards in the future. Returns on investment cannot be seen if there is no investment. By having an environment that sends messages to students that the officials care, and by offering subjects that students actually want to do, students will be more interested and engaged in school.

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