By The Royal Gazette
A great deal has changed in recent decades, in educating our young people to meet various challenges along the path of life. Most would agree that there have been major strides in technology and teaching techniques, designed to better equip students for a changing world with emphasis on knowledge needed for success. Nothing wrong with that, except in the process, it would appear that some traditional values have faded.
In the modern world today, where much of life rumbles along at a maddening pace, even commenting on this aspect of our educational system could be frowned upon as being out of step with education in today’s world. Education officials are confronted with a wide range of complex issues these days, and obviously officials strive to provide the best for students. However, no educational system is perfect, and there are always problems that require input from parents and community leaders, in trying to uphold values such as discipline and respect.
In Bermuda today, just as it is in many countries, the impact of illegal drugs and the consumption of alcohol by some young people, has been a problem that threatens the vulnerable, in addition to creating additional problems for parents and teachers, and eventually the community.
It is a situation that has challenged every government.
It should be noted that our teaching professionals are to be commended for their daily contribution in classrooms throughout the island, a task too often taken for granted.
With numerous changes in teaching from the way it was decades ago, it is also worth noting that it is still crucial for students to learn the true meaning of why discipline, respect, and a commitment to being a good citizen, are values that never change.
Our schools are generally thought of as learning centres for all there is to know about how to be successful. But these days in many countries, values such as discipline and respect have diminished with an increase in negative behaviour patterns.
Many of Bermuda’s heroes will never have their names flashed across the television screens, or in banner newspaper headlines. Yet these were the people who diligently toiled against enormous hardships and social injustices, to help steer Bermuda towards a society where decency, respect, and truth formed the pillars of society.
Yes, they knew the importance of economic success, but they also knew without values, success would be shallow.
Bermuda needs to take a deep look at itself in the area of values, because without them, our future will be up for question. While the Government cannot solve all community problems, they must be seen and heard to do everything possible to avoid a gradual slide to an “anything goes” society, where respect for others is shoved under the bus. This is a growing concern throughout our communities.
If our young people are influenced by the notion that what is popular gains more attention than what is right, the next generation will face even bigger challenges. Education involves far more than academics.
We often hear of things being different today, but when essential values are bypassed, as being outdated, or no longer relevant, seeds are being planted for a weakened society with the door open for potential civil chaos.
Discipline and respect were very much a part of our education system years ago, and with Bermuda being a religious community, it was normal for most schools to have a brief moment of devotion, prior to starting the school day.
Much has changed. Today, families seldom sit together at meal times to discuss matters of interest. The home should be the setting where education begins.
Instead, swallowed up in a world of cyberspace activity, there is little time for one-on-one family conversation. Some might say this is just a part of modern society.
We hear often that more financial investment should be made to enhance our educational system, and while that is positive, a real concern should be about what values have faded from the system, when it comes to discipline and respect for strong values.
Students of today are expected to be leaders of tomorrow, but they will only be successful if armed with solid values and a commitment to making Bermuda a safe and peaceful island. Bermuda must make use of all of its resources to protect values for future generations.
It is a challenge bigger than politics, and success will depend on how well we all work together for the good of the community.