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Philosophical problems in Jamaican education : an inquiry into relations between ideology and educational policy McKenzie, Earl


My main aim in this thesis is to apply philosophical analysis to some of the central social and educational questions which were raised by the emergence of the Jamaican variant of democratic socialism, and by the attempt which was made at devising an educational policy as part of its strategy of social reform. I offer an account of the concept of ideology and then use it to give accounts of the idea of democratic socialism, and of the Jamaican variant of democratic socialism. I then bring this conception of ideology to bear on the description and discussion of three of the problems in Jamaican society which the democratic socialists addressed, and on my examination of the related problems of formulating educational policy aimed at their solution. First, I examine the problem of negative attitudes to work in Jamaican society, and the view that the solution is to be found in a socialist ideology of work, and in educational policies based on this ideology. A distinction between Labour and Work is introduced and used to interpret aspects of Jamaican social and historical experience. I argue that this distinction is a suitable basis for educational policy. Second, I examine the problem of bringing educational arrangements to bear on the pursuit of egalitarian ideals. I deny the view that egalitarianism requires a unitary school system, and I argue that a mixed school system is compatible with the pursuit of egalitarian as well as important non-egalitarian objectives. Third, I examine the problem of political development in Jamaica, and the view that in order to aid its development, political education should be made a part of schooling. The notion of political education is analysed. I also examine some of the arguments which might be brought to bear on the issue of political education in schools. I argue that formal political education is justified in the Jamaican context, and that a politically aware liberal arts curriculum is the approach to political education which is most likely to enrich the political life of a developing society.

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