73.86% pass rate, representing a decline over the past two years. Such are the PSAC results for 2019. While a number of students and their parents are celebrating, and rightly so, teachers and pedagogical experts are sounding the alarm feverishly. The new generation may well be going to school, but a large number of them will still be almost illiterate by the time they are done with the education system. Their fault? Not really. They are only the pawns in the hands of people who may not necessarily have their best interests at heart. Or even if they did, they, in turn, are pawns in the hands of a greater power play. Still, the issue is indeed shocking and cause for concern. More than half of students do not master the basic 3Rs while joining secondary schools, and still they are allowed to do so. This is cause for concern on two levels.

On a basic, first degree level, the educational “overhaul” reeks of a lack of direction or acknowledgement of a system that has been working. Instead of improving what is working, decision makers, to reasons known to them only, since there is no consultation with the public, tear down work done by their predecessors, to make their mark. On a deeper level however, this seems to be a deliberate dumbing down of a population by a government that is hell bent on keeping power in its hand, by hook or by crook. A dumbed down population means an easily manipulated one and an easily manipulated population means one that will be so busy scraping for a living that it will not have the time to analyse or contest the actions of decision makers.

Should this trend be perpetuated, in 20 years’ time, elections might become a farcical exercise, just to please the international community, while the local one will have become sheep following the directions of the devious shepherd meekly.