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2002-09-05 15:31:01

Segregation May Lead To Better Education

Felicity Delancy, The Bahama Journal

As thousands of children returned to the daily routine of reading, writing and arithmetic, grandparents reminisced of the days when there were separate schools for girls and boys.

Compared to the children in former days, they said, school kids today are lost in their focus, because they are absorbed in a world, which is more sexually explicit.

Genevieve Bethel, 57, wants educators to turn back the hands of time in order to thrust the success of the nation's youth - hence the nation itself - forward. She contacted the Bahama Journal to express these thoughts after watching groups of children walk to school Monday morning.

The Fox Hillian recalled fond memories of Xavier's All Girls School on Fort Charlotte.

"We girls were very focused on our work. The nuns were strict and we kept in line. All of us were good students, and without the boys, we paid more attention to our books," she said.

"When we visited St. Augustine's, the all boy's school in Fox Hill (and we did that often) it was really exciting. We took our time and got dolled up. But once we got back to Xavier's it was all work, and we were all the better for it."

Anthony Cargill, a grandfather of five and a former electrician, supports Mrs. Bethel's idea. He said his grandkids are too exposed to sexual material.

"It is everywhere - it's in the music when you turn on the radio. Commercials are selling sex, the clothes kids wear today leave nothing to the man's imagination," he said.

Minister of Education Alfred Sears has expressed a desire to create schools of this kind, believing that they can direct lost children towards success.

He is pulling from personal experiences. The Minister himself is a product of an all boys school, but what was once the Boy's Industrial School, now the Simpson C. Penn Center For Boys was created for troubled adolescents and teens.

Halston Moultrie, who served as Vice Chairman of the Coalition plus Labor Party and ran for the Pinewood Constituency seat during the May elections, said it could be beneficial to place primary school students in sexually segregated schools.

"It is a good idea to implement the idea in the primary school. By the time they get to senior high, they would have been more disciplined in their books and value the importance of getting an education, and then co-ed schools may be more successful," he said.

While conducting the interview with Mr. Moultrie, a group of eight schoolgirls from C.I. Gibson passed, blurting out a bevy of obscenity and sexually explicit language.

Disappointed that hundreds of illiterate children graduate each year, Mr. Moultrie suggested certain students be targeted for a special trade school. There they can focus specifically on reading and writing, and mastering a skill, which could contribute greatly to society, he said.

Mrs. Bethel said her friend and neighbor did exactly that.

"Alfred was a slow bloomer, and his teachers saw that. So the next year he went to trade school. He would bring home all sorts of things - like the chair he made and beautifully varnished himself. He even used to make a little radio. We would take a nice piece of board and connect two wires, and we could hear ZNS!" she said.

Politicians played on the emotions of persons like her during the elections, she said. She now wants them to put into actions their promises to make a "better and brighter Bahamas" by truly investing in the nation's youth. 

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