The following is by an unknown author or authors although it has been used, spoken, read and repeated for centuries, viz; “…. The advantages of education, by which means alone we are rendered fit members of regularly organised society”

Since the dawn of light 6,018 years ago, much has been spoken of, written and reported on the value of education. I suspect that hundreds of Doctorates of Philosophy have been earned and/or awarded on this topic. Entire generations in this country have been raised on the aspiration that education is the surest path for upward mobility. From Aristotle to Nelson Mandela, we have grown up on statements such as “The Roots of Education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”  , and “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, respectively.

I dare say that the virtue of education has now been elevated to a truism that not only will education provide a pathway to a middle class standard of living but to more peaceful countries.

The data tell the tale.

The countries at the end of 2015 with the highest percentage of persons in their population aged 24-34 with at least a two-year tertiary degree/diploma were:

  1. South Korea 69%.
  2. Japan 60%.
  3. Canada 59%
  4. Russia 58%
  5. Lithuania 55%
  6. Ireland 52%
  7. Luxembourg 50%
  8. Switzerland 49%
  9. United Kingdom 49%

10.Norway 48%

11.Sweden 46%

12.Israel 46%.

The countries with the greatest wealth per capita in United States dollars as of October 2017 (using IMF data) were:

  1. Qatar $124,930.00
  2. Luxembourg $109,190
  3. Singapore $90,530.00
  4. Brunei $76,630.00
  5. Ireland $72,630.00
  6. Norway $70,590.00
  7. Kuwait $69,670.00
  8. United Arab Emirates $68,256.00
  9. Switzerland $61,360.00

10.Hong Kong $61,020.00

The analysis shows that if one removes the countries with oil and natural gas wealth, Luxembourg, Singapore, Ireland, Switzerland & Hong Kong are the standouts. Their wealth is based on their people.

On the contrary, as of 2016, the countries with the highest murder rates per 100,000 of the population were:

  1. Honduras 90.4%
  2. Venezuela 53.7%
  3. Belize 44.7%
  4. El Salvador 41.2%
  5. Guatemala 39.9 %
  6. Jamaica 39.3 %
  7. Lesotho 38%
  8. Swaziland 33.8%
  9. Kitts and Nevis 33.6%

10.South Africa 31%

A very cursory look reveals that not one of these countries is in the top ten tertiary educated countries. Venezuela used to have oil and natural gas wealth. As its wealth declined its murder rate increased. It is my view that as one’s educational level and, by extrapolation, one’s earned income level increases, one not only has less time to engage in murder and mayhem, but one works harder to preserve one’s wealth. It is also my view that education smooth’s off one’s rough edges. Even if the educated only pretend not to be boorish!

Jamaica’s budget for the financial year 2018/2019 has J$395 billion going to the Ministry of Finance and the public service, the lion’s share of which is to cover debt servicing. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is allocated J$104.6 billion of which only J$1.6 billion is on the capital side of the budget. The task of this generation must be to turn these numbers on their heads, so that the largest share of the country’s budget is allocated to education.

The removal of the rough edges of our minds, our conduct, our desires, and our propensity to violence will only be achieved by a larger percentage of our population being educated at the tertiary level. Anything else is a perpetuation of the old cycle!

  Aaron Nola Jersey

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