Masaryk University Faculty of Arts



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Masaryk University

Faculty of Arts
Department of English
and American Studies

Teaching English Language and Literature for Secondary Schools


Bc. Lucie Holá
Education in the Anglophone Caribbean

Master’s Diploma Thesis


Supervisor: prof. Mgr. Milada Franková, CSc., M.A.

2014

I declare that I have worked on this thesis independently,
using only the primary and secondary sources listed in the bibliography.

……………………………………………..

Author’s signature

Acknowledgement

I would like to thank to my supervisor prof. Mgr. Milada Franková, CSc., M.A., and to PhDr. Věra Pálenská, CSc. for their kind help, support, valuable advice, insightful comments and guidance.

Table of Contents



PREFACE 5

INTRODUCTION 6



1 SOME BASIC ASPECTS OF CARIBBEAN EDUCATION 9

1.1CURRICULUM 9



1.1.1HISTORY 11

1.1.2RELIGION 16

1.1.11.1.3OTHER SUBJECTS 20

1.2EXAMINATIONS 27



1.2.1LOCAL EXAMINATIONS 27

1.2.2 EXTERNAL EXAMINATIONS 30

1.2.2.1 ENTRANCE AND EXHIBITION EXAMINATION 30

1.2.2.2CAMBRIDGE SECONDARY SCHOOL EXAMINATIONS 37

1.2.3OTHER EXAMINATIONS 39

2 PARTICIPANTS IN THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS 40

2.1TEACHERS 40



2.1.1EDUCATING TEACHERS 40

2.1.2ROLE OF TEACHERS 47

2.1.3TEACHING METHODS 52

2.2PARENTS 56

2.3STUDENTS 60

CONCLUSION 63

NOTES 67

APPENDICES 69

WORKS CITED 74

RESUMÉ 78

SUMMARY 79

PREFACE


This master thesis deals with the theme of educational system in the former British colonies in the Caribbean before and shortly after the Second World War. The main aim of this thesis is to examine the extent of British influence on the educational system in this region. The thesis consists of four parts: introduction, two chapters about several aspects of educational system, and conclusion.

The introduction provides a description of the development of education in the Caribbean region since the seventeenth century when Great Britain colonized the majority of the islands in this area. The first chapter concentrates on basic aspects of the educational system with special emphasis on the syllabus. It also highlights the core primary and secondary school subjects, to be specific History, Religious Studies, English and Literature, and Geography and explores different types of examinations as they became a driving force of the syllabus used at schools. The second chapter deals with participants in educational process. Apart from teachers, their education, role in the community, and teaching methods, the focus is placed on students and their parents whose working class background played an important role in promoting education among their children.

The final chapter is devoted to ten novels by Caribbean writers and concerns with a variety of issues related to the theme of education. The conclusion is followed by résumé in Czech and summary in English, notes and appendices containing figures and pictures.

INTRODUCTION


This part of my work concentrates on the development of educational system in the Caribbean region from the beginning of the British settlement until the period prior to the proclamation of independence of British colonies in the Caribbean.

Prior to the emancipation of slaves in 1834, only a few schools were established in the Caribbean. One of the reasons why schools were rare in this region was the fact that the settlers of European descent frequently employed their own private tutors or sent their children to the country of their origin to receive classical education in prestigious schools (Bacchus 7). Rush adds that at that time education was not very highly thought of as it “was not considered a necessity for most children” (Rush 22) of African and Indian origin. The first schools were established by missionaries. In pursuit to convert the slaves to Catholicism, the missionaries encouraged children and adults to learn to read, first and foremost, the Bible. However, they got into conflict with the plantation owners who were against their manual labourers gaining the reading skills (“King”). As Bacchus writes, one of the main reasons for the negative attitude towards the education of their workers was the fact that the plantation owners were afraid of losing their cheap labour (9). A similar point is expressed by Campbell who says that “[s]lavery and the formal education of slaves were considered incompatible by the slave owners…” (Young Colonials 1).

In order to prepare the slaves for their life as free men and women, the so called ‘apprentice system’1 was introduced in the early 1830’s. The government ordered the plantation owners to give their workers "sufficient time for instruction and conversion” (Latimer 52). In other words, the slaves worked certain hours per week and the rest of the time they went to school. What is more, the plantation owners did not suffer any financial damage because the government paid them for the time their labourers did not work (Latimer 52-57).

After the abolishment of slavery, all children were allowed to attend primary schools irrespective of their background or country of origin (Campbell, Young Colonials 1). As Bacchus writes, even the plantation owners began to encourage their workers to study but they preferred education which would teach them the language of their masters because such an education “was to assist in producing the kind of labourers who would be docile, obedient, and willing to continue working on the sugar cane estates” (Bacchus 73) rather than educating white collar workers. At first, the inhabitants welcomed this change because “education held out some promise of social advancement and gave its recipients the hope […] of rising somewhat up the social and economic ladder” (Bacchus 72). Even though Ramchand supports Bacchus’ point of view of the importance of education based on the British model in terms of higher social status, he adds that the early enthusiasm was soon substituted by sadness and frustration because the majority of freed slaves could not get their dream white collar jobs (21).

In the nineteenth century, the first schools were established by either the church or the government. The government schools, also called ‘non-denominational’, were typical of not teaching religion to their students unlike the ‘denominational’ schools established by various religion dominions (Campbell, Young Colonials 1). The first teachers were brought to the Caribbean over from Great Britain. Additionally, local training centres were founded to educate qualified teachers of Caribbean origin to meet the growing number of students attending schools. In the nineteenth century, most teachers were ‘paid by results’, a method of payment which originated in England and was also used at schools in the Caribbean. In other words, the teachers were paid on the actual students’ attendance rather than the number of enrolled students and on the number of students sitting an examination at the end of the school year. Moreover, the factors mentioned above were important variables in distributing government grants to schools (Campbell, Young Colonials 32, 89) .

Further changes in favour of students of African-Caribbean or Indian origin were under way in the twentieth century. The most significant improvement was the fact that the groups of students mentioned above were allowed to attend secondary schools (Campbell, Young Colonials 239-241). Furthermore, these students could also attend newly founded private secondary schools because they were affordable in spite of the school fees (Bacchus 179-180). The twentieth century also saw the growth of Hindu and Muslim primary schools which focused on "protecting their religions and hopefully even the Hindu language” (Campbell, Endless Education 25), which was officially implemented into the 1944 Education Act2. Moreover, this century also marked changes to the curriculum itself in favour of the local history and practical subjects, however, the syllabus was still patterned on the British curriculum (Campbell, Young Colonials 290) because, as mentioned above, parents held this model in the highest possible regard.

Thus, the education developed mainly during the time when the Caribbean was controlled by the British Empire. For most part it was strongly influenced by Britain because the locals did not have any experience with education. Therefore, the following chapters will show how important part Britain played in the establishment of educational institutions, making the education available to all people and also their input in terms of the content of the curriculum, study materials, social status, and so on.



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