Monday, 28 July 2014


Just when you thought it was safe to go be cool with the education ministry…
The FLOGG has uncovered more Monchy Primary School children who, like Lovelle Motley, got zeroes for composition. And if you think maybe something is wrong with the school or the teacher, then you don’t know anything about Jane Jacob-Jean and Troy Nestor.
The FLOGG has confirmed three more children from the same class as Lovelle who also got zeroes in composition and has unconfirmed reports of at least two more.
Lovelle Motley is not an isolated case. She might actually be the tip of the iceberg of a systemic evil that has been tolerated, perhaps even propagated by education minister after education minister since the days when there were no poor boys at St Mary’s College. She is proof of the perpetuation of exam errors is chronic…almost conspiratorially so.
Either that or something is wrong in the state of Monchy Primary –which it isn’t. Monchy Primary is the new Best Damned Primary School on the island whether the education ministry likes it or not. From kindergarten to grade six, the teachers are generally made of the right stuff and are exalted members of the community. People of Monchy know they have something special going on in that school.
According to sources in the Monchy community, Principal Jane Jacob-Jean is the kind of leader who runs her little shop like an interdependent nation. The Monchy school like every good mocambo, Palenque or other small society, grows food, plays music, makes art, and plays hard as well as kicking butt on the academic field. The humble but firm Mrs Jacob-Jean has earned a reputation as the best mix of old time authority and new, fangled modern psychology and social theories like ‘nesting’ and ‘learning by discovery.’ Jacob-Jean, unlike many leaders, seems to take her job quite personally, imagining that she is not just trying to raise the school’s reputation, but that she is actually a co-parent who is responsible for building whole adult humans out of the raw materials that parents give her to work with.
And everyone knows Troy Nestor.
He is the star math teacher on Choice TV in the afternoon. What most people don’t know is that he is a driven, miracle working Grade Six teacher who can make a good student want to be excellent, the average one want to be good and the ‘bad student’ realize that, you know, this learning thing might be more fun than I originally thought. Whatever it is that possessed Troy Nestor to commit himself to the success of children, don’t interfere with it. It’s working without the rest of us.
Vacations for Jacob-Jean, Nestor and the rest of the educational militants at Monchy Primary are more like an excuse to plot new ways to reach the children and improve the school. Their summer and Easter workshops have been so successful, so highly rated, that this year children are coming from as far away as Vieux Fort South to get a piece of the magic of Monchy Primary.
If Nestor and Jacob-Jean were of the same ilk as their minister Robert Lewis, they would have parlayed their prestige into political positions already.
But they’re not. So they stay put in Monchy, one of St Lucia’s most productive, most neglected communities, tightening their focus on the thing they do best. It has been a hard uphill climb over many systemic and traditional obstacles. But they were starting to see the light. In Lovelle Motley, they saw the mountaintop. When that star girl came along, they saw the student who would claim that top prize, establish their brand as a superior educational facility and set a standard that all future students could aspire to. Lovelle was not just a bright girl. She was a motivational technique that would affect Monchy children who are not yet born.
She was evidence that the little rural Negmarron school was, in fact, Top Ting.
It’s almost a good thing that the systemic evil picked the wrong girl when it chose to abuse Lovelle Motley. Less extraordinary children get cheated all the time with no questions, reviews or consequences. And it is the less extraordinary who suffer more because five marks for them is the difference between a the best secondary school and a simply good one. Even with people like Jacob-Jean and Nestor on the educational frontlines, the injustices done to those children by the endemic traditional wickedness of the education ministry might have gone unnoticed, unchallenged, unsung.
Lucky for all these children in St Lucia who are cheated out of their marks and their rightful places in the stratified, classist post-colonial school system, the systemic evil did pick Lovelle. And then, Nestor couldn’t help but take off his Clarke Kent glasses and rip open his shirt, as prelude to defending Children, Justice and The St Lucian Way.
Troy Nestor and Jane Jacob-Jean don’t want to fight with the education ministry.
They just want to do their jobs.
But when systemic evil forgets to stay in its section and attacks their children, they have no choice. They had to defend the children at the risk of offending all who would rather defend the system.
Thank God for people like them. True St Lucian heroes who build the future brick by brick.
You would think that Robert Lewis would be bending over backwards right now to accommodate people like that. But Pontius Pilate has already washed his hands of the blood of the innocent.
This is not the end.
I wish it was. But it’s not.

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