THE EDITOR, Madam:
The issue of social change is complex. I’m talking about positive social change for Jamaica in the 21st century. As we plan for the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, it is important to raise the issue of social change and ask the question: who will lead positive social change?
Social change occurs when established norms are challenged by individuals and groups of people, with the aim of affirming a new awareness that creates a change in human thinking and interactions, resulting in a reshaping of the thought, institutions and interpersonal relationships. This process is associated with social justice, an idea and a movement that advocates change, especially in societies marked by inequality, racial and sexual discrimination, and social and cultural inequality in general.
There must be a serious constitutional discussion inside and outside the two main political parties to deal with the general political changes; and also emphasizing issues relating to history and culture as central elements of the new constitutional debate. However, this will not be a short process, so there are important issues and institutions that will need to be brought to the fore and command leadership in the pursuit of social change and social justice in Jamaica.
One aspect of cultural inequality that needs to be resolved before the 60th anniversary of independence is the declaration of Jamaican Patois/Creole – the language of the majority of the people and students in schools – as the official language. When we put an end to this linguistic apartheid, we can tackle, in part, apartheid in the educational system.
The time has come to approach the identification of barriers to social change in an interdisciplinary way, but also to present a new approach in a world that is no longer anything but function and conflict. New groups are needed in Jamaica to lead this change. It is in this context that I advocate that the military, nurses and allied health workers, and teachers become the front line forces to lead the process of positive social change in Jamaica.
In both old and new industrialized countries, the military has played an important role in the development, application and teaching of science. This has been the case in countries like France, Germany, the United States and Brazil, to name a few.
We must establish secondary military and naval institutions both to develop discipline and to bring science to the masses. No country can develop without making science part of everyday life.
Nurses as well as teachers must transform themselves, develop a new vision of the world in order to become agents of positive social change.