50 years ago: Education lecture rings familiar tone

NEW Bodden-50-years-logo-final-595x420In the Oct. 19, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Haig Bodden wrote:

“‘Education is to develop mind, body, useful skills, expression and personal relations,’ – so said Mr. John Macpherson during the course of a public lecture arranged by Mr. R.M. Walters, headmaster of the Bodden Town school last Wednesday.

“Mr. Macpherson said he considered the teaching of West Indian history important. Emphasis should be on the developmental stages of the region. West Indians largely originated from slavery. Then there was emancipation. As it was wrong for man to belong to another man as property, so it was wrong for a whole country and hence, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana have championed their independence from Britain.

“There is a strong anti-colonial feeling throughout the whole region and he asked if Caymanians are thinking like other West Indians.

“Speaking on the topic ‘The role of education,’ Mr. Macpherson said exercises are designed to develop the different functions of the person. The three ‘R’s’ – reading, writing and arithmetic – were principally to develop the mind to think and solve problems.

“He also placed much emphasis on physical education, games and sportsmanship. ‘West Indians’ he said, ‘should have a wonderful ball sense.’

“Developing his theme, Mr. Macpherson went on to say we live in a scientific age and children should be encouraged to seek out the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of things. He had his audience laughing when he said that people seek the obeah man because they lack the scientific outlook.

“Early in the lecture, the speaker asked why parents send their children to school. He had several answers, summed them up and said jokingly it was to get rid of them, for parents had to work and children were a bother during those times. The main reason expressed by him was that no matter how educated a person is, ‘he cannot teach his own child.’

“Mr. Macpherson, who was on a visit to the island, is a research officer of the Institute of Education in Jamaica.

“Mr. Walters presided over the meeting, and at its close the vote of thanks was moved by Mr. Anton Bodden, MLA for this district.”