Our Misconception of the Caribbean
When we picture the Caribbean, we envision sun-kissed bodies frolicking on miles of white sandy beaches; smiling faces enjoying an endless paradise. We travel to these beautiful exotic locales to forget our first-world problems. Mindlessly sipping piña coladas and swaying to the rhythms of the island. After we tip the bartender, we joke that he is so lucky to live in a place like this. He politely nods, not daring to disagree with such a bold statement.
Do we ever think about the harsh reality that the residents endure on a daily basis?
Educational opportunities are few, the economy is stagnant, and jobs don’t always offer a living wage. There seems to be a stark contrast between our beliefs and their reality.
My Father’s Story
My father was born and raised in Jamaica. He was an educated man who read voraciously, wrote extensively, and enjoyed friendly political debates. Surprisingly, my father only completed an eighth-grade education. He was completely self-taught. After my grandfather’s death, my grandmother couldn’t afford to send my father to school anymore. Fortunately, when was old enough, he got a job and helped the family financially. So when he was 13 years old, my father left school and went to work. He eventually left his beloved country to seek better opportunities in the land of opportunity. Sadly, my father’s story is all too familiar to Caribbean students.
School in the Caribbean
Education in the Caribbean is too expensive for most families. Students often miss weeks, months, and even of years of school, until their families can afford it. Even if schools do not charge tuition, there are other considerable costs to consider. These costs include registration fees, exam fees, transportation costs, etc.
For example, school maintenance fees in Jamaica cost approximately $300 USD per year, which is very costly for a country that has a per capita GDP of just $5,355 USD. Families in the Caribbean are already struggling to support themselves without the added expense of education.
Due to the exorbitant costs of education, students in the Caribbean often drop out of school to find work. Moreover, brain drain is affecting many Caribbean countries. Students are emigrating to countries like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Spain for more educational opportunities. Brain drain has severe economic repercussions for a country. Caribbean countries are dealing with an increasingly undereducated and underqualified workforce.
Unfortunately, even when children are able to attend school, the conditions are not always optimal. In the Dominican Republic, students are taught from an outdated curriculum and must utilize lower-quality facilities. Teachers in the Dominican Republic receive such low salaries they are unable to support themselves. Incapable to provide teachers a living wage, schools have become overcrowded. So like the students, schools are also in need of funding. Schools in the Caribbean lack appropriate facilities, teaching materials, and other resources to support their students’ educational needs.
The people of the Caribbean are very resilient. They work hard to provide for the families and to make the best of what they have. Although the students have learned different ways to accommodate for a lack of consistent schooling, they shouldn’t have to. Education should always be non-negotiable. All students everywhere deserve the best possible education.
FLOAT Prep is committed to education. For this reason, we donate 10% of all proceeds to support needy school children in the Caribbean. We are working with schools in the Caribbean to aid students and their families. All children deserve a good education despite their socioeconomic status in life.
School Supplies Needed:
- Pencil Sharpeners
- Glue Sticks
- Educational Workbooks
- Construction Paper
- School Uniforms
If you are interested in donating to needy school children in the Caribbean, contact us.