MOE will take longer to recover from Reid scandal than for 'scandal bags' to biodegrade

Letters to the Editor

MOE will take longer to recover from Reid scandal than for 'scandal bags' to biodegrade

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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Dear Editor,

The recent scandal involving sacked Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid has proved to be quite dispiriting to me as a fairly young educator. Not only did the scandal come floating ashore in a time when the plastic ban was implemented and in full effect, but the devastating impact that this has had on the education ministry could last for more than 20 years — the average time that it takes for plastics to fully biodegrade.

It is a known fact that single-use items such as “scandal bags” could float around in the seas for decades wreaking havoc on marine life. Much of the plastic that reaches our oceans eventually sink to the sea floor. It gets brittle as it gets old and breaks into tiny pieces and mixes into the plankton, which is the heart of the marine food chain.

This Ruel Reid scandal can and will affect the education ministry for years, not much different from the effect of plastic bags on our oceans.

The organisational chart for the ministry shows various tiers similar to the way in which trophic levels appear in food chains. The primary producers at the bottom of the hierarchy (the schools) are expected to input as much energy into the system so that other levels can utilise the outputs. If there are no students, no teachers, and ultimately no schools, there would be no need for statutory bodies and agencies, chief education officers, and the sea of other posts which facilitate the ministry's operations.

The scandal has undoubtedly infiltrated the digestive tract of the ministry and will bio-accumulate across all levels and affect almost every section of the ministry.

At first glance it may appear simple, but think about the number of schools which lack resources, the number of education officers who could do more with better resource allocation, the number of early childhood institutions which could utilise the wasted funds for upgrades, and the list goes on.

In an article entitled 'Schools charging auxiliary fees point to economic challenges' published on August 3, 2017, the then Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid lamented that “the practice of schools forcing parents to pay voluntary contributions should be considered as corruption and extortion”. If accusations brought against Reid are in fact true, I suggest the focus be diverted from the producers at the bottom of the chain and placed on the high-level consumers and predators at the apex.

Juvelle Taylor

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