Mind the Gap

canstockphoto14509227If you travelled with the London Underground system you will be familiar with the audible warning “mind the gap“. This refers to the possible danger to passengers when disembarking from the tube train where there is a gap between the carriage and platform.

However, I am using this in reference to the “generation gap” here. Paradise has, fortunately, been somewhat successful in reducing that generation gap. One of the major reasons for the gap was the lack of education. The older generation, such as small planters, did not give much importance to regular education. They were more preoccupied with their daily chores and struggles for the basics. In this respect, not many children were sent to school but rather helped out the parents with the daily chores or work in the fields. Boys were sent to school because they were seen as the future bread-winner and heirs. However, girls were often not sent to school because it was thought that they would eventually get married and leave home. Therefore, girls usually missed out on basic education.

I am not saying that this was a general trend but I have met many who today explain their situation because of the lack of basics in their younger days. Some women who did not receive an education still struggle with literacy today. Thankfully, there is government or NGO sponsored solutions to the literacy problem for these unfortunate women. I say unfortunate because I have been informed of some of the problems they have had or go through in their lives. Example, the shame they have not being able to tackle official forms or letters. They would be forced to seek help sometimes with unscrupulous people who would demand a payment. Or the shame faced when not being able to sign forms under the leering look of officials.

In today’s modern world most of them have not been able to assimilate technology such as PC or mobile phone use. The basic use of a mobile phone can be frustrating for them. Not being able to fully read and understand prompts on the screen usually ends in erroneous actions. I know some women who do not use bank cards simply because they are completely lost in front of an ATM. Even writing a bank withdrawal slip will be a problem for them.

Something went wrong for older generations due to lack of opportunity, funds or just mentality. I would say that it is criminal not to give your child an education. The result is that a part of the population is handicapped. The handicap is often not visible and hidden but it is there.

canstockphoto3177853Thankfully, successive governments have made educating children mandatory. Offering free transport to schools and financial assistance for higher education. This has resulted in me witnessing a big change in a family where two generations had either a minimum or no education. Their young generation has had access to university education and received their diplomas. A first for them after at least two generations. So the gap has been filled but at the cost of the sacrifice of many.

One thought on “Mind the Gap”

  1. I wonder how many of us born in the UK so many decades ago, would have then appreciated how lucky and important to us, to have been “forced” into the education-streams then and even to know that there were so many then and since, who have not had (or been able to have) that experience…

    In fact it would be amazing to know what it would be like today, if education had not been available here, not too mention so many other countries where perhaps it is still not as easy to be educated in the way we were…

    Mr. Terry

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