Fortunately for those living in the states, education is heavily enforced. So much so that officials will come knocking on home doors in search for children who are no longer attending school in hopes of flipping the narrative. Unfortunately, though, our kin in the Caribbean cannot relate. Education in the Caribbean, most specifically literacy, is very rarely stressed at all. If you go, great. If you don’t, not many areas get those visits previously mentioned, so, children kind of just go without. The circumstances are most times so much more different though. Most children are needed to work back home, in fields or wherever they can find to keep their families supported. Though that reasoning is totally understandable, it could be doing more harm than good in the long run.
Individuals aren’t fully to blame for just deciding a life without schooling is the route they will take. Most Caribbean islands have kids take a placement test once they make it to a certain age (usually around their teens) that acts as sort of a divider between the “high achieving” and “lower achieving” students. The score you get on the exam either allows you to continue on an educational path (teachers, doctors, engineers, etc.) or suggests that you should go after a trade (a jeweler, mechanic, contractor, etc.). This act, depending on the individual could but both them and the society in jeopardy.
Most obviously, individual lose the ability to understand essential information. That can be for jobs or just in regular day-to-day life. Lower income then comes from lower quality jobs due to lack of schooling, but this idea can be reworked depending on the person because there are now so much more people starting successful businesses of their own. Little value is then given to education which in most cases will lead to generations after generations repeating the same cycle. Most importantly, for individuals who let it affect them in this way, lower self-esteem can be experienced which then gets into the conversation surrounding mental health and it is very clear how harmful not having a positive relationship with your mind is.
As far as society is concerned, since literacy is an essential tool for individuals and states to be competitive in the new global knowledge economy, many positions remain vacant for lack of personnel adequately trained to hold them. The higher proportion of adults with low literacy proficiency is the slower the overall long-term Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate which provides an economic snapshot of an economy and growth rate. It is also believed that the difficulty understanding societal issues lowers the level of community involvement and civic participation.
All of this isn’t known without individuals and organizations working towards rising these low rates concerning education in the Caribbean. People are traveling to teach, hosting workshops for growth and spreading awareness on the topic in hopes that more will learn about the help they or others they know can get.