Colección: La Educación
Número: (114) I
Error Miller speaks with La Educación.
The interview was conducted by Beatrice Edwards (Photo:SIP)
INTERVIEW WITH ERROL MILLER
Errol L. Miller was born in Jamaica in 1939. He obtained an undergraduate degree in science and later received a Masters and a Ph.D. degree in education from the University of the West Indies. He spent one year as a Post-Graduate Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and completed other advanced courses throughout Europe. His teaching career has encompassed many levels of education which includes his most recent positions of: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education (1973-74); Professor of Teacher Education (1981-1985) and Department Head of Teacher Education Development in the Faculty of Education (1985-present); both at the University of the West Indies. He has been equally successful in public administration and has been President of the Jamaica Teachers Association (1986-87), Independent Senator before the Jamaican Parliament (1984-89) and is the Founding President of the Jamaican Association of Teacher Educators. His pedagogical beliefs have been based on a reconceptualization of educational and cultural components in the social transformation process and have been translated into a theory which adds new dimensions to the current notions of center and periphery in relations between nations. His ideas, in addition to contributing to the formulation of new educational policies, have been proven in various developing countries of the English-speaking Caribbean. His research and studies have appeared in nearly 100 articles that have been published in specialized journals and newspapers of the Region. Among his latest books are: Educational Research: The English-Speaking Caribbean (IDRC, Otowa, 1984), Marginalization of the Black Male. Insights from the Development of the Teaching Profession (ISER, Mona, 1986), Jamaican Society and High Schooling (ISERE, Mona, 1990), In-Service Teacher Education in the Caribbean (CARNEID, Barbados, 1990), Education and Society in the Commonwealth Caribbean (ISER, Mona, 1991) and Men at Risk (Jamaica Publishing House, Kingston, 1991). In November 1992, Brazilian educator Paulo Freire received the Andrés Bello Inter-American Prize for Education, and Errol Miller was awarded an Honorable Mention for the same Prize. The Jury of the Prize based its decision on the significant contributions of Dr. Miller to the qualitative improvement of the management of educational systems in the Caribbean as well as in other regions of the hemisphere. It was during this occasion that La Educación had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Miller regarding current problems in education. Beatrice E. Edwards, a member of our Editorial Advisory Committee and Coordinator of the Multinational Education for Work Project of the Regional Program for Educational Development, conducted the interview.
1. Professor Miller, I would like to discuss with you certain questions suggested by an article that you wrote for an earlier issue of La Educación. In the article you wrote that the OECS islands face various political, economic, and social imperatives, all of which have an impact on Caribbean education. Could you discuss these imperatives and their implications for the Caribbean Region as a whole?
2. How would you describe the economic imperatives that affect education in the Caribbean?
3. How do you apply the term multicultural?
4. It sounds as if you are saying that the most important resources of the Caribbean are its culture, its people and their history, and that the educational system must account for this and build upon it.
5. Would you say then that education, as it has affected the elite, is an import?
6. Would you say that the positive aspects of Caribbean culture are at present not really very well integrated into the existing educational system?
7. How, then, would you go about integrating the unique culture and history of the Caribbean into the formal school system?
8. Do you mean that there is some other message there that people understand? Some message that is undervalued by the formal educational system?
9. Do you think educators can take a leading role, in the sense that they could move beyond the popular culture, or do they tend to lag behind an imperative that is already felt at other levels of the society?
10. It seems that all of us have memories of a teacher who influenced us profoundly, for good or ill. The adults that we became were shaped somehow by the teachers we had as children. How do you see the teachers role?
11. What would you say are the major social problems that affect the Caribbean, and what is the place of education in addressing those problems?
12. Would you say, then, that perhaps education doesnt replace these traditional values or bonds. It is simply grafted onto them. Is this what you mean?
13. Are you are saying that education plays a role as a mechanism for including people in the distribution of the benefits derived from the material progress that was promised them by civil society?
14. Would you say, then, that education defines people in the same way that families did, or does it define people in terms of their merits?