Home African Caribbean It Is Time To Go Back To School

It Is Time To Go Back To School

by Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly resident Diabetes expert

For many across the globe August, September or October signals the start of a new academic year which can either be referred to as a term or semester.  So, students of all ages prepare for admission to primary, secondary or tertiary institutions to continue their chosen course of education or apprenticeship.  It is for some a time of anxiety and nervous tension especially if one is moving in to a new environment where uncertainties abound but this is part of the learning curve and with-it growth and development.

New pastures and new horizons beckon and exploration takes place as is meeting new friends in new surroundings although family and other loved ones are missed dearly.  Often long-lasting friendships are formed at this stage and later in life one should be able to cherish and reminisce with others those happy school, college or university memories. That too is why reunions become such lovely gatherings when one re-unites with others not seen in many years.

The roots of education are bitter but the fruit is sweet’ is often credited but not fully proven as being quoted by the Greek philosopher Aristotle who lived 384 to 322 BC.  Simply put it means one must work hard to achieve one’s goals in life and the value placed on education is of paramount importance as it increases social mobility and helps for a better-rounded person.  Most people know the well-known cliché that one is never too old to learn and I admire the drive, commitment and determination of mature students making that leap to go back in the classroom later in life to achieve their ambitions sitting alongside the younger generation.

I often see references on social media websites where people are split with their opinions about track and field athletes and footballers to name two sports, who are still relatively young, leaving their education behind to become professional athletes. I hold firmly to the view from the well-known memory gem learnt at White Hall primary school whilst growing up in Jamaica that one should ‘Labour for learning before you grow old, for learning is better than silver and gold, silver and gold will vanish away but a good education will never decay’.  Hence my stance will always be education has to be the top priority. Some athletes are fortunate enough to get scholarships which is to be applauded but given the choice of becoming a professional athlete at a tender age, I would rather see out my school days first as time is longer than rope.

There has to be an element of fun in learning wherever one is based whether locally, nationally or internationally as that is what makes it so fulfilling and exciting. Another proverb which resonates with me from my childhood days is ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ and not wanting to be sexist I will add ‘Jill a dull girl’ so that too should apply in whatever education setting one is placed.

To use a Jamaican saying ‘If yuh waan good yuh nose haffi run’ or as my grandmother used to tell me when I wanted to play during the summer school holidays with friends, ‘Go tek yuh book’. At the time I viewed her as being a spoil-sport but can now appreciate years later what was her motive.

Wherever you are, enjoy the next stage of your training, learning and with it the socialization process. Remember even when you might feel homesick at times which is completely natural, focus on why you are there in the first instance.  Thankfully with the advent of technology one is able to communicate with family and friends separated sometimes by long distances as the world is indeed now a global village at the touch of a button.  Also spare a thought for children in parts of the world who are denied their basic right to be educated as that is beyond cruel, unacceptable and incredible.

Happy learning!

Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly

London born Tony Kelly of Jamaican parents grew up in Jamaica and returned to live in Birmingham in 1979.
He is a graduate of Mico Teachers’ College and taught in Kingston high schools prior to working for 30+ years as a middle manager in central and local government with an emphasis on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion. He has a masters’ degree in socio-legal studies from the university of Birmingham.
For over a decade Tony has volunteered as a diabetes ambassador firstly for Diabetes UK and now for the National Health Service – Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group. A multi-award winner doing a yearly average of 150 health and well-being events, locally, nationally and internationally focusing on type 2 diabetes. He was diagnosed with this medical condition 18 years ago. However with a combination of physical activity and diet he has never taken medication thus proving with the right mindset and discipline it can be achieved.
As a diabetes advocate/activist Tony will continue delivering the message of healthy options to readers of CaribDirect.com .


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Yvonne September 3, 2022 - 7:29 pm

Time to go back to school…it certainly is – no matter how old you are! And that’s the point I would like to make in response to Tony’s excellent and thought-provoking article. As a retired sixty-something who is about to embark on a year-long university course, I totally agree that you are never too old to learn. Never mind that in your younger days you were too busy raising a family, or working every minute of the day outside of the home, or that you just did not get the grades…it’s never too late! Let lifelong learning be our mantra.

Pamela Campbell August 29, 2022 - 7:55 pm

Sir Anthony Kelly! I’m at a lost for words. At first I did not have a clue about who the writer was but with continuous reading and then my Almamata , the great Whitehall Primary was mentioned, I was force to raise a brow and was more persistent to finish the article. Upon finishing the article I still struggle in my hear to place the writer but it was the autobiograph that nailed it. ….Beautiful days it was in Spring Road. Oh how I longed for a taste of those treasured moments. That Guinepp tree, that June plum tree, those Locas trees. Aaah

I am Pam.

Linnette Lyon- Malcolm August 29, 2022 - 7:29 pm

Interested to learn how to reverse type 2 diabetes

Linnette Lyon- Malcolm August 29, 2022 - 7:28 pm

Your batchmate


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