The decade 1980 – 1989 was an important time in Jamaica’s history. Many Jamaicans remember this decade because things were changing a lot. Instead of following the old colonial way of doing things, Jamaicans started to forge their own paths. And this change happened in all parts of society, including schools. For Jamaican students in the 80s, it was an exciting adventure to find a balance between the old way of doing things and the new Jamaican way. Did you attend school in Jamaica in 1980 – 1989? Without sharing your answer, here are some tell-tale signs that you were a ’80s school girl or school boy.
You know how to “talk properly”
You can probably still hear “talk properly” ringing in your ear when you talk to authority figures. In the 80s, some Jamaican children were only encouraged to speak Standard English in school, and it was reinforced by parents at home. Defaulting to Jamaican Patios in a formal setting was not an option.
You Know What a Fête Is
School fête was an event like prom in U.S. schools. And similar to the US, it was a highly-anticipated event for most Jamaican students. School fete presented an opportunity to dress in something outside the usual Sunday Best, dance, and create memories with friends.
Common Entrance Was Your Beginning or Your End
In the final year of primary school, ’80s children sat an exit examination known as Common Entrance. The pressure was on to pass this pivotal exam that determined which high school you’d attend, and the preparation was intense, arguably more intense than the primary exit examination today.
Ribbons Were For Girls
A school girl’s uniform wasn’t complete without those perfectly matched ribbons adorning her hair. It was a fashion statement and a symbol of school pride.
Afro for Boys
Nothing made an 80’s boy feel more grown like an afro. It was a hairstyle that screamed individuality and style, all while adhering to the strict school dress code.
You Know More About the Queen Than You Should
British history was a significant part of the curriculum, and you probably still remember more about British monarchs and their history than you ever thought you would.
Brown Paper Wraps on Books Brings You Satisfaction
Brown wrapping paper on books gives you a different sense of satisfaction. The sound, the feel, and the sight of neatly-wrapped books in your bag gave ’80s Jamaican students a sense of pride, especially when they sacrifice a few hours of rest the night before the first day of school, to wrap their books.
These signs are a reminder of the charm and uniqueness of the Jamaican experience in the 1980s. And while times have changed, these memories continue to hold a special place in the hearts of those who attended school during this decade.
Photo – 123RF
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