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Sean Dettman, Teacher: Five things I would change about Jersey

Sean Dettman, Teacher: Five things I would change about Jersey

Friday 16 August 2019

Sean Dettman, Teacher: Five things I would change about Jersey


From más Mexican food, to schooling standards and kicking out the Constables, one local educator has a few things he thinks he could teach Jersey.

After teaching History at JCG and University College Jersey, Sean Dettman is preparing to take on a new role as Director of the Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies (JICAS) next month.

Born and raised near Chicago, Sean moved to Jersey eight years ago with his wife, local artist Natasha whom he met in London, and their two children.

As he prepares to welcome the first cohort of students undertaking an MSc in Island Biodiversity and Conservation - launched in partnership with the School of Biosciences at the University of Exeter - to the island, Sean took time to write about five things he would change about the island...

1. Build a university 

This is an issue close to my heart. The opportunity to attend university and receive a degree should be a basic universal human right. There is so much material highlighting the benefit of possessing a university degree – from personal development and basic citizenship to higher earning power.

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Pictured: Sean wants to see a university a Jersey so that everyone can reap the benefits of possessing a university degree.

Although there have been some attempts to create a comparable university experience for Jersey residents who do not wish to the leave the island or simply cannot, a university in Jersey would expand the possibilities for all islanders – both in terms of the individual and the collective.

2. Más Mexican food 

Having moved from the US and then London, the lack of Mexican cuisine on the island is unfortunate.

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Pictured: "Nothing beats real, authentic Mexican food," Sean says.

There are some attempts to bring in Tex-Mex options, which is great, but nothing beats real, authentic Mexican food. 

3. Cheaper travel

It should be cheaper for Jersey residents to travel to and from the island. There are a number of ways to achieve this.

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Pictured: For Sean, a publicly-owned travel service is not such a good idea.

It could be left to the market to facilitate multiple providers which would, in theory, drive down the price, making it more affordable. Unfortunately, it seems that this system leads to the monopolisation of the market and has the reverse effect.

Or we could have a publicly-owned service that facilitates the interest of the islanders and/or passengers travelling to and from Jersey. 

4. Get rid of exam-based, fee-paying schools 

The five-tiered education system (public, vocational, faith-based, semi-private and private) is silly. The money is not shared evenly and students suffer from a lack of resources as a result. Moreover, all of the sixth form colleges (and many of the secondary schools) are within proximity to each other. It seems more logical to make the sixth form colleges free, and then assign a mandate to each.

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Pictured: It seems more logical to make the sixth form colleges free.

 For example, Highlands retains a vocational focus; Hautlieu could host the Arts; JCG host the Humanities and Victoria College host the STEM subjects. Then students could mix and match both A-level and BTEC subjects within a campus-based system. 

5. Kick out the Constables

This has been a hot topic since I moved to the island in 2011. Allowing constables to represent their constituents at both a local and island level disproportionately favours the parishes, which are more likely to have affluent (because of the housing costs) residents.

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Pictured: According to Sean, Constables should be ousted from the States Assembly. 

Moreover, these more affluent and localised residents receive better access to their representatives, and therefore have more influence over the decision making process. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not the Bailiwick Express. 

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