Discourses of Gender, Childhood, and Delinquency: A Look at Childhood and Citizenship in Industrial Schools in Colonial Jamaica, 1918–38
By the interwar years (1918 – 1938), the number of industrial schools fluctuated as the colonial state closed schools for girls, due to low numbers, and increasingly provided support for private institutions that incorporated girls into the main education system. Industrial Schools for boys operated at full capacity and continued to receive government support. This paper argues that Industrial Schools reflect the changing discourse of gender, childhood and delinquency and more importantly, the role of the ‘state’ in providing care for delinquent, destitute, and abandoned children. As such, the period 1918 - 1938 became the turning point in state policy as it related to children under its care. I conclude that due to the lack of a systematic education policy as well as limited human and financial resources advocates of industrial schools lost ground within the wider discourse about citizenship as many schools closed and children were incorporated into the mainstream education system.
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