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Saturday 18 November 2017
Letters to the Editor

Time to review our education philosophy

THE EDITOR: For years I have been advocating the need for a philosophy of action with respect to any serious initiatives we in TT may wish to take with respect to managing the economy, education, manpower planning, establishing a safety net for certain sections of the society, and even maintaining optimum social security and healthcare for the nation.

With specific respect to education, it is my view that we review our philosophy of education. The question to be asked is what is the purpose of education in TT? Our education system should empower our youth with critical thinking, a sense of social cohesion, responsibility, love for country, insights and powers of creativity, and a drive of enterprise to take TT to the vanguard of enterprise and commerce.

Clearly, it is absolutely important to give all an opportunity to benefit from a sound primary and secondary education, followed by some programme of community tertiary education or technical-vocational education, then — for the cream of the crop — the real McCoy of tertiary education.

Indeed, education at the higher echelons of the different sectors must be geared to manpower planning. It cannot be education just to obtain a diploma or a degree. Once taxation money is spent, the State must expect value for money. As I see it, expenditure on education over the past 53 years has increasingly become a trend of largesse, a free-for-all without accountability.

Any right thinking person will tell us that without doubt many families in our society have devalued the importance of education. As a result, I am not sure that the average citizen — young or old — understands the true meaning or purpose of education.

I recall, vividly, joining the TT Unified Teachers’ Association to point out to the then PNM administration the serious mistake in trying to create another university. We who were then arguing for one strong university had our eyes on the long-term implications of another university. What has emerged since is a proliferation of tertiary education providers. Today we are hearing the cries of UTT because the chickens have come home to roost.

My advice at this point is simple. Rather than engage in political game-blaming and parading in idle pretence, the time has come for us as a nation to start brainstorming in unity to arrive at solutions to our national problems – especially with respect to crime, education, the economy, and social cohesion.

RAYMOND S HACKETT, Curepe

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