THE EDITOR: Education Minister Anthony Garcia, after three years at the helm of the ministry, has presided over the steady but predictable erosion of the quality of education in TT. The minister celebrated the few at the top of the SEA results but has ignored the thousands at the bottom.
While the nation applauds those who performed well in the standardised test known as the SEA, we are left to wonder at the fate of the nearly 50 per cent of the student population that failed either math, English or creative writing – or all three. These children are being told they are not good enough and will have to settle for the crumbs of life.
It is self-evident that the present education system centres on streaming. Putting all the great students in one school and the rest in five-year babysitting factories. A place where teachers are tested to the limit by pupils who are unable to cope with a standardised syllabus, because, despite their lack of readiness for secondary school and with no regard for a different approach based on multiple intelligence, they will again be tested at CSEC. Only the strong and resilient will survive or catch up with their peers at the prestige schools.
It is time we review this system of discrimination in which our most precious resource, our children, are placed. We need an education system that lifts all children and caters to their natural and inborn abilities. It is time we look at the damage that the present system, born of a colonial past, inflicts on the most innocent, our children. It is time that teachers get the support they deserve as they mould the young and impressionable minds.
For far too long the children have been placed last as politicians slumber in Parliament. I am sure we will get more of the same old, same old as the Minister of Education will blame the supervisors who will in turn blame the principals who will then be the bane of the stressed teachers who will bear the brunt of a broken education system. Our young, in spite of the country being rich in oil and gas, has been left in the cracks of society to be victims of a system that perpetuates failure.
Other than reducing the school feeding programme, firing UTT lecturers, stopping the completion of schools started by the UNC, closing down private secondary schools, and celebrating the top ten SEA students, the Government and the minister have offered no strategy or plan to address the massive and unexplained failure rate in the education system.
Why is it that the denominational boards continue to achieve successes and government schools continue to consistently fail? Garcia cannot simply operate by remote and blame public officers and teachers for his own leadership failures.
Pt SATAYANAND MAHARAJ
Satya Anand Ashram
Temple of Truth and Bliss