THE EDITOR: Dr Varma Deyalsingh highlighted concerns about the increase in suicides amongst our youths, in an article by reporter Jensen La Vende, in your October 1 issue.
I attended one of Deyalsingh’s lectures to trainee teachers at the University of Trinidad and Tobago five years ago. Even then, the doctor lamented the fact that more children are becoming depressed. Also, he said the education system was guilty of adding stress to students.
There were two things Deyalsingh appealed for. The first was to make examinations flexible, as he said not all children start on a level playing field.
He compared a child from a single-parent home and lower economic class (poor), where the mother/father may be struggling to reach to school, with an affluent child who could afford private lessons and have both parents’ support.
Deyalsingh said each child should be able to take the exam when they are ready and not feel age stigma. His second concern was the school system. He said it was responsible for what he called “stolen childhood.” He said children need to run, shout, play and that school should be fun.
He called for the last hour of school to be play time, under the supervision of OJT trainees who would monitor the children’s behaviour to look out for any patterns that points to a potentially troubled child, who would then be referred to student support services.
After-school remedial classes and sporting activities were two other areas Deyalsingh hoped would be implemented. Today, we see more and more youths in emotional trouble. We need to do something, so I beg Minister of Education Anthony Garcia to please listen to Deyalsingh. All the children need a chance.
RYAN DAVE RAJNATH