THE EDITOR: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley lamented last week: “We don’t know our history.” Why is this so?
When it is asked who removed history from the school curriculum, the response is, “It’s incorporated in social studies.”
We copy everything foreign, so how come we did not retain history on the school curriculum? The youngest American child knows US history, which explains their patriotism.
Young people in TT are often criticised for their lack of pride and patriotism, but how do you want patriots when children are not exposed to the history of their country? Patriotism does not occur in a vacuum.
The removal of history from the school curriculum was an ad-hoc decision by politicians, with no objections from the TT Unified Teachers Association, teachers or parents. Years later we see the negative impact of such a decision.
So here we are today with PM Rowley lamenting that the youths lack knowledge of the history of their country. How did we reach here?
The Ministry of Education put forward policies and plans with little or no consultations with educators and parents. Consultations in ministries are simply formalities and political show. There is no continuity of policies and plans from one government to another, so time is spent starting over. The result is financial and human resource wastage in a country where “money is no problem.”
To PM Rowley, the presentation of books was all well and good, but we are still standing in the same place. How can the youths know their history when it is not taught in schools? How could the young man have known about Rohan Kanhai if he was not taught?
Today, interested parents are the ones who purchase books and tell stories to their children about our local folk tales, former prime ministers and presidents, sporting heroes, music icons, places of interest, plants and animals, flowers, tourist sites, etc.
TT is rich with history, so why are we hiding it under a bushel? Where are the history books? I recall that on the last election hustings Rowley promised that history would return to school (I stand corrected). Almost five years later and there is silence from the Minister of Education.
Why are our children being deterred from knowing about our rich cultural history that is multifaceted given the peoples who came to this land.
Schools and universities are the places of knowledge after the home.