Friday, June 09, 2006

Vision 2020 - education in a mess

I had an interesting email exchange with Raul Bermudez at 3:30 am today. He sent an email referring to a Minister's pronouncement on the Trinidad and Tobago Vision 20/20 plan - supposed to make T&T reach Developed Nation status by the year 2020.

Here it is:

By the year 2020,
Trinidad and Tobago will be a united, resilient, productive, innovative and prosperous nation;
With a disciplined, caring, fun-loving society;
Comprising healthy, happy and well-educated people and
Built on the enduring attributes of self-reliance, respect, tolerance, equity and integrity;

in which:

Every citizen has equal opportunities to achieve his fullest potential;
All citizens enjoy a high quality of life, where quality healthcare is available to all and where safe, peaceful, environmentally-friendly communities are maintained;
All citizens are assured of a sound, relevant education system tailored to meet the human resource needs of a modern, progressive, technologically advancing nation;
Optimum use is made of all the resources of the nation;
The family as the foundation of the society contributes to its growth, development and stability;
There is respect for the rule of law and human rights and the promotion of the principles of democracy;
The diversity and creativity of all its people are valued and nurtured.


So he wrote me that:

[This is] Typical back to front thinking.

Create a society in which...

Every citizen has equal opportunities to achieve his fullest potential;
All citizens enjoy a high quality of life, where quality healthcare is available to all and where safe, peaceful, environmentally-friendly communities are maintained;
All citizens are assured of a sound, relevant education system tailored to meet the human resource needs of a modern, progressive, technologically advancing nation;
Optimum use is made of all the resources of the nation;
The family as the foundation of the society contributes to its growth, development and stability;
There is respect for the rule of law and human rights and the promotion of the principles of democracy;
The diversity and creativity of all its people are valued and nurtured.


...and perhaps by the year 2020,


Trinidad and Tobago will be a united, resilient, productive, innovative and prosperous nation;
With a disciplined, caring, fun-loving society;
Comprising healthy, happy and well-educated people and
Built on the enduring attributes of self-reliance, respect, tolerance, equity and integrity;

To pretend that it will happen any other way is wrong.

While agreeing with the back-to-front-ness of the original post, I had one major complaint. The education portion states:

"All citizens are assured of a sound, relevant education system tailored to meet the human resource needs of a modern, progressive, technologically advancing nation;"

But
They leave out the really important part of education - it's not to meet human resource needs that are dictated by companies, but to educate the population to be ready to learn life-long, to value knowledge, to respect the knowledge of the ages, to contribute in the arts, science; to foster a culture of intellectual curiosity and
rigour; to create thinking citizens with an understanding of their role in a democratic society (hint - it's not to call in to the radio, but to understand the issues and work to make our government responsive to and a servant of the people) etc

If we only "met the HR needs" - would any school teach Shakespeare or Derek Walcott? What about pure science? What about theatre arts, sports, craft, civics?
This distresses me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes our education system must undergo a radical transformation. The schooling culture must be transformed from one that is memory- based to one that is informed, thinking, creative and caring, through leading- edge technology. And I have a solution!