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.

Comments

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!

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