(Trinidad Express) Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh yesterday promised to make this country the first nation to achieve universal early childhood care by 2015.
Speaking at the launch of UNESCO’S “Education For All Week”, at the Cascadia Hotel in St Ann’s, Gopeesingh said the drive would ensure that approximately 34,000 children between the ages of three and five were adequately housed in Early Childhood Centres through joint Government and the private sector initiatives.
“Eventually, we’ll have one teacher to every seven or eight students and other auxillary staff in these centres with 50 to 60 students,” Gopeesingh said.
“It is said that in early childhood you may lay the foundation of poverty or riches, industry or idleness, good or evil, by the habits to which you train your children. Teach them right habits then, and their future life is safe, for it is always easier to build strong children than to repair broken human beings,” he said.
Gopeesingh described the UNESCO function as both “timely and relevant”.
“(Yesterday’s) event in particular brings together ECCE administrators, teachers, parents and other stakeholders from the seven educational districts in Trinidad, and I’m happy to see Tobago represented here today, and I had fruitful talks with THA Chief Secretary Orville London, to ensure that Tobago’s schools are equal partners with Trinidad,” he said.
The Minister listed the successes of the Ministry including the distribution of laptop computers and the plan to deploy wireless internet to secondary schools.
“My ministry is working to ensure that all secondary, primary and ECCEs have a television and radio equipment to allow them to access a television channel dedicated to education. The channel will feature trained educational personnel discussing various subject areas, it will be interactive and recorded and made available. We are also tackling the issue of Special Needs among our children, and the Ministry of Education has a project going with the World Bank to assist us in identifying these cases and what methods we can employ to manage them,” he said.