Trinidad facing watershed economic moment – Minister

Dr Lovell Fran­cis

(Trinidad Guardian) Min­is­ter in the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion Dr Lovell Fran­cis says T&T is fac­ing a “wa­ter­shed” eco­nom­ic mo­ment and must de­vel­op its hu­man cap­i­tal if it is to sur­vive eco­nom­ic ru­in.

Speak­ing at To­ba­go’s sec­ond con­sul­ta­tion on the Draft Ed­u­ca­tion Pol­i­cy Pa­per 2017-2012 at the Vic­tor E. Bruce Fi­nan­cial Com­plex in Scar­bor­ough yesterday, Lovell said the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tors must cre­ate a pol­i­cy to dri­ve eco­nom­ic change.

He said, “Un­less we take this ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem that has a num­ber of strengths but some crit­i­cal weak­ness­es and we get it right now so that we pro­duce that kind of stu­dent who will be­come that kind of cit­i­zen… that will cre­ate that kind of de­vel­op­ment that will lead to long-term pros­per­i­ty … this na­tion is doomed.”

He added: “For the last two cen­turies …we had some­thing that we could de­pend up­on…it used to be sug­ar, (then) co­coa, and then oil – our crutch to lean on for the last 100 years…the days of oil and gas are num­bered.”

Lovell said some na­tions thrive on their hu­man re­sources that are “high­ly pro­duc­tive…and al­lows their so­ci­ety to thrive, evolve and pros­per.”

He said al­though this coun­try has peo­ple with ideas, cre­ativ­i­ty, thought­ful­ness, it’s hu­man re­source suf­fered from “a lack of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, poor work eth­ic … (and) poor at­ti­tude to­wards our­selves and our coun­try.”

Echo­ing sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments, Chief Sec­re­tary Kelvin Charles, who gave al­so spoke at the con­sul­ta­tion, added that par­ents must be “more in­volved” in chang­ing the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

“I some­times feel that stake­hold­er voic­es on ed­u­ca­tion­al is­sues are too mut­ed and that our on­ly high­light on some of the is­sues are what we think should re­side at the lev­el of the Ed­u­ca­tion Di­vi­sion and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.”

He asked: “Are school PTAs col­lu­sive­ly loud and suf­fi­cient­ly ar­tic­u­late in demon­strat­ing con­cerns in the ex­tent of the re­spect­ed stan­dard of stu­dent per­for­mances, as you will agree with me that par­ents are an in­te­gral part of the ed­u­ca­tion process?”

Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion An­tho­ny Gar­cia en­cour­aged stake­hold­ers to build on the sys­tem’s ex­ist­ing strengths.

He re­mind­ed them that this coun­try meets most of the Unit­ed Na­tion’s de­vel­op­ment of sus­tain­able goals, in­clud­ing uni­ver­sal ear­ly child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, gov­ern­ment-spon­sored pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion and “tremen­dous” ad­vances ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

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