The Role of Education in Development

The two documents that steered the course of development of Trinidad and Tobago during the early years of independence were the Five-Year Development Program, 1958-1962, and the Second Five-Year Plan, 1964-1968. In stressing the necessity of education and an educated people for the development of the country, the 1958-1962 Program asserts that "a highly efficient and enthusiastic people will make maximum use even of limited resources," and that "there is no substitute for skill, initiative and industry in the process of social and economic development."1 In the past, commissions have viewed education as essentially a social service. The contribution that education can make in the social and economic development of a country had never been strongly affirmed. A similar role is assigned to education in the Second Five-Year Plan: "The crucial importance of education in the process of economic development is receiving an increasing degree of emphasis."2

This Plan further views education as "one of the most important instruments of social change" but does not fail to observe that "a liberal education is an end in itself in that it permits the development of human personality—the ultimate aim of all programs of social and economic development."

In the 1960s, Trinidad and Tobago was similar to many of the other new nations in that it was, and still is, earnestly engaged in the process of development. Observers of this 20th century world phenomenon are wont to divide the process into two main parts: social development and economic development. As indicated above, the 1964-1968 Plan made a third distinction—the development of individual personality—which can be taken as the pivotal point of the other two processes.

Development or modernization, however, is fundamentally a social process, although there is a noticeable tendency for the term to refer to economic development, especially because in general the science of development has been almost exclusively the prerogative of the economist. Harbison and Myers have observed that economists "tend to equate modernization and development with economic growth."3 However, the total picture of development does not fall within the purview of the economist. Equating development to economic growth is probably due to the fact that the impetus and direction for raising the standards of living, or the eradication of poverty in the process of development or modernizing the societies that emerged from the break up of the colonial world, came primarily from economists. The United Nations, however, holds the view that "it should no longer be necessary to speak of economic and social development, since development—as distinct from growth—should automatically include both."4

For Trinidad and Tobago, like other emergent nations, the curtains in the drama of development rose with the achievement of political independence. Education was given a leading role, as seen by the percentage of national income that some of these new nations allocated to it. The following table shows what some developed and developing countries, even with their low per capita income, were spending on education around the time of independence of Trinidad and Tobago. The 3.1 percent of the G.N.P. that Trinidad and Tobago allocated to expenditure in education compares favorably with that of other countries.

It should be pointed out, however, that the faith that Trinidad and Tobago and other new nations have in education as an instrument of change is to some extent a "blind faith." The role or ability of education to transform a society or culture still remains to be verified. Maxims like "education makes the man" have enjoyed popularity. It is intuitively felt that education has some influence on the formation of the individual, and consequently the development of a society, but empirical studies that offer conclusive evidence that education does possess this alleged potential for change or social development, are not easy to find.

Brameld's notion of Reconstructionism or Activism is a theory on education and social change that somewhat hypothetically believes that cultures or societies can be remade by education.5 The data from the Coleman studies identify what part education plays in molding human beings. There are indications, however, that there are influences much more powerful than schools that operate on the formation of the child:

The present data suggest why the minorities that begin with an educational disadvantage continue to exhibit this disadvantage throughout the twelve grades of school.

Attributes of the higher students account for far more variation in the achievement of minority group children than do any attributes of school facilities and slightly more than attributes of staff.6

Kneller is of the opinion that education, being only one institution among many, "can only scratch the surface of social and cultural change... whose real springs lie much deeper in such as war and invasion, revolution, class antagonism, technological innovations and mass migration."7 A similar view is held by Phillips that "education systems usually reflect social structure rather than change it."8

Henry9 and Jackson,10 using the approach of the anthropologist, made remarkably similar observations in their meticulous studies of life in the classroom. Although the data they collected might not be amenable to the analytical tools of the contemporary social scientist, they still reinforced the notion that schools are influential in forming human beings. Their studies, however, invite the suspicion that the effect of the school on a child and consequently our society might not be identical with our intentions. On the basis of the studies so far conducted on the role of the school in a society, it seems reasonable to assume that even if the schools are not the initiators of change, they can at least be effective as instruments of change by equipping individuals with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to accommodate changes that are already underway in the society, but are being wrought by more powerful influences.

It seems that those who have been steering the course of development for Trinidad and Tobago hold this latter view about education. In the history of nations, Trinidad and Tobago could still be considered to be in the early stages of development and integration. The majority of the people were freed with Emancipation, and the East Indians, the other major ethnic group,11 were liberated from semi-serfdom with the end of the indentured system. In the words of Lord Harris and Dr. Eric Williams, "Two races have been freed, but a society has not been formed."12 The 1964-68 Plan states that "one of the fundamental goals of the education system should be the integration of the diverse racial and cultural elements in the community."13 Racial peace, then, is one aspect of the society to which education can presumably make a contribution.

Trinidad and Tobago hoped for a democratic society with racial harmony as a major ingredient. After independence, the fundamental principles of democracy were established, but democracy can not exist if citizens do not possess the education to permit them to make intelligent use of their privileges. Each adult should have the knowledge and mental capacity to exercise his or her right to participate in the government of the society. Education, then, is both a prerequisite to the formation of a democratic society and an essential feature of it. Through the increased facilities for education and improvement in its quality, it is hoped that the people of Trinidad and Tobago will adjust to the changes that an independent and democratic society will necessitate, and will competently carry out their roles and duties in the organizations and institutions of the "modern" society.

Universal primary education has already been achieved. The goal of free and universal secondary education is pursued by the nation builders as the best guarantee for the preservation of the democratic character of the society.

The effects of Trinidad and Tobago's emergence from four and a half centuries of colonialism were invariably negative. Particularly obstructive in the path of the development of a national society was the phenomenon of the "colonial mentality" which has been alluded to in previous chapters. This phenomenon can be observed in many of the newly independent nations. In Trinidad and Tobago, it is manifested not only in educational matters but also in a widespread low appreciation of things Trinidadian or "local." Conversely, anything "foreign", especially from the United Kingdom or North America, has tended to receive exaggerated valuation. In food, dress, advice, tastes, opinions and speech there has been a tendency to feel that the "local" is not as good as the "foreign." The notion is entertained that education holds the key to the solution of the "national inferiority complex." The 1964-68 Plan proposed measures for curing this social or psychological ill:

The West Indian environment should be emphasized in the primary and secondary modern schools and in Teacher Training Colleges, and the teaching of West Indian history should be compulsory in all secondary schools.14

It is hoped that by exposing young citizens to their own history, especially during their formative years of adolescence when the attitudes they will take into adult life are reinforced, a national consciousness will be developed. The re-orientation of the formal educative process away from the former "mother country" to the local scene, and the sympathetic treatment of the local culture and environment in the textbooks and content of the education offered in the schools, should engender a better understanding and appreciation for things Trinidadian.

Another way in which the nation builders hope education will contribute to the creation of the type of society conceived for Trinidad and Tobago is the correction of a prevailing aversion to manual labor, especially agricultural work. This attitude is highly inimical to the development of any society in which agriculture represents a large segment of the economy. This scorn for manual or agricultural work in Trinidad and Tobago can be traced back to the system of slavery and indentured labor which operated in agriculture in early colonial times. However, it should be pointed out that this reluctance to indulge in agriculture has been noted among people of other developing countries, even where slavery or indentureship did not mark their past. In these countries, the blame is placed on colonialism, since in such a system the native population grew to feel that activities in which their colonial masters did not indulge were "inferior." In Trinidad and Tobago, it is presumed and hoped that education will contribute to the eradication of this attitude toward agricultural work.

It can be argued that school curricula, especially at the secondary school level, have been attaching too much importance to literary and academic subjects rather than to the practical and technical subjects. If school curricula would focus more on the latter, then "work with the hands," especially in agriculture, would be more highly esteemed in the community. Ultimately, however, it is believed that financial rewards will remove the aversion to agricultural work. Greater attention to agriculture in the educational system can lead to improved agricultural methods and technology, and farming could therefore become more productive and profitable.

Thus, the developmental process in Trinidad and Tobago aims for a society in which the descendants of the various ethnic or racial groups will be integrated into a stable community. Democratic principles will underline the system of government, especially in the intelligent participation of the adult population. The developed society will be cured of the psychological scars of its colonial experience, and attitudes that are detrimental to healthy growth, especially in agriculture, would cease to exist. Education has been assigned a prominent role in the development of such a society.

In the creation of this "modern" society, education has a part to play not only in the sphere of relationships, principles and attitudes, but also in the more material aspects of social living. Inequality in opportunities and disparity in living standards are characteristics of pre-independence societies. Trinidad and Tobago, in seeking to build a modern society, would cite the equalization of opportunity and privilege amongst its people as an article of faith. An initial move to the realization of this goal is the establishment of a universal system of education. A better contribution, however, would be the removal of barriers that deprived certain segments of the population of equal chances of entry into the secondary schools.

Since education tends to be positively correlated with income in all countries, equalizing educational opportunity would consequently ensure a more even distribution of a country's wealth. The provision and equalization of opportunities for achieving a decent standard living is the rock on which a stable democratic society is built. It is through the educational system that each individual can hope to achieve standards of living or positions in the society consonant with his or her effort. As Black points out, modernization is "less a leveling than an equalization of opportunity, so that members of a society will find the roles best suited to their abilities and predispositions."15 The education system should allow for the development of individual talent, interest, and potential.

Education and the Economic Development of Trinidad and Tobago

At times, development seems to be regarded as almost entirely economic development. Black makes the point that "the economic aspect of modernization has been so dramatic that many have regarded it as the central and determining force in this process."16 Much of the reason for this might be that economists have made a greater contribution to the science of development than other social scientists. "Development" economics has been separated as a special area of overall discipline. Some explanation might also be found in the fact that economic growth is not merely the increased production of goods, but also of services such as education, communication and other vital components of the social structure. Moreover, economic theorists postulate that an indispensable concomitant to the process of economic growth is the laying of the social infrastructure. The distinction made between economic growth and social and economic development is often more theoretical than real.

The main reason, however, for the attention given to the economic aspect of development is that economic growth does indeed constitute a major section of the developmental process. The high priority placed on education in the developing countries is to a large extent due to the contribution that education can presumably make to economic development. The literature on the role of education in economic development reveals that there are a number of ways in which education makes a valuable contribution to economic growth. In some instances, it is merely the widespread provision of educational facilities among the populace that stimulates the growth of the economy. In other cases, the educational system, especially its curricula, can be deliberately structured to guarantee its contribution to economic growth. The relationship between secondary education and development in Trinidad and Tobago would better be understood then by considering how the notion of the economic value of education would apply to this country.

The 1964-68 Plan stated that "the development of our human resources cannot be divorced from the fullest possible utilization of the economic resources of the country."17

Contemporary economists have coined the phrase "human capital" to refer to this "development of human resources" or improvements in the quality of human beings which lead to higher production or output in economic activities. Traditionally, economic inputs were divided into land, labor and physical capital. Studies have shown that increases in economic growth could not always be explained by increments in the conventional factors of production. Schultz had calculated that with the increase of education in the labor force between 1930 and 1957 in the United States of America, "the estimated return to this educated capital in the labor force would appear to account for one-fifth of the economic growth of that period."18 Thus "human capital" was discovered as the missing link. Since then, economists have singled out education as the principal instrument for building up stocks of human capital. Expenditure on education, which was formerly regarded as a social service and a burden on the budget (as indicated in the early commissions on education to the West Indies), is now seen as a prime engine to economic growth and a sound investment. With this notion of education as an investment, the government of Trinidad and Tobago has been allocating substantial percentages of its revenue to expenditure on education.

Plans for economic development cannot be considered complete without estimates of the manpower required. An economic development program cannot be implemented without workers of different levels and types of skill and training to man the productive machinery and social infrastructure. Economic development relies almost entirely on the educational system to supply the skilled manpower and professional expertise. Shortages of manpower with technical and scientific skills constitute formidable obstacles or "bottlenecks" in the path of economic growth.

The 1964-68 economic development plan for Trinidad and Tobago suggested that previous growth was retarded by the fact that "a high proportion of inadequately skilled workers (in occupations classed as skilled) were employed in establishments in all branches of economic activity."19 Importing the required professional and skilled manpower is possible but expensive, and it could aggravate a foreign exchange problem. To ensure success in the economic development program, one has to provide the educational facilities to supply trained manpower.

Donors of foreign aid have come to realize that massive injections of physical capital are not the remedies for curing the ills of a sluggish or backward economy. Physical capital cannot be effectively utilized by an economy which lacks the absorptive capacity for it, especially with respect to skilled manpower. Lewis underlines the importance of the secondary school in supplying vital manpower for economic growth:

The products of the secondary schools are the officers and non-commissioned officers of an economic and social system... If secondary school graduates are in short supply,many desirable developments will be held up, and the cost of any scheme which relies on their skills will be excessive.20

One finds that in the 1964-68 Development Plan,21 the estimated capital expenditure on education was TT$21,844.66, of which about 40 percent was allocated to secondary education alone. Lewis emphasizes that where education is expected to promote economic growth, "secondary education has priority over elementary and university education."22 Harbison also emphasizes the importance of secondary education as a supplier of "sub-professional" manpower:

The most critical shortages in the high level manpower category are likely to be the persons with the higher intermediate skills, engineering technicians, agricultural assistants, medical technicians and nurses, and senior foremen and supervisors. This sub-professional group should be about 3 or 5 times as numerous as the senior administrative and professional categories.23

In seeking an explanation for growth in national income, Bowman directs attention to the "technological change" factor that includes:

The growth and spread of knowledge and know-how in the population by whatever process... and changes in the capital stock embodied in men, physical and mental, and also changes in the efficiency of physical capital and economic organization and structure.24

The source of this type of "knowledge and know-how," and the origin of these changes would generally be the research and experimentation (or the R&D) conducted in or with relation to the economy of a country. Schultz notes that "measured by annual expenditures, half of all the basic research in the United States is within the educational establishment."25 The 1964-68 Plan listed research in agriculture, medicine, housing, petroleum, fisheries and education as areas to which the University of the West Indies and the other research centers will be expected to contribute for economic development.

In Trinidad and Tobago, agriculture is the area of the economy in which education is expected to make its greatest contributions to economic development by generating new knowledge or improving the "state of the arts." It is for the propagation of new techniques that agriculture makes its greatest demand on the educational system, especially the secondary level. The secondary schools are expected to produce the prime movers of agricultural growth: the skilled farmers and the agricultural extension officers.

The bulk of the new agricultural technology will come from research centers at the Faculty of Agriculture of the University, and the Eastern Caribbean Farm Institute. The 1964-68 Plan stated that in agriculture, productivity was about one third of the average for the whole economy. Agriculture in Trinidad and Tobago, as it is in most developing countries, is the backward sector. Therefore, if the total economy were to grow at the estimated rate of 5.1 percent over the Plan period, then productivity in agriculture would have to increase. To increase the output per acre of land, new seeds and breeds suitable to Trinidadian conditions will have to be identified, and various scientific researches and experimentation would have to be carried out in many areas of the agricultural industry.

Equally important is the education of the ordinary farmer. For a "great deal will depend on the farmer and his efforts to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of his environment."26 Agricultural development over the Plan years was expected to shift from "plantation" to "domestic," especially for the production of food for local consumption. It has already been mentioned that education is expected to change the attitudes of those who are inimical to agriculture and induce more people to make a career or livelihood in agriculture. It is also hoped that education, both in its increased quantity and improved quality, will facilitate the communication and assimilation of ideas and methods that could lead to an improvement in the farmer's efficiency. For whereas the economic returns to investments in education is the generation of new knowledge, the full benefits of the new methods and techniques are not secured by the economy unless the people have been educated so as to be receptive to new ideas or methods.

Because of the generally smaller size of the enterprises and the absence of economies of scale, private industries in the underdeveloped countries tend to be reluctant to stand the cost of research. The local universities and research centers in the educational system are called upon to conduct an even greater amount of the research essential for healthy economic growth than in developed countries. Although research carried out in other countries is often applicable to one's own economy, substantial economic growth can often only be achieved by research carried out locally. The 1964-68 Plan cited the case of Israel as "an underdeveloped country where amazing economic progress was achieved on the basis of a most unpropitious natural environment which foreign experts had written off... by the application of the results of social, scientific and technical research conducted in Israel itself."27

Another obstacle in the path of economic development that education is presumably capable of removing is the absence of an entrepreneurial class in an economy. Although "the entrepreneur" defies precise definition, it is felt that countries cannot make rapid economic growth without these innovators, "opportunists" and "adventurers" who forever seek out and exploit business and economic opportunities and maintain dynamism and expansiveness in an economy. Harrison suggests that "although certain personal traits characterize these innovators, formal education can be designed to nourish and protect the creative talent."28

The miraculous economic growth experienced by the Japanese economy during the Meiji era has been attributed to a large degree to the supply of entrepreneurs that the educational system had been nurturing during the Tokugawa hegemony. The Japanese example is also used by Leibenstein to illustrate his notion of the relationship between education and entrepreneurial activity. He speculates that "the general education of parents may foster a reverence for the written word and for literacy skills that are connected in the long run with some of the necessary conditions for the creation of an active entrepreneurial class."29

It is debatable, however, whether any deliberate action can be taken in the educational system to ensure the creation of an entrepreneurial class or guarantee a constant flow of these "movers of innovation" in an economy. Harbison feels that "no one can yet specify just what kind of curriculum and orientation in education at various levels is likely to produce innovators rather than conformists."30 It would seem, too, that traits that characterize the entrepreneur, such as capacity for analyzing a problem or situation, literacy, imagination or initiative, are nothing more than some of the objectives of a sound education. One feels that close familiarity with the activities of some area of the economy, especially the operations of the world of business, would be valuable. One might be tempted to ask whether secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago, both in curriculum content and teaching methodology, could effectively serve the economy by the promotion of entrepreneurship.

One may postulate that a country's rate of population growth is one of the constraints to economic growth. Many of the emergent nations find themselves caught in a "population trap" where their population is growing faster than their economy. Even when efforts to increase the production of goods and services are successful, these increases are swamped by the new accretions to the population, thereby retarding or preventing a sustained growth of per capita output.

In underdeveloped countries, efforts to induce people to limit the size of their families encounter opposition from a variety of sources, especially the Church. Education, however, seems to be a positive factor. Westoff gives figures that show that the level of education and the size of family correlate significantly. With reference to the United States, he records that the fertility ratios for the period between 1942 and 1947 show an inverse relationship with women's education: "For 1947 women with 4 years or more of college education had a ratio of 271 per 1000, those with less than 5 years of grade school had a ratio of 508 per 1000."31

In Trinidad and Tobago, and in other parts of the world, one is likely to find that educated families have fewer children than uneducated families, even among members of religious groups that are strongly opposed to family planning. Bruton suggests that education "induces a more conscious appraisal of the consequences of one's actions, and results thereby in more rational decisions."32 Family planning or birth control campaigns are rarely effective in countries with a high illiteracy rate. If education does in fact lead to a limiting of family size, then there lies one of the greatest contributions education can make to economic development in the new nations.

Around the time of independence of Trinidad and Tobago, the rate of population growth was about 2.6 percent per annum, which was above the world average of 2.4 percent for underdeveloped countries and 1.3 for the developed.33 There was a population density of about 418 per square mile. The two islands comprise an area of about 1,980 square miles, and the pressure for land space is felt with resultant increases in price of land.

Roman Catholicism is the predominant Christian denomination in the country, and there is doctrinal discouragement to family limitation. The 1964-68 Plan made reference to the rate of population growth and did not neglect its implications for school building and employment, but there was no declared policy on population control. In summarizing the findings of research on factors influencing family size, Wrong states that "their main definitive finding has been that religion and education are of greater independent significance, at least, in urban groups than was formerly believed."34 It seems that education will have to be the counterbalancing force to religion in keeping the rate of population increase down to a level that would not severely retard economic growth.

Economic growth proceeds basically on savings and investment. Very often the measures that government must adopt to promote savings and investment impose initial hardships on large segments of the population. Even in apparent prosperity, consumption must at times be restrained for sustained or increased growth in the future. Often the people in the new nations are not fully aware of the costs, sacrifices and difficulties that the nations ahead in development have had to undergo. The governments of the new nations face a tremendous task in the development of their countries. These governments, therefore, need the sympathy and understanding of their people. Government programs always need "props" or devices for energizing the people and securing their enthusiastic participation. Education can help the people to understand and cooperate with the aims and efforts of its government, especially in matters such as taxation, austerity budgets and bonds, which are often necessary to generate savings vital to economic growth. Sound plans and excellent programs for development often come to no avail because of inertia and lack of commitment and understanding by the people. On the other hand, an educated populace would act as a check against governments with a propensity for extravagance and wastage, and encourage the adoption of sound and sober policies in economic, and other affairs.

Trinidad and Tobago, like other developing countries, faces an uncertain economic future because of the world economic crisis and the fluctuating fate of its natural resources. Economists studying the problems of the country warn that the only resource apart from oil, is "the people."35 For some years now it has been claimed that oil is a dwindling resource. The 1964-68 Plan stated that "if there were no new discoveries of oil in the country at the present rate of production, in using the existing techniques, our recoverable reserves would be exhausted in about 8 years."36 Moreover, because of the small size of the country and the density of the population, the possibilities of finding more natural resources are limited. Thus, if people are the country's main resources, education is of paramount importance in that one of the ways in which the education system serves the society is to "discover" or allow its human talent to come to the surface. Eckaus elaborates on this point: "Labor skills not only are developed by education, but they are found as well, one of the functions of an education system is to act as a mechanism for searching out and selecting potential talent."37

Here education is analogous to exploration in the oil industry. This notion has ironic significance to the situation in Trinidad and Tobago. Since extraction costs are rising with the depletion of the oil reserves, returns to expenditure on education as an investment in the exploration of human resources would probably be higher than returns on investment in the exploration of the country's main physical resources. The path to economic growth lies more in the development of the country's human talent than in its physical resources. Education is vital to economic growth.

The Primacy of Economic Growth

It was pointed out earlier that a substantial section of the developmental process was economic growth, and this was reflected in the attention that developing countries are giving specifically to economic development. It has often been repeated, especially by the spokesmen of the underdeveloped world, that "the main enemy of mankind is poverty."38 The Pope also quotes St. James in order to bring to attention the urgency of promoting economic growth in the war against hunger:

If a brother or a sister be naked, if they lack their daily nourishment, and if you say to them, Go in peace, be warmed and be filled, without giving them what is necessary for the body, what good does it do. (James 2)39

A prime objective of the leaders of the new nations is to raise the standards of living of their people. In most of the developing countries, large numbers of people have been living for some time at near sub-human levels. In the new societies they are striving to build, priority must be given to providing for the needs of the people: food, shelter and other basic physical requirements for living.

The primacy given to economic growth in the process of modernizing or developing a society is also due to the possibility that some of the "social" problems might have "economic" solutions. In Trinidad and Tobago, the weaving of the different racial strands into a societal whole is a principal concern of the nation builders. It is presumed that education can contribute to the establishment of racial harmony. It is not inconceivable, however, that racial and social harmony would more easily be achieved if the goods and services for satisfying basic physical needs were in supplies that would guarantee to all a minimally satisfactory share. This would reduce the competition and preoccupation for survival which can so debase human character and embitter inter-human relationships. One can find support for such a hypothesis in comparing the relatively harmonious race relationships between the two major ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago, and the racial strife that prevailed between the two same ethnic groups in the sister-nation of Guyana.

With its relatively high per capita national income, Trinidad and Tobago can be said to be making reasonably good provision for the material or physical satisfaction of its citizens, which presumably has contributed to general contentment and social stability. It is obvious, too, that not only should the economic development be such that the country could satisfy the basic physical needs of its people, but that the goods and services should be distributed with some measure of equality to guarantee this social peace.

Henry makes reference to the containment of distributional conflicts in the country which

would have abated since all groups in the society, including the most dispossessed, experienced some improvement in their real standard of living either directly through the growth in employment, and/or through the wide array of subsidies and transfers. Once all incomes are growing there should be less social and political concern over the share of the cake.40

Another social problem that might require an economic solution in Trinidad and Tobago is the attitude of the people toward manual work, especially in agriculture. It is not likely that this aversion to manual labor or agricultural work will change until those with agricultural and/or manual jobs feel they are being remunerated along a similar scale as those working in other economic activities. It has been noticed that the reluctance to engage in manual labor is not as marked in the petroleum industry as in agriculture, and this is undoubtedly because the same type of work receives a more decent wage in the oil industry than in agriculture.

In the type of society to which developing countries like Trinidad and Tobago are aspiring, the provision of opportunities for the development and fulfillment of individual potential is an article of faith. One of the principal reasons why men organize themselves into societies is because they are hopeful of finding scope for exercising whatever talents they possess in the varied activities of such organizations. A society is underdeveloped to the extent that its members fail to find opportunity to display or practice their natural gifts or aptitudes in the service of the community. For adults, opportunities for personal fulfillment are to be found to a large extent in their vocations or careers. Productive and creative jobs give them the satisfaction of accomplishment and fulfillment. Roe emphasizes that "it may be that occupations have become so important in our culture just because so many needs are so well satisfied by them."41 Venn asserts that "a man`s occupation in American society is now his single most significant status—conferring role."42

The success of an economic development program can be judged by the extent to which it provides jobs for the country's population. In developing countries, jobs are increasingly being regarded not merely as items in the economy or productive machinery, but as ends in themselves. Jobs are not incidental to the development plan, but they do constitute one of the desired outcomes. One of the stated overall objectives of the 1964-68 Plan for Trinidad and Tobago was "the fullest development and utilization of its human resources" or "to provide productive employment for the increasing labor force."43 Ministers of government boast of not how much more income the country gained from increased employment, but how many jobs the increased investment of income in the development program provided for the people.

Trinidad and Tobago44 found itself spending money in the development program to provide employment not with the expectation of increased national income, but merely as part of the goods and services that the people are to enjoy as the benefits of a successful development plan. It is through economic growth that a society develops to the extent that it can provide all its members with opportunities for individual development and fulfillment. Speaking of the major goals of societies, Harbison states that "the development of man for himself may still be considered the ultimate end, but economic progress can also be one of the principal means of attaining it."45

Education in the Creation of a New Society

Around the time of independence, the prevailing thoughts regarding societal growth and development were heavily influenced by economists. Political leaders, especially in developing countries, surrounded themselves with "bright young economists" as their prime advisors on the growth and development of their fledgling nations. Many of these political leaders may not have had a background in economics, as in the case of Eric Williams, the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, but speedily acquired the fundamental notions of the field, and would mesmerize their eager listeners in election campaigns with a barrage of economic statistics.

Independence in 1962 provided the opportunity and imposed the responsibility on the leaders and people of Trinidad and Tobago to pursue ardently the creation of a new society. The political achievement of independence now had to be matched by equally critical advances in social and economic development for the creation of this new society.

The path of political growth had been long and tedious. From the arrival of Columbus and possession by Spain in 1498, through the influx of French settlers in 1777, the capture by the British of Trinidad in 1797 and their acquisition of Tobago in 1802, and the imposition of Crown Colony status, the struggle for self governance finally ended with independence in 1962.

With the reins of government in their own hands, the people were eager to enjoy the benefits of the long-awaited political freedom. Soon the intoxication of gaining independence would wear off and the people would look for tangible benefits of their new status. At independence, the political leaders realized that economic growth had to be pursued urgently and vigorously to provide the goods and services people expected. An increase in opportunities for education, especially at the secondary school level, was not only one of these cherished benefits, but was also seen as an essential prerequisite to accelerated economic growth.

Just "as education makes the man," so, too, it creates and develops a society. During the period from the freedom of the slave population at emancipation in 1834 to the gaining of independence in 1962, one could question the contribution that education made to the "creation of society." It could be argued that the type of education provided and its availability to the different segments of the population had an undeniable influence on the structure and characteristics of the society of those times. It is equally arguable that the education system inherited by the national government at independence bore such strong traces of its colonial past that it militated against education playing a very positive role in the creation of a viable integrated society and in the elimination of the undesirable effects of the period of colonial domination.

Only time could tell whether the political decision makers were correct in placing so much faith in education for ridding the society of its colonial-acquired ills. They did not indicate any time frame in which to rid society of defects through educational reform and development.

When one looks at society in Trinidad and Tobago after three decades of independent growth, there is evidence that many of the social ills continued to persist after independence. Although the physical mixture of races and the racial integration of the society have reached relatively high proportions, one cannot afford to take for granted the harmony with which the different racial and ethics groups live together. Education continues to play a vital role in maintaining and enhancing racial harmony within the society. Any traces of the "colonial mentality" that linger on in the personality of citizens and the society at large must be removed by the education system. It is hoped that through education, the persisting negative attitudes toward manual labor will change. Agricultural development will continue to suffer from labor shortages if the aversion to manual work is not corrected among the populace.

In analyzing the role that education could play in the creation of the new society, one should be wary of the tendency to see education as the panacea for a multiplicity of social ills. Although, as mentioned earlier, education can contribute to personality formation and social transformation, one should not lose sight of the fact that the effective solution to many of the problems in society may be outside of the realm of education.

In creating a new society, development has to be pursued in all sectors. Deficiencies in one sector could affect the rate of growth in another. In education, for instance, low attainment by students could be due in part to the limitations in the health sector for the care of children. At independence, the national government had to launch a comprehensive development plan, encompassing all sectors, to create a new society.


1. Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Five Year Development Program 1958-62 (Trinidad: Government Printer, 1957).

2. Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Second Five Year Development Program 1964-1968 (Trinidad: Government Printer, 1963).

3. Harbison F. and C. Myers, Education, Manpower and Economic Growth (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1964) 2.

4. United Nations, The United Nations Development Decade. Proposals for Action Report of the Secretary General (New York: United Nations, 1962) 3.

5. T. Brameld, The Remaking of a Culture; Life and Education in Puerto Rico (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1959). See Spindler's comments in his Puerto Rican study in Harvard Educational Review 31.3 (1961): 345-349. Spindler's criticisms are directed mainly to the methodology, especially the selection of the sample of respondents, and the interpretation of their responses.

6. J. Coleman, et al., Equality of Education Opportunity (Washington: United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1966) 279-302.

7. G. Kneller, Educational Anthropology (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1965) 89-90.

8. H.M. Phillips, "Education and Development" Economic and Social Aspects of Educational Planning (Paris: UNESCO, 1964) 21.

9. J. Henry, "A Cross Cultural Outline of Education," Current Anthropology 1.4 (1960).

10. P. Jackson, "The Student's World," The Elementary School Journal (1966).

11. The second largest ethnic group in the country is the East Indians, who were brought under a system of indentured labor to work in the plantations after the abolition of slavery.

12. Eric Williams, History of the People of Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad: P.N.M. Publishing Co., 1962) 278.

13. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 125.

14. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 1963, 125.

15. C.E. Black, The Dynamics of Modernization (New York: Harper and Row, 1966) 21.

16. Black 19

17. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 1963, p.v.

18. T. Schultz, "Reflections on Investment in Man," Journal of Political Economy 5.2 (1962): 4.

19. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 1963, 132.

20. W.A. Lewis, Development Planning (London: Allen and Unwin, 1966) 232.

21. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 1963, 324.

22. Lewis 234.

23. F. Harbison, "The Prime Movers of Innovation," Education and Economic Development, eds. C. Anderson and M. J. Bowman (Chicago: Aldine Co., 1965) 235.

24. M.J. Bowman, "Human Capital: Concepts and Measures," Economics of Higher Education, ed. S. Mushkin (Washington: U.S.O.E., 1962).

25. T. Schultz, The Economic Value of Education (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963) 46.

26. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 1963, 164.

27. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 1963, 164.

28. Harrison 239.

29. Leibenstein, H. "Shortages and Surpluses in Education in Underdeveloped Countries," Education and Economic Development, eds. C. Anderson and M. Bowman (Chicago: Adline, 1965) 62.

30. Harrison 236.

31. C.F. Westoff, "Differential Fertility in the United States, 1900 to 1942," American Sociology Review 19.5 (1954): 555.

32. H.J. Bruton, Principles of Development Economics (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1965) 271.

33. Agency for International Development, Statistics and Reports Division, "Estimated Annual Growth Rates of Developed and Less Developed Countries" (1965).

34. D.H. Wrong, Population and Society (New York: Random House, 1961) 79.

35. W. Demas, The Economics of Development in Small Countries with Special Reference to the Caribbean (Montreal: McGill Press, 1965) 138.

36. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 1963, 58.

37. R. Eckaus, "Education and Economic Growth," Economics of Higher Education, ed. S. Muskin (Washington: U.S.O.E., 1962) 104.

38. Governor Muņoz Marin, Governor of Puerto Rico, address, Brandeis University, 7 October 1961.

39. Pope Paul VI, On the Development of Peoples, Encyclical letter of His Holiness Pope Paul VI (Boston: St.Paul's Edition, 1967)

40. Ralph Henry, "The Evolution of Inequality in Trinidad and Tobago," Trinidad Ethnicity, ed. K. Yelvington (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

41. A. Roe, The Psychology of Occupations (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1956) 33.

42. G. Venn, Man Education and Work (Washington: American Council on Education, 1964) 11.

43. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 1963, 10.

44. Government of Trinidad and Tobago 1963, 72.

45. The 1964-68 Plan indicates the Government's intention of setting up a Special Works Program and a Special Relief Program to provide jobs for the unemployed, especially among the 15 to 24 age group. Also, the success of the Industrial Development Corporation that was set up with public funds is judged not merely by the amount foreign capital it has attached to the country, but the amount of jobs it has assisted investors or industrialists to create for the Trinidadian worker.

46. F. Harbison, "Human Resources and Development," Economic and Social Aspects of Educational Planning (Paris: UNESCO, 1964).