A REVIEW OF THE 15-YEAR PLAN
By the year 1983, which was the termination year of the 15-Year Plan for Educational Development, implementation had progressed on all the sub-projects with varying degrees of success. Changes had been made in the Plan, especially as a consequence of the Prime Minister's Proposals to Cabinet on Education and his Further Proposals in 1975.
In spite of the changes in the 15-Year Plan and the fact that it was never converted from its "Draft" form, the Plan for Educational Development in Trinidad and Tobago 1968-1983, continued to be the official blueprint for the development of the education in Trinidad and Tobago. It laid the foundation for a relevant national education system for the country and shaped its growth well into the future.
The reform and reconstruction of the education system, especially at the secondary level, stood out as the major achievement of the national government under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams. The implementation of the 15-Year Educational Development Plan was to remain the developmental program that received the highest priority from the PNM government because of its potential for securing votes in repeated election campaigns. Although the changes promoted by Dr. Williams in his Proposals and Further Proposals to the Cabinet in 1975 cannot be denied their sound theoretical basis, there is no doubt that they were instigated by the preoccupation of the ruling party to meet the strident demands from the populace for more and better schools for their children, especially at the secondary level.
Judging from comments by World Bank officials on the execution of the three World Bank Educational loan projects, the implementation of the 15-Year Educational Plan for Trinidad and Tobago was one of the most ambitious educational developmental programs undertaken by a Third World country at the time.
In spite of the cancellation of the Third World Bank education and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) vocational school loans, the level of execution and disbursement of funds was creditably high for a developing country. The World Bank Officials were satisfied with the performance of the Educational Planning Unit of the Ministry of Education and the Loan Project Unit associated with the Ministry of Works which were the government departments with direct responsibility for the administration of the loan project. The Education Development Institute of the World Bank brought high-level educational planners from Third World countries to Trinidad and Tobago for practical experience in managing World Bank educational loans.
In 1975, the World Bank made plans with the government of Trinidad and Tobago to include the Director of the Educational Planning Unit in the Ministry of Education as a consultant in a World Bank mission to Nicaragua to assist that government in the execution of a similar educational loan project.
One of the lasting benefits of the operation of the 15-Year Educational Plan and the involvement of external funding agencies like the World Bank and IDB was that the government of Trinidad and Tobago had an opportunity to acquire very valuable experience and practice in educational planning.
Convinced of the efficacy of planning, especially in education, the Cabinet of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago directed the Ministry of Education to prepare a 5-Year Educational Plan to succeed the 15-Year Plan in August 1984.
In keeping with sound planning theory, it was decided that an assessment of the 15-Year Plan should be made as a transition to a subsequent plan and preparation for it. The report1 of this assessment identified the major achievements of the Educational Planwhich had now run its coursealong with a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the performance of the Plan. This assessment, which was undertaken by the Educational Planning Unit of the Ministry of Education, covered all sections of the 15-Year Plan, but gave the most attention to secondary education.
Although the timing of the assessment in 1984 was theoretically sound in that the 15-Year Plan period terminated in 1983, its political significance was even more notable. A general election was scheduled for 1986. Dr. Eric Williams, who was Prime Minister throughout the whole independent period of the country until his death in 1981, had always used education, especially at the secondary school level, as the major vote catcher in election campaigning. Besides his deep-seated academic interest in education, and despite the repeated allegation that he did not "understand people," he was fully aware of the value that the people of Trinidad and Tobago attached to education, especially as one of the benefits to come from gaining independence from the colonial government.
It is to be expected, therefore, that an assessment of the performance of the government in the execution of the Plan would read more like an election campaign manifesto rather than an objective evaluation of the successes and failures of the implementation. And so it did. Except for some veiled criticisms of the execution of the Plan in a chapter on conclusions in the Assessment, the entire report lists the achievements of the Plan, but rarely mentions the difficulties that were experienced during the implementation period and the lessons that could be learned from the experience.
The Assessment offers precious few insights into the whole planning and execution process of this undertaking to which so much of the nation's financial and human resources were dedicated and to which so much of the attention of the government and people of the country was directed.
The activity of the Plan that consumed the majority of the funds allocated, especially from the external loans, was the construction of school buildings. This was the aspect of the Plan in which the politicians had the highest interest. More buildings meant more school places which would translate into more votes on election day. At the Junior Secondary level, the Plan had projected a construction target of 45 such new schools by 1983, and converting 15 others to bring the total to 60. It was estimated that for 1983, the Junior Secondary schools would have enough room to accommodate 33,500 students, or 80 percent of the 11+ age group. The Assessment shows that during the 1968-83 period, 21 Junior Secondary schools were built. The number of Junior Secondary schools, therefore, that were actually built during the Plan period was a little less than half the targeted total.
However, the Assessment points out that the 21 new Junior Secondary schools accommodated 38,800 students, a greater number than that targeted in the Plan for 1983. The explanation for the difference is that the new Junior Secondary Schools accommodated students on a double shift basis. It can be argued, therefore, that on the basis of accommodations, the use of the double shift system was an efficient strategy. It allowed the government of Trinidad and Tobago to entertain the possibility of meeting its target of providing secondary school places for practically all students leaving primary school during the plan period. It cannot be denied that quantitatively, the implementation of the Plan was a remarkable success at the Junior Secondary School level.
The 15-Year Plan envisaged that the percentage of students in the 15+ age-group who were absorbed into the public education system, whether academic or technical, would rise from approximately 23 percent in 1967 (including 1 percent into technical) to approximately 37 percent in 1980 (including 12 technical). The target therefore was Senior Secondary education for about 37 percent of the 15+ age group to continue on to Senior Secondary education.
The Prime Minister's Proposals and Further Proposals in 1975 brought about a fundamental change in educational policy and the establishment of the five-year norm for secondary education for all. Although the changes mandated by the Prime Minister's Proposals were officially incorporated as modifications of the 15-Year Plan, no details were worked out for the phasing of the construction and other developments toward the ultimate provision of five years of secondary education for all.
Building programs were accelerated at a feverish pace, but neither in policy statements nor in election campaign manifesto did the government or ruling party state precisely when the goal of five years of secondary schooling for all would be achieved. In view of the enormous demands that the school building programs were already exerting on the construction industry, and the frustration expressed by parents at delays in completion dates, the government thought it politically risky to specify dates for the fulfillment of the promise of five years of free secondary education. The Assessment, therefore, emphasized the increases in secondary school places between the start and end of the Plan period. The following Table provided by the Assessment presented an impressive picture of the growth of public secondary schools between 1969 and 1983.
The Plan had targeted 35 to 40 percent of the Junior Secondary school graduates to continue on to Senior level secondary education. The construction program launched to implement the Cabinet decision on the 5-year norm succeeded in providing Senior level secondary education for an estimated 63.8 percent of the 14+ age group by the end of the plan period in 1983.
One has to conclude, therefore, that in the implementation of the 15-Year Plan 1968-1983, the government of Trinidad and Tobago, under the leadership of Dr. Eric Williams, succeeded in providing Junior Secondary education for 85 percent of the 11+ age group leaving primary school, and 63.8 percent of 14+ age group graduating from the Junior Secondary going on to Senior Secondary.
When compared with efforts by other developing countries to formulate long-term plans for educational development and the implementation of those plans, the 15-Year Plan can be considered a model in its conception, formulation and execution. Unprecedented growth, both quantitatively and qualitatively, was achieved in the educational system at the secondary school level. School places were created at a feverish pace, but much thought and enlightenment were put into the design and equipment of the schools, thereby leading to the qualitative improvement in their learning environments. The inclusion of labs, workshops, agricultural areas, libraries and other facilities in the schools permitted long-awaited referendum reform. The development of new curricula, the training of teachers, the expansion of the curriculum supervisory service, provision of guidance counsellors, library and lab assistants all contributed to improving the quality of education.
This was indeed a very creditable achievement for a developing country that only gained its independence in 1962. The 15-Year Plan sought to eliminate many of the deficiencies in education that were inherited from the colonial period. Its implementation put into place the infrastructure of a new educational system, especially at the secondary school level that could be expanded and refined as a foundation for building a new nation. As Dr. Williams pointed out, the students who would be passing through these schools carried the future of the nation "in their school bags."
The quantitative improvements in the secondary educational system resulting from the implementation of the 15-Year Plan were substantial and extensively recorded in the Assessment. Although some attention was given to the qualitative aspects, the Assessment suffers from its inadequate treatment of the plan's attempts to improve quality in the secondary school system.
Among the problems identified however, the double shift was cited as an object of criticism, mainly because of the long unsupervised hours of the students attending these schools, the attendant social problems and dangers, and the limitations on extra-curricular activities of the students. Another issue raised in the assessment that would affect the quality of education was the education and training of the teachers for the Junior Secondary School. It was concluded that "additional steps" had to be taken to have the teachers professionally trained. The main concern expressed in the Assessment, however, was the low academic performance of students of the Junior Secondary Schools. A number of factors were identified, and certain measures were proposed to address these problems. Similarly, a major cause of concern was a failure rate of 83 percent of students at the senior secondary level in the Specialized Craft Examinations of the National Examinations Council and the need was expressed for remedial action to deal with the main factors responsible for the low performance.
High failure rate, not only in the examinations of the National Examinations Council, but also in those of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and the General Certificate of Education (GCE), was stressed as the principal setback in the implementation of the 15-Year Plan. It pointed to the need to devote more attention to the qualitative aspects of the system. The successes and failures identified in the Assessment in the implementation of the 15-Year Plan are undeniably valid.
A review of that same report, however, and those of the two major external funding agencies, the World Bank and IDB, would reveal other significant achievements and shortfalls, and lessons to be learned for the future development of secondary education in the country.
The Assessment made a very timely appearance on the educational scene in Trinidad and Tobago. An evaluation of the Plan upon completion was obviously necessary, in view of the enormous investment of the country's resources that were committed to this sector of development during that period.
Since it was decided to continue to plan systematically the development of education in the ensuring years, a review of the previous plan's performance as embodied in the document, could serve as a base for the formulation of the subsequent plan, and as a point of departure for the detailed planning exercise. In educational planning, a review stage should fall between the completion of one plan and the initiation of another. This would ensure continuity in the planning process.
Besides providing an evaluation as a base for subsequent planning, the Assessment also served to identify measures to be taken to consolidate the achievements of the executed Plan. In addition to any new development that would take place in the next plan, strategies would have to be devised to consolidate the returns to the unprecedented investment that the country had made in the 15-Year Plan.
The Assessment succeeded in covering all the objectives and targets of the 15-Year Plan, as well as the modifications introduced by the Prime Minister's proposals, but there were some features that needed to be reviewed more carefully in order to maximize its value as a guideline for adopting consolidation strategies and to determine the objectives of the new plan.
The aspect of the Assessment that should have been most informative for decisions on the future development of education was the analysis of expenditure of the Plan. The warning in the Assessment that rapidly rising costs and declining revenues caused the Government to re-evaluate many of the projects, and that the Third Educational Project of the World Bank had to be abandoned, should have been regarded with utmost concern for the next planning exercise. In 1983, expenditure on education was at 5.9 percent of GNP, a figure higher than a world average of 4.0 for developing countries.2
In view of the high rate of escalation in building costs for schools, the government should have been forewarned to exercise caution and care in setting targets for the growth of the system, especially in the provision of school places. In particular, the capital expenditure required to establish universal secondary education would be a crippling burden on the national income. The financial burden would be even more difficult to bear because of the relatively higher costs of the buildings and equipment for the comprehensive type of secondary school that would be the predominant model for future expansion of the secondary school system.
Even more crucial than the enormous capital and recurrent expenditure would be the recurrent cost of the comprehensive diversified curricula as conceived for the new Junior Secondary, Composite and Senior Comprehensive schools as the mould for producing the skilled, technical, and professional manpower needed by the economy, and ensuring a stock of manpower from which employers could draw for manning the industrial and agricultural development machinery. The hard lesson should have been learned of the need to slow down the rate of growth of the secondary school sector to keep capital and recurrent expenditure within affordable limits. At the same time, however, the growth of this sector of education should maintain its relationship with the manpower needs of the economy. The planning operation would have to include very careful projections and costing.
Lessons from the implementation of the 15-Year Plan indicated that in calculating recurrent expenditure, some features of the new secondary schools would have to be given special attention. The abundance and type of equipment and facilities that had been supplied to the new secondary schools were unprecedented in the history of education of the country. With no prior experience to use a guide, one would have to calculate very carefully the maintenance and replacement costs of these items. Since many were installed in the early 1970s, their life or usefulness would have been coming to an end in the late 1980s. The maintenance and replacement of the buildings would also be very costly.
Another contribution to the high recurrent costs of the new secondary schools would be the recruitment and training of teachers or instructors for the non-academic subjects. One would have to resort to some special incentives to attract and retain teachers, especially those teaching technical subjects, to counteract the pull from industry.
Although it can be argued that the 15-Year Plan did recognize the importance of teachers as a vital element in the educational system, provisions for teacher training, especially for the Junior Secondary schools, were inadequate. It is generally agreed that one of the most effective ways to improve quality in education would be to provide the schools with better teachers. Securing the maximum educational benefits from all the features that went into the new secondary schoolsdesign of building, equipment, workshops and labs would depend on the qualifications and training of the teachers. The 1980 Report of a Teacher Education Committee on Teacher Education and Training for the primary level and for Secondary, Tertiary, and Further Training produced many valuable recommendations that could be considered for teacher training for the secondary schools. Special schemes would have to be made, and courses would have to be devised specifically for the training of teachers of the Junior Secondary Schools. An important consideration in designing curricula for training these teachers and for the whole new secondary school system would be that children coming into secondary schools nowadays did not bring to the classroom the background, language development, social graces, attitudes and behavior patterns that were traditionally associated with secondary school students. They were coming from homes in the lower levels of the socio-economic scale, from parents who themselves had not had a secondary education and with many other factors that required approaches and methods very different from those used traditionally in the secondary school.
As in all educational budgets, teacher salaries would continue to be the most expensive item, especially since it was the intention to supply all secondary schools with full graduate staffs. The cost would even be higher if an attempt was made to raise the quality of education by improving the teacher-pupil ratio. Although one would like to see the quality of education constantly improving, one would have to be realistic and bear in mind that education had a cost, that had to be considered with all the other demands on the nation's financial resources. One had to look for ways of improving the teaching corps but within reasonable and realistic limits in cost. It seemed reasonable, therefore, to set a goal to have a fully trained, but not necessarily graduate, teaching staff for the secondary schools.
Teacher training experiences from other countries would suggest that the possibility of a fully trained teaching staff could best be entertained if one were to consider the concept of team teaching as fundamental to teaching methodology at all levels. One makes the best use of resources for teacher training when responsibilities with different kinds of training are combined. In this way maximum benefit of the highly trained and experienced teachers is achieved. Cost and wastage would be avoided if many of the chores, duties and activities in the classroom that do not require expensive, highly trained university graduates, are done by less costly trained personnel working in collaboration with the "master" teacher. Generally, much of the teacher's time in a classroom is spent on routine mechanical repetition, basic supervision, baby sitting and the like. Especially in the larger senior comprehensive schools, one could have included other types of personnel different from the conventional teacher (such as bursars, teacher aides, assistants, remedial teachers, counselors and even secretaries) which would reduce the need for highly professionally trained teachers or make better use of those on the staff. For the future, the teacher training effort would have to address the preparation of these new personnel. Team teaching therefore offered good possibilities for maximizing benefits from the investments in highly trained graduate teachers.
In devising appropriate salary scales in the team teaching arrangement, account would have to be taken of the special responsibility of a master teacher in the team, or other duties like subject coordinator or head of department. In this way, dedicated experienced teachers would be more willing to stay in classroom teaching rather than seek the more lucrative administrative positions in the Ministry of Education. Moreover, one would have to establish a truly integrated teaching service embracing the Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary with appropriate training arrangements and salary scales so that competent teachers with special interest in particular levels of education may be encouraged to stay and progress in that aspect of education. A major concern in any future planning of education would be to improve the recruitment, training and development, motivation and incentives to teachers.
While looking at the teacher in order to improve the quality of education, special attention should be given to basic methodology in the classroom. It could be argued that in spite of the declaration that the major objective of education is to teach, schools at all levels were essentially preparing students to pass exams. Because of the deficits in supply over demand at all levels of the system, education was still too much a preparation for exams and not a preparation for life. Exams were exerting too much influence on the approach to teaching. Children should have been taught how to learn, not how to pass exams by regurgitating information. This should be the underlying principle in teaching methodology in all subjects. How one is taught should matter more than what. More research is needed to be done on appropriate effective methodology and be incorporated into the teacher training courses of all levels.
Financing was another aspect of the 15-Year Plan from which very important lessons should have been learned. In the final analysis, a country gets not what it needs in education, nor what the people want, but what it can afford. The government would have to be realistic and tune its educational development to the percentage of the GNP that could feasibly be expected for education. In the planning exercise, one would have resort to devices like the Educational Simulation Finance Model which was developed by the World Bank and introduced to Caribbean countries in an OAS educational planning workshop in Jamaica.
Such planning techniques would help to determine the optimum investment mix or allocation of resources to educational development, given a certain percentage of the GNP. Cost effectiveness would have to be the key word. One would have to be constantly looking for ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of the use of the resources devoted to education.
Since the provision of places for all students leaving primary school was not achieved in the implementation of the 15-Year Plan, a major thrust in the next plan period would be the expansion of secondary education toward the ultimate realization of universal secondary education. According to calculations, about 76 percent of the 11+ population were going onto secondary school in 1983. Depending on the costs of secondary school expansion and the percentage of the GNP that would be available for the growth of this sector, it would take some time before the ideal was achieved. In the meantime, one would have to ask what was to happen to the approximately 24 percent of the 11+ population who did not get into secondary schools. Greater attention would have to be given to them. "These 11+ rejects" constituted a block of potentially valuable human resources. In any case, they were as much the responsibility of the State as those children who "passed" the 11+. More attention should have been paid to the primary schools from which the secondary school students came.
First one would have to study more carefully why so many "failed" the C.E. (i.e., why their were scores so low). Such a study would help to better understand the deficiencies in the primary school system, and improve its efficiency so that the 76 percent who go on the secondary school would be able to progress more readily and reduce the need for remedial work in the secondary schools. A penetrating study would have to be done on the "facilitators" and "inhibitors" to learning among primary school children. The research should include an examination of the methodology used in the newly added subjects to the Common Entrance Examination to see if primary school curriculum was still negatively influenced by the exam. With regard to the Common Entrance as a selection or allocation device, one would have to see to what extent the practice of allowing primary school students two opportunities to pass the exam would affect the speed with which the country ultimately realized universal secondary education.
In its conclusion, the Assessment made very pertinent observations about the transfer from an elitist educational system that prevailed during the colonial era to a mass educational system. No reference was made, however, to the implications of the ongoing arrangement for selection or allocation of pupils to secondary schools for this transformation. The Common Entrance Examination and the procedure for assigning students to the various and unequal types of secondary schools in the country, stood as a paradox in that it was supposed to promote equality of opportunity. The exam itself, followed by the procedure of assigning students, parents making choices and the different prestige levels of the secondary schools, have been of the most influential factors in the perpetuation of the elitist system.
Selection procedure for secondary school was very relevant to the Plan's philosophical objective of equality of opportunity. There is no evidence in the assessment that this objective was achieved in the implementation of the Plan. Free secondary education, in addition to equality of opportunity in education was a prime goal of the 15-Year Plan and a cherished dream of Dr. Williams, the father of the Nation. A major strategy in the Plan for the realization of this goal was the replacement of the College Exhibition Examination by the Common Entrance as a selection mechanism for entry into secondary school, and the provision of school places for all children leaving primary school. The Plan represented a blueprint for achieving this objective with specific dates for the construction of the required secondary schools. The replacement of the College Exhibition Exam by the Common Entrance was intended to give all primary school leavers an equal chance to secondary education, regardless of the socio-economic status of their parents. Whereas the College Exhibition was very susceptible to coaching, and middle-class parents would be better able to pay the high fees for special coaching of their children, the Common Entrance was supposed to test innate intelligence, and was to be relatively immune to coaching and free of any social class bias.
There is a need for research to determine the extent to which the change from College Exhibition to Common Entrance Exam and other strategies carried out in the Plan to equalize opportunity were effective. Some major delicate questions would have to be asked... "did all children have an equal chance or equal access to secondary education?" and "were the secondary schools equal?" At the end of the Plan period, one could have identified eight types of secondary schools in the country. It was very likely that a disproportionate number of middle-class children were getting into the type of secondary school that was considered more desirable by all classes of citizens. In any research on equality of educational opportunity, one would have to give attention to other pertinent factors like the right of parents to choose a school for their children versus the authority of the State in such decisions, and advisability of zoning in the light of geographic concentration of racial and social groups in the country.
Therefore, with respect to the selection procedure for entry into secondary school, there were some crucial questions that the Assessment failed to address. Because of their delicate nature, it is possible that the society at large may not have wanted to ask them. It is also likely that the answers and solutions may have been outside of the realm of education.
Judging from the implementation of the 15-Year Plan, the feature of the educational system which merited most attention in future planning was the shift system. The Assessment drew attention to the policy decision to de-shift the Junior Secondary school and expressed sensitivity for the cost implications and the unavoidably protracted process of putting all schools on single shift. The cost of the implementation of this policy decision and its phased process would have to be carefully worked out in the future plans. It is clear that more attention should be given to the disadvantages of the shift system, and efforts should be made to reduce the handicaps of the education of those children who find themselves in double shift schools. Due to the peculiar selection and assignment procedures following the Common Entrance Exam, those children tend to come from relatively disadvantaged homes and classes of society. The Report3 of the Committee to "Consider Measures to Alleviate Problems of the Shift System" offered suggestions for action and intimated ways to capitalize on whatever advantages may have been inherent in such a system.4 Some ideas were formulated in a proposal that the author made on a Teacher Aide System in which the curriculum of Junior Secondary schools on the double shift would have been divided into "lightly and heavily" structured educational activities, thereby utilizing some of the "off-shift" time for complimentary learning activities.
Alternative strategies such as the "Extended Day System," by which careful time-tabling of classes and scheduling of break times for each shift would permit one set of students to use classrooms while the other would occupy the labs, workshops, libraries, auditorium and physical education and sport areas should have been considered. In the early years of the implementation of the 15-Year Plan, the Educational Planning Unit did consider this type of arrangement. In addition to the report of the Cabinet Committee on the Shift System, experiences of other studies, such as the Report5 of the Shift System in Jamaican schools that was published by the School of Education of the University of the West Indies could be evaluated.
One of the most revolutionary innovations of the 15-Year Plan was the diversification of the secondary school curricula and the inclusion of specialized craft subjects in the Senior Comprehensive Schools. The Assessment made reference to the "poor implementation of the specialized craft programs." This pointed to the need for a systematic analysis of tracer studies of the graduates entering employment in view of the crucial importance of this training to the economy and because of the high costs of equipment and facilities and the problem of unemployment among youth. The statement in the Assessment that "the view has been expressed that the specialized craft programs are within the ability range of senior comprehensive students if they are well prepared at each level of the educational system" should have been a more firm pronouncement on the basis of careful research on the performances of those students in their courses. In a discussion of the CXC and GCE results of the same secondary school students, the Assessment concluded that a "large percentage are not capable of attempting these syllabuses." Any analysis of the diversified curricula of the Junior Secondary and Senior Comprehensive schools should also look seriously at Agricultural Science, especially to try to determine its effect on the agricultural development in the country.
The implementation of the 15-Year Plan was financed in part by the First and Second World Bank Loans. A Third World Bank Loan which had been canceled was initiated to some extent to consolidate the achievements and to complement the first two. One of the objectives of the abortive Third Loan was the introduction of curriculum and teacher development centers to improve the efficiency of teachers. The establishment of learning resource centers could go a long way to improving the quality of education at all levels in the country. Two main centers could be located at the Teacher Training Colleges at Valsayn and Corinth, especially since the majority of the primary school teaching force was almost completely trained by the end of the 15-Year Plan. The former Mausica Teachers' College could also be considered as a location for one central teacher development unit. In addition to the establishment of those main centers, efforts could be made to promote the use of school libraries as resource centers. A school library should not only be a place where students come to borrow books, but be the hub of all learning activities for students and teachers in the school. Teachers should be encouraged and assisted in developing their own low-cost teaching aids and materials at their own work place.
In drawing up the 15-Year Plan, an attempt was made to define the ultimate objective of the educational process (i.e., the type of person that the schools were to produce). Although it might have been too soon after the termination of the plan period to try to determine how the graduates of the new secondary schools were fitting in and contributing to society, serious thought should have to been given to the skills, characteristics, attitudes and overall personality to be developed in the students as a result of the new plan. The results of tracer studies on the graduates of the new comprehensive schools could be very informative. The Guidance Unit that was established in the system could maintain an ongoing link between the world of work, the society at large and the school system, especially at secondary level.
The evaluation made by the Ministry of Education on the implementation of the 15-Year Plan was undoubtedly a very timely activity and valuable for the planning of the educational system. The Assessment, however, did contain significant omissions and oversights and could have learned a valuable lesson from the implementation of the 15-Year Plan to guide the future development of education in the country.
1. Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Ministry of Education, Assessment of the Plan for Educational Development in Trinidad and Tobago 1968-1983 (Trinidad and Tobago: Printing Unit, Ministry of Education, 1984).
2. 1980 figures, UNESCO Statistical Year Book of 1983
3. Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Report of the Cabinet Appointed Committee to consider measures to alleviate problems of the Shift System at Schools (Port of Spain: N.p., 1975).
4. The author had made some pertinent suggestions in a proposal to the Minister of Education entitled "A Teacher Aide System" in February 1979.
5. Esla A. Leo-Rhynie, Report of the Shift System in Jamaica schools (Trinidad and Tobago: University of the West Indies, School of Education, 1980).