This book was produced from the research and analyses I have made of education in Trinidad and Tobago while studying at the University of the West Indies, University of London, Claremont Graduate School in California and Harvard University in Massachusetts, and while working as Chief Education Officer and Director of Educational Planning in the Ministry of Education of Trinidad and Tobago, as Director and Deputy Director of the Department of Educational Affairs of the Organization of American States (OAS), as a Consultant to the World Bank and as Professor in Comparative and International Education at the George Washington University in the USA.
My intimate involvement in the implementation of the 15-Year Plan for Educational Development in Trinidad and Tobago 1968-1983 afforded me a unique opportunity to secure valuable insights into the day-to-day execution of this educational plan for which the main thrust was the improvement and expansion of the secondary school system. I felt an obligation to record this experience and put the results of my analysis of the implementation of this plan at the disposal of future planners of education in Trinidad and Tobago, other Caribbean countries, and developing countries throughout the world.
The principal aims of the book are as follows:
a. To trace the history of secondary education in Trinidad and Tobago from the colonial era to independence and onto the early days of nationhood.
b.To conduct an analysis of the development of secondary education in Trinidad and Tobago while relating its historyan analysis made on the basis of theories on the role of education in development and its susceptivity to political influence.
c.To give the people of Trinidad and Tobago and other West Indians (and to some extent, people in all former colonies of Europe) clearer understanding of the past out of which the present secondary education system is derived and the attitudes and influences born in and nurtured by the country's colonial experience that may still be active.
d.To provide insights and a better understanding of the role that secondary education plays in overall development in a young developing nation like Trinidad and Tobago, and how this role is shaped by influences such as political expediency and international funding agencies.
e.To secure insights and extract lessons from the development of secondary education in Trinidad and Tobago and to use that experience to improve the planning of secondary education in other developing countries.
f.To put in correct perspective economic growth, manpower production or human resource development as objectives to secondary education, since many developing countries like Trinidad and Tobago devote much of their national income to education as an investment.
Trinidad and Tobago ceased to be a colony of the United Kingdom in 1962. With the achievement of independence, concern deepened for its educational system, especially at the secondary stage, and demand has increased steadily ever since.
As the country assumed complete control of its affairs, the need was expressed to review the history of education to better understand the system left behind by the colonial government. Questions were asked about the relevance of that education to the needs of the people of Trinidad and Tobago and its capacity for shaping the new society. Similar questions about relevance are still being asked, and this book will attempt to shed some light on these questions and explain the legacy of the past so that a better educational system for the future may be created.
Trinidad and Tobago inherited an educational system that served the interests of the colonial government that controlled the country. As a new young nation, its needs were undoubtedly very different from those of the country under colonial rule. In order to understand the present secondary school system, it is necessary to look at the past out of which the system grew. Unfortunately, one of the consequences of the colonial status of the country is that the history of the educational system and other aspects of the society are inadequately recorded.
This book, therefore, covers the history of secondary education from the colonial era to independence and onto the initial stages of nationhood. In addition to tracing the history of secondary education, the book analyzes the development of secondary education in Trinidad and Tobago by presenting valid theories in education and developmental economics. It also examines the principal reports of committees and commissions that reviewed education and related matters in the country and made recommendations.
If the question of the relationship between secondary school and the needs of society is to be explained, one must first identify the role that education is expected to play in the development of the societyespecially after achieving independence. The book, therefore, attempts to identify the contribution that education can make to the development of the type of society that the nation builders conceive for Trinidad and Tobago. It explains how education is an investment in the human resources of a country and compares different approaches in educational planning. Developing countries of today recognize very clearly that education has a role to play in their social and economic development. Because of the special contribution that secondary education can make to development, it has been given high priority by the national government of Trinidad and Tobago.
In looking for a way to assess the relationship between secondary school curricula and the developmental needs of Trinidad and Tobago, the techniques of the manpower approach to educational planning suggest that this approach is essentially a way of organizing an educational system to ensure that education fulfills its role in the social and economic development of the country. This approach, however, does not fulfill the social demand for education as an end in itself or as a social good.
The most comprehensive plan for the development of education in Trinidad and Tobago is the 15-Year Plan for educational development (1968-1983), and its secondary education components are analyzed in detail. The review of the plan reveals the extent to which its implementation was subjected to political expediency and external funding, particularly in the form of loans from the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. To further illustrate the effects of political influence on shaping the educational system, a comparison is made of the secondary education proposals in the election manifestoes of the two major political parties as they faced the polls in 1986 and 1991.
The methodology used for composing the manuscript was essentially the gathering of data from research and studies I conducted and from my own work and experience as a teacher, high school principal, educational planner, high level educational administrator, advisor to the political directorates, university professor, and as a consultant. Data was also secured from a review of existing relevant literature. Much of the theory of education and economics on which the analysis of the educational issues dealt within the book is made comes from my own empirical research and from the preparation of lectures in comparative and international education.