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Quality education over quantity of learning

It is with great concern that I write this letter. 

Having read the Prime Minister’s intent to change the mandatory school age from six to 12 years, to five to 16 years, it shows a lack of regard for the teaching profession, as well as it shows a total disconnection to the children of this country. We in Trinidad and Tobago educate children by batches, putting them through the education system via age groups, yet we know children are better at different disciplines than others at the same age; some work better in smaller groups, some in larger groups and some work better by themselves. Learning doesn’t come from this produc­tion-line mentality. 

By increasing the mandatory age group, it shows only a further increase in standardisation, which is already heavily embodied within our school system. Not all children will respond the same way; why would we put them through a system that has already failed some? We are not identifying the outliers, rather, we need to address the situation of the type of education that we are giving our children. 

You cannot judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. All children are not the same, so why would we give them a standardised approach to education? I am not saying that this system is a total failure; it works out well for some. However, what about the ones that haven’t felt comfortable in this structure? Why would we put them through another four years of further frustration? 

The PM has misunderstood the pro­cess of education, creating a strate­gy from the top down by passing a directive rather than consulting with educators and teachers, which would change the education system from the ground up. The PM nor her ministers actually teach children—it’s the teachers in schools. Why should an enormous decision be carried out without any sort of consultation with the actual persons who deal with children in the classroom each day? 

It is not the amount of education that would transform society, rather, it is the quality of learning which would make this change. 

John-Jason Kokaram

via e-mail

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