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Second opinion on primary school curriculum
Having read the article in the Guardian (March 3) by Michelle Loubon that reported on my letter to the editor that criticised the award of a contract to the Canadian consortium, EduNova, I am constrained to clarify several issues.
Under the heading Local Graduates Ignored, it was stated that I “lamented the contract had not been awarded to Mt Saint Vincent.” This is directly opposed to my position, which is that T&T has sufficient expertise in its three universities to manage a curriculum transformation project for primary schools. There is no need to engage 18 foreign consultants, particularly when some in this group had in the past demonstrated incompetence in curriculum modernisation of T&T’s secondary level (SEMP), as revealed in two independent curriculum evaluation reports, one by Dr Deo Poonwassie of Manitoba U and the other by Dr Edrick Gift of UWI.
The fact is that the curriculum is the blueprint for the social, cultural and economic development of the people of T&T. The primary school curriculum should be designed to produce citizens that conform to an image desired by members of the society. This is vital if we are to bring back order to our crime-ridden society. It is therefore mandatory that any project for transformation of the primary curriculum should begin with up-to-date research in two areas.
The first research activity should be to find out what kind of individual the primary schools should produce, that is, the desired abilities, moral principles, values and economic foundation our primary school graduates should possess. Therefore the views of a large cross-section of the people should be elicited. Failure to do so means that resulting curriculum may not reflect the values and aspirations of the common people of T&T. The second research activity should be to evaluate the present primary school curriculum to find out its weaknesses and strengths.
Failure to do so means that there is a risk that past errors will be repeated, if not compounded. The article reported that the CEO of the Ministry of Education, Mr Harrilal Seecharan, stated “the curriculum is being 100 per cent written by a local team.” If this were true then why was it necessary to spend millions for the 18-member foreign team of consultants called EduNova?
The fact is that the local writers follow the guidance and methodology provided by EduNova. I contend that EduNova’s methodology is flawed because it neglects the required research to guide the curriculum transformation, which by the way, is quite different to curriculum writing. I call on the Minister of Education to get a second opinion on this project.
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