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President’s concerns aimed at PNM—Karim
Tertiary and Skills Training Minister Fazal Karim says concerns expressed by President George Maxwell Richards during the ceremonial opening of Parliament on Wednesday were not directed at the People’s Partnership Government but the former People’s National Movement administration. Karim, who spoke shortly before yesterday’s Cabinet meeting at Coco Reef Hotel, Tobago, said Richards was cautioning the People’s Partnership against doing the same as the PNM with respect to education. Richards had said the most competent people should be selected to play leadership roles at the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies. Karim thanked the President for “alerting us, and his words of advice, caution and exhortation to not go down the path of the previous administration.”
He said he was pleased with Richards’ comments and approached him seeking a meeting “so we can discuss in more detail his vision, not only for the UTT and the UWI, but also for tertiary education in T&T, with a view to making it the main driver of economic development.” In response to another question, Karim denied the Government was seeking to close down UTT. “Let me say categorically that is not so,” Karim said. He said the PP Government had been “rebranding” UTT, and several additional programmes were being looked at with a view to having them included at UTT. Karim said UTT was “our national university, and the Government intends to put it to do what it was intended to do, and more.”
He said it would be done side by side with UWI. He said consideration may also be given to making the 12-year-old College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts (COSTAATT) into a university, but if so, “It does not mean it will cease to do what it now does.” Karim said the Government’s objective was to make the tertiary education and skills-training sector become a driver for economic growth and development and diversification.
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