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Dumas on education in T&T: System not training boys to be men
Former People’s National Movement (PNM) minister Rennie Dumas says the education system is destroying boys by treating them like girls. He made the statement during his address at the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Victoria District Teachers’ Convention held at the Marabella South Secondary School, Gopaul Lands, Marabella, on Friday. The theme of the event was Take a Stand for Teachers.
The former minister believes the current education system does not cater to producing men. “We are destroying our boys in this country. Our education system is not built for training men. Little boys cannot sit down, little boys cannot stay quiet, little boys have to take stands. They are different and we continue to treat our boys like girls,” Dumas said.
He called for a system overhaul to correct the problems faced in the education system. “One of the critical things we have to deal with and understand is, we have to redesign the whole system. If we want men, we have to build an education system that trains men, that treats with our curriculum,” he said.
Dumas said society would change through the changes in the education system. He criticised the Ministry of Education saying it was “running by vaps.” He said there was no education plan for T&T. TTUTA officials and the chief personnel officer, Stephenie Lewis, were scheduled to meet on Friday afternoon to resume negotiations.
Dumas suggested that the present system “is creating trouble for the rest of the compensation system of the state.” This, he said, was because if the present salary system continues, “principals may be paid better than the permanent secretary.” He raised objection after several teachers attended the convention, signed the attendance register and left.
Six rows of chairs stood empty in the hall, even though the convention was well attended. “I was watching people walking back out and I am saying to myself, they came to sign. I consider that insulting. If you want to stay away, stay away. Find the beach, find where you are going, but if you come to sign you are a cheat. You are a cheat,” he said.
Dumas said the teachers who signed and left came only to the convention to “delude every other individual in the hall, (to) delude (themselves) and beat the system rather than taking a stand for what (they) are.” He urged the teachers to join in solidarity with the labour movement as they agitate for better wages.
“You cannot argue that it is right to march when PNM in power, but you cannot march if the (People’s Partnership) is in office. You ought to demonstrate a commitment to the labour movement, because you have to treat with your fellow workers as a fraternity,” he said.
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