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Name UWI chair after Lloyd Best—senator
Former Tapia leader, analyst and noted economist the late Lloyd Best should be honoured by having a University of the West Indies (UWI) professorship named after him, says Independent senator Dr Lennox Bernard. He made the call in the Senate budget debate.
Quoting his observations on the education system, Bernard said Best was one of T&T’s leading intellectuals. He said T&T should have honoured Best appropriately with a posthumous award at the recent 50th anniversary celebrations. “Honour him with a chair at UWI, Senator (Bhoe) Tewarie. He should have been given our highest award posthumously,” Bernard said.
Tewarie, who headed the team arranging T&T’s 50th anniversary celebrations, could not be contacted yesterday since he is overseas. In the Senate, Bernard questioned whether T&T is getting value for money in its education thrust. “The data suggests we are not getting value for money,” he said.
“Furthermore, the data suggest that we need serious reform to our education system. All we have been doing since the mid-70s, and with a useful opportunity missed in 1993, is to engage in quick-fixes and operate on automatic pilot,” he said. Bernard said it is difficult for anyone not to conclude that there is entrenched failure in too many schools, many of them in rural communities or inner city areas or fringe areas in Tobago and so called high-risk areas in Trinidad.
“In fact, the normalisation of failure continues as is expected at another high-stakes exam, the CSEC,” he said. He said reports from schools in hot spots all show a consistent history of poor results. “Everything points to our young men, our young black men, as the greatest casualty of the failure of the education system,” he said.
“The symbol of that failure can be seen in our correctional institutions, on the block, in the gangs or in the many who seek jobs of last resort. “It is ironic that although the women are performing better academically, they are still among the majority living in poverty and are not well represented at the highest level of decision-making.
“Educating boys is seen globally and socially to be in crisis. We should have begun the discussion years ago as to how to teach boys differently. There is a disconnect among many young males and the schooling offered them. There is great wastage there.
“Some attend secondary school mainly to transact their hidden curriculum, which include the mating game, sports, gang formation or deviant behaviour.” Bernard said T&T could not continue to normalise failure in the education system.—Gail Alexander
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