Last update: 10-Dec-2013 1:42 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Pres: T&T producing spineless citizens
President Anthony Carmona says society has been producing “yes” men and women. He said, too, that “spinelessness has become institutionalised.” The President made the comment yesterday while being installed as Chancellor of the University of T&T. The event took place at the university’s campus at O’Meara, Arima. In his inaugural address, Carmona also urged citizens to become patriots.
He said, “It is men and women of status, rank and letters who have failed this country. Far too long we have been producing yes men and women in our society.” Carmona said logic and reason are in short supply. He said UTT was intended as a vehicle to produce innovators with a focus to impact on national development. As chancellor he recommended an urgent need to attract the private sector. He said also, students needed to know about employment.
“Critical thinking, reading, writing, public speaking skills should play an integral part of any curricula. I put forward this challenge to make critical thinking an A-level subject. Content has to be looked at. It is a fundamental tool of innovation. Don’t tell me what I want to hear, tell me what needs to be said, the President said. Carmona said he was moved by Ravindra Ramrattan’s decision to apply his education. Ramrattan, 31, was killed at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, when it was attacked by terrorists last month.
“I did not know him. He was a model for farmers in Kenya. His education was with a purpose,” he said. Carmona said many have graduated but are using this knowledge to build other countries and not home. “The reasons may be varied and it may be personal safety and security.” He said he will be embarking on hosting a biannual think tank with medal winners for input into a solution. “We have to engage the best and the brighter. Our resources are not oil nor gas but people,” he said.
“Who failed this country of ours? Not the men with the cutlass, not the men with the whacker, not the men who cut grass. It is the men of status, rank and letters. We must create a paradigm, he said. “Your country is investing in you. Stop being a mere citizen and become a patriot.” If men have talent but lack character, this breeds brilliant monsters, Carmona said. “It is talent with character that producers world citizens,” he said.
Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training Fazal Karim said memoranda of understanding have been signed with several universities abroad. Karim said the university offers 50 programmes which go beyond engineering and technology. He said partnerships with various universities and agencies will assist in meeting industry needs. Education Minister Tim Gopeesingh, who also attended, said in 2010 the ministry did a primary school review and creative activities were initiated in primary schools.
“We have now incorporated performing arts. Moral values and ethics will go hand in hand. This will be incorporated as they go on to secondary schools,” he said.
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