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Chairman of the Dr Eric Williams Memorial Committee Reginald Vidale says discipline will return to schools if Williams’ legacy was taught in the curriculum. He was speaking at the 33rd annual wreath laying ceremony for the nation’s first prime minister Dr Eric Williams, at the heliport in Chaguaramas, yesterday. Vidale said, “In recent times we have been noticing an upsurge in violence and gross indiscipline in our nation’s schools.
“With students, female students at that, fighting and students fighting teachers and all sort of indiscipline that is not worth mentioning. “And today as a nation we must hold our head in shame and disgust.” He said on the eve of Independence, August 30, 1962, Williams addressed a rally of schoolchildren at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, and reminded them that the future of the nation was in their school bags and not the reverse, and today you see the exact opposite of what he expected.
Vidale said he asked the Ministry of Education to place a portrait of Williams and a CD of his speech in every school, however, his request was turned down. He said as it was 33 years since Williams’ passing, it was easier to forget his legacy and memory than to have a materially-driven society with no values or standards. Vidale called on all school principals and teachers to preserve and protect Williams’ legacy for the children of the nation.
He said when that was done, the people will see a return to the kind of discipline that would make the Republic of T&T a better place. Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Rodger Samuel said his ministry had embarked with the three premiere universities, UWI, UTT and USC, to put together a curriculum based on the collective works of historians that can be taught from primary, secondary and tertiary level.
Vidale said a monument to Williams will be erected soon at Harris Promenade, San Fernando, facilitated by Mayor Navi Muradali. Author and historian Michael Anthony was awarded the Father of the Nation Medal of Honour Gold at the event.