Kamla Persad-Bissessar came from humble beginnings. She was born in the rural community of Siparia on April 22, 1952.
For close to a decade, she served as the Siparia MP, having won three consecutive general elections. On Monday night, she made history as thousands of supporters from across the country gathered at Rienzi Complex to congratulate her as T&T's first female Prime Minister. During her campaign, Persad-Bissessar said her rural upbringing instilled in her a devotion to serve people to improve the quality of life of the poor and destitute. Persad-Bissessar began her education at the Mohess Road Hindu School in 1957. She later attended the Erin Road Presbyterian School and Siparia Union Presbyterian School. She obtained her secondary education at the Iere High School. After obtaining her qualifications, she later moved to Norwood Technical College, London, to begin her tertiary education and thereafter the University of the West Indies at Mona and then Cave Hill in Barbados. Persad-Bissessar holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Hons), a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of the West Indies and a Diploma in Education.
She pursued studies in the Master of Education and has served as a high school teacher, both in T&T and in Jamaica. Having completed her Masters in Education, she was then awarded a Fullbright Scholarship to attend New York's Columbia University to do research leading to a PhD but she opted to study law instead. �At the tender age of 25, she became one of the youngest university lecturers at UWI, Mona Campus, having worked in the Department of Language and Linguistics, Persad-Bissessar excelled at her law studies and was named the top student at her graduation from the Hugh Wooding Law School, winning prizes for the Most Outstanding Student and the Best Overall Performance.
At present, she is pursuing IOB's Executive MBA programme and has completed all exams gaining 12 As and will complete the programme with a practicum later this year. In her political career, Persad-Bissessar has a number of firsts. She was the first woman to act as Prime Minister of T&T. She was also the first woman to be appointed Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs. She was the first woman deputy political leader of the UNC and the first woman Leader of the Opposition. During her two-year occupation of the office of the Minister of Education, Persad-Bissessar was successful in establishing universal secondary education, removing the Common Entrance Examination, replacing it with the more modern Secondary Entrance Assessment SEA, and establishing some 32 new secondary schools in the country.