As the country turns 60, the education system is once more at the forefront of our collective ambition to transform the society. The year 2022, post-covid19, has placed squarely on the table the myriad challenges of our time – climate change, inclusivity, regionalism, food security, the promise of technological and scientific innovation, and a global economy and politic with the capacity to cripple our economy or enrich it.
At the centre of these big ideas is the challenge of how do we level the educational playing field for our most vulnerable children – more than 9,000 of whom scored below 50 per cent in the SEA.
Such big challenges demand a new vision of our education system, one that can create the problem-solvers of the 21st century and beyond. Schools from primary to secondary have to be equipped with the conditions for collaborative and inquiry-based learning, and access to free broadband and hardware is critical for all students, in particular those in the most precarious economic conditions.
The continuous professional development of teachers will be integral to providing the supportive skills and knowledge which they need to embrace the modern teaching methods and attitudes necessary for a successful 21st century Caribbean learner.
The recent consultations hosted by the Ministry of Education were an important initiative which can be used as the catalyst to usher in a much-needed era of educational experimentation and innovation. Teachers and teacher educators will need to be bold, innovative and forward-looking in their tasks, and to recognise themselves not as mere technocrats, but as the visionaries who collectively empower and guide our young people to become their best selves.
Despite our many challenges, our educators have been committed not only to providing our citizens with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for successful living, but also the deep desire for an inclusive, peaceful and democratic society. As TT grows into maturity and celebrates its diamond independence jubilee, the president and executive of the TT Association of Teacher Educators (TTATE) publicly acknowledge the fundamental contribution of educators in our nation’s journey from colonial state to independent nation.
DR ROWENA KALLOO