Together we aspire, expire or achieve?

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I thought we were in this thing together. But one hand is accepting credit for small accomplishments while the other is pelting blame for negative results. Our efforts are reminiscent of crabs in a barrel.

The generals, Government and the Opposition, cannot agree on a strategy to battle Covid-19. There is a split in the ranks and the flanks are exposed. If we are to corner the virus we have to translate the historical data into predictive statistics, galvanise ourselves for the worst scenario and launch an attack.

The rate of testing is a key factor in planning: As in the dailies of May 28, 2021, if 21.987 positive cases emerged after doing 176,676 tests, by the time the population of 1.4 million is tested we can expect 174,227 positive cases and 3,476 deaths.

The response team is yet to convince us of the function of the vaccine: Is it to cure, or prevent or to comfort you if you get the virus or to extend life?

If there are still spikes with the roll out of the vaccine, the data must be interpreted appropriately to indicate efficacy or lack thereof. If a few bad apples are spoiling the entire basket then we will have to add a firing squad to the state of emergency for delinquents when caught. So after months of consultation and another week of high level discussion what a lame decision to have SEA 2021 materialise. Why are we putting 19,000 innocent SEA candidates in the line of fire?

Or is this war games and we are experimenting using our children as shields?

Are we expecting that Covid- 19 is going to be sympathetic?

Would it rid them of the exam stress engineered by the society?

Are we giving them short-term relief from long-term misery?

A failing trade for the Ministry of education for: leaving thousands of our children behind; total disregard for the public health regulations; violation of teaching and examination principles, do not test what was not taught; the unfair and unequal treatment of thousands; not allowing every creed and race to find an equal place; not observing the principles of equal opportunity and ignoring the advice of educational psychologists and counsellors, not to elevate SEA to a pinnacle where the disappointment from the results can tempt children to harm themselves.

We don’t need a rocket scientist to give us alternatives to SEA. We are simply adding a third alleged reason for spikes (vigils, Easter and now SEA).

If we are so concerned about them representing our future let us have our 12- to 15-year-olds vaccinated so that their health will not be compromised in the future.

Madame Minister of Education this is the opportune time to redefine and prioritise education. Let us not trade life skills for methods to chase shadows. Combating Covid-19 is the stepping stone so that when we are out of the woods T&T can boast of its maturity in handling diseases.

SEA in its old domain will continue to be stressful to all and sundry.

Government and Opposition need to discard the battle-weary script. Pontificating a litany of do’s and don’ts is alienating the population from the cosmic reality and gravitating to falsehood. Let’s live again and be human again.

Lennox Francis
Couva