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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

Sen. Joan Yuille-Williams: Mr. President, before I begin I would like to say how very happy we are to see the hon. Minister here with us this afternoon and I hope that we do not add any more stress to her. [Laughter] I have decided to take a different approach this afternoon. It is really pleasing to see her looking so well rested and we hope that she will continue to be that way.

Mr. President, I am going to try to stay within the Bill. I know that education is a hot topic, as you would say these days. Whereas previously I might have felt like going all around and looking at education, I am going to try to contain myself to the Bill before us about the school boards.

Let me just make one comment which probably is a bit outside of the Bill and that is, I see this whole business of school boards as a part of the total education reform package. My disappointment with the way we are presented with the reform process in Trinidad and Tobago is that we are getting it in pieces and that wholeness is not seen by the average person, unless you are very much involved in education.

In fact, I have seen other Caribbean countries that are already involved in this process, presenting documentation which could show all that is being done. Therefore, if anyone looks critically at what is happening—and I think I made this comment before, when we want to think that we are just discussing education in a piecemeal way—I am hoping that at some time the whole thing would be presented.

I remember I talked about the Secondary Improvement Programme and the Secondary Education Modernization Programme and the Secondary Entrance Examination. They are all very related in a certain way, but we are not getting it that way. We are getting it as if we are just picking up some areas that we could do, picking them from out of different places, those that are easiest to accomplish and bringing them before the Parliament. But I think the national community would really appreciate if we are into this whole reform process. As I said before, this is something that nearly the entire Caribbean is now doing and if we are into this whole reform process I think it would be good, if at some point in time, we can have this whole document.

You hear people talking about things happening—even the school building is part of it. You hear CAP and everybody is saying, “What are all these different things; where do they lead us?” Therefore, I think that the vision from the Ministry needs to be put forward so people could appreciate what is really done in that context. Those are just my initial comments on the whole thing. I will go no further on it, but really request that at some point in time we try to focus and put

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