Human rights, equality and diversity | Journalist

Despite its fanciful title, “Human Rights, Equality and Diversity: A Survey of the Right to Equal Access to Education with a Special Focus on the Underperformance of Schools in Port of Spain and Surroundings », The children of this field (mainly Africans) will be condemned to the lost arms of education even as the Ministry of Education (MoE) continues its anachronistic approach of not educating our children.

While I was impressed with the amount of data the committee gathered on the underperformance of area schools, I’m not sure at the end of the fiscal year we’re any closer to solving the problem. of the education of our children who, as the document says, are underachieving and underachieving.

Anna Singh, Director of Curriculum Education, informed us that “we do not define schools as ‘underachieving’ and even more on the premise that such levels of achievement or underachievement can be expected. [or is it cannot?] be assessed with the help of graduation exams … What we believe that a quality education speaks and success speaks about is the holistic development of the child in terms of exam of its needs and assistance or intervention to ensure that these needs are taken into account at all levels.

If you cannot assess a student by terminal exams alone, how else can we define the abilities of the students who inhabit these underachieving schools and underperforming in these areas? Charlene Hayes has been instructive in this regard.

She said: “If you base the insufficient results on the results of the SEA, you have to be sure that the SEA is a fair assessment … It is a contradiction with the curriculum, which for The entire primary school career is based on the holistic development of each child to their potential. However, it seems that everything is on the loose for an SEA of 100 meters. What happens to the restoration of the multiple intelligences we are talking about, including the technological skills needed today in this remote environment?

“Many of these directors said there would be no question of underperformance if the following were included with equal weight: sports, drama, music, character education and citizenship. “

If a child is more than a terminal exam (SEA), then most of the committee’s attention should have been focused on how to reduce the emphasis on the terminal exam and include other intelligences for better assess our students. Yet nothing in the recommendations addresses this issue.

Reading this report, one gets the impression that we are dealing with communities whose children are a collection of mental pathologies, and not normal children who may be subjected to the kind of disturbances that many children face. These children are perceived as abnormal beings subjected to traumas due to their place of life, to the poverty they endure and to parents who do not care about their well-being. In other words, they are all psychologically damaged students, special students who need special programs.

Hayes also noted the “low level of interest and motivation of teachers” in these areas. There is no emphasis on this point in the report. If these students, like their teachers, lack so much interest and motivation, how is it that they are as effective in the use of modern technologies, especially their use of cell phones, as their classmates from Caroni and St Ann?

Would it not be that these students are adept at these technologies because these technologies interest them? Is it not that the way our teachers teach is not conducive to the learning of these students?

It is not a question of minimizing the difficulties caused by the social environment of the pupils or the disinterest of their parents in the education of their children. I am only suggesting that more attention be paid to the role of teaching in a student’s learning.

Singh commented, “There were not enough staff to implement psychosocial and psycho-educational screening services for those students who live in communities with high levels of crime and violence. “

When asked how many students had received psychosocial and psycho-educational screening services, the Department of Education was unable to answer. Psychoeducation refers to “the process of providing education and information to those seeking or receiving mental health services, such as those diagnosed with mental health problems (or life-threatening terminal illnesses) and those who seek or receive mental health services. members of their family ”.

It is a frightening situation. We are talking about educating students in a community, but all we can focus on are the “fatal illnesses” of a student and a family, but we have absolutely no data on that. . This suggests that if the terminal exam does not pass you, then terminal illness in the community will.

Last Thursday, Harvard University announced that it would not require SAT or ACT scores for admission to its university, “adding fuel to the movement to permanently eliminate standardized test scores for even admission into. the most selective schools in the country ”(NY Times, December 16). Critics of standardized tests in the United States have argued “that they are racially and culturally biased and do not reflect the true ability of many students, but rather their ability to pay for private tuition.” FairTest, an anti-testing group, says 1,815 out of 2,330 schools do not require this standardized test for admission.

If these standardized tests fall out of favor with American schools, why cling to this vestige of a colonial past that condemns some of our best students to stunted intellectual lives?

Perhaps the next hearing should be about how to eliminate the SAT and find another mechanism for evaluating students that allows them to be placed in schools where they can enjoy their human rights and enjoyment. equality they deserve.

Isn’t it time we realized that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”?

Professor Cudjoe’s email address is [email protected] He can be contacted @ProfessorCudjoe.

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