AMCHAM T&T Calls for Re-Evaluation of the Education System
(Winners of the AMCHAM T&T's National Youth Productivity Forum (NYPF) 2020 Finals)
The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) is calling for the education system to do more with non-traditional learners. At the closing ceremony of the 11th Annual National Youth Productivity Forum (NYPF), AMCHAM T&T CEO, Nirad Tewarie said the time has come for our nation to re-evaluate the role of education, schools and teachers in our society.
“I personally acknowledge that the role of teachers has been undervalued in the system and society for too long. But with that has come a narrowing of the understanding of what it means to be a teacher,” he said.
“Based on the way society has been constructed, both society in general as well as too many teachers see their role in a narrow manner and this needs to be revisited. We need to do what is necessary to ensure that the teaching profession is once again one of the most valued professions in the society.
“We really hope that a significant conversation could be started between TUTTA, the business community, the Ministry and the government, and civil society about how we educate and why we educate, and therefore what is the role of the educator, both the role of the formal teacher and the informal teacher. This is wider than the role of technology in the classroom and in wider society."
He also advocated for leaders to start doing a better job of dealing with students who are more inclined towards non-traditional learning as opposed to academics, in order to assess the true value of students. “NYPF is trying to create an avenue for non-traditional learners to be able to express themselves, so we encourage students to present information through drama, music and art because education is bigger than just transferring information from a textbook or internet to a notebook or to a test.”
More than 120 students from 24 schools - from Scarborough to Moruga - participated in this year’s NYPF to enhance discussions on the theme “An aging population and pension security… towards a more productive T&T” from a labour, business, government and civil society perspective.
Following intense competition through five discussion rounds, the victorious schools were, Presentation College, Chaguanas (Labour), Cowen Hamilton Secondary School (Business), Vessigny Secondary School (Government) and ASJA Girls’ College, San Fernando (Civil Society). Also, Woodbrook Secondary School was awarded as the project component winner.
Tewarie said in 2018 there was a five percent decline in our labour force participation rate which is linked to the economy and the education system’s inability to adequately deal with non-traditional learners, thereby increasing the urgency of reforming the system to more effectively unlock the potential of non-traditional learners, many of whom leave the formal education system before completing high school.
The NYPF 2020 was supported by title sponsor, First Citizens’ Bank. AMCHAM T&T also partnered with The University of Trinidad and Tobago and The National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago. Winning students were awarded $1000 cash in First Citizens’ Neo Accounts and internships at AMCHAM T&T’s membership companies while the winning school project resulted in the school, Woodbrook Secondary receiving a cheque for $5,000 and the teacher who worked with the students on the project, being awarded $3,000. The Hugh L Howard Prize for Critical Thinking was awarded to Presentation College Chaguanas, with that student receiving $1,500.
For further questions or comments please contact: Nirad Tewarie, CEO AMCHAM T&T at email@example.com or 728-8274
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