Education system in Trinidad and Tobago

As I look at the developing policies of Trinidad and Tobago which embraces access to quality education. I found these document which supports our vision, the STRATEGIC PLAN OF THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, (MOE), (2002-2006). And MINISTRY OF EDU-CATION, EDUCATION POLICY PAPER (1993 – 2003). In the past Trinidad and Tobago has had equity and equality issues (UNESCO, 2003) these were the developing policy that embraces access to equality education for all. And in these documents the government is focusing on the education system and is looking into the Education act with a goal of creating a seamless, high quality world class education system, and has an interest in the ECCE and the restructuring and transformation of the education sector, a curriculum reform, a student support services and also looking at how to give teachers the professional tools needed to provide our vision of a world class education.

The MOE’s seam-less approach to education has placed the ECCE among priorities with the drive of modernizing and transforming the process which will give our young children a smooth transition from ECCE to the tertiary level. EDUCATION POLICY PAPER (1993 – 2003) Section III addresses the delivery system. It speaks to the types of learning environment, programmes and courses of studies (curricula), assessment tools and practices, transitional and articulation mechanisms and procedures, institutional management, teacher preparation and formation practices, materials, cost management and cost savings activities, governance and financing mechanisms that must be put in place at all levels of the education system.

These measures will improve school effectiveness, enhance learning achievement and by implication lead to a decline in the cost per graduate in the system as a whole. (EDUCATION POLICY PAPER (1993 – 2003) The Ministry of Education have identify three major goals which they aimed at enhancing and consolidating efforts in the on-going pursuit of improvising access, equity and quality of education for the improvement of student outcomes. These are to (1) Design and develop a quality education system. (2) Transform the Ministry into a modern high-performing organization (3) engage stakeholders in the change and transformation process.

This plan is aimed at addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all children, youth and adults. (MOE), 2002-2006). After careful consideration of the policies which supports the development of exceptional and special needs children (this includes the gifted child) and the provision of quality learning experiences are at-risk based on the beliefs of teachers. The policies which supports the development of exceptional and special needs children The National Policy on Persons with Disabilities along with a National Plan of Action was officially launched in June 2006.

PWDs in Trinidad and Tobago have done a lot for people with disability for example: • International Day for Persons with Disabilities, Sensitization and training workshops on communicating with PWDs, Launch of the Personal Assistants Training Programme (PATP) • Standardization of the Trinidad and Tobago sign language through the Sign Language Dictionary, • Social Ambassadors, and Public awareness initiatives, Chronic Disease Assistance Program (CDAP), ELDAMO Mobile Service Access Trinidad and Tobago: A Guide to Recreational Services and Facilities for PWDs, Consortium of Disability Organisation, and UWI incorporated a Disability Studies component as part of the degree in Social Work, Disability Liaison Unit at UWI to serve the needs of students with disabilities. (Mpsdgovtt, December 2013).

In 2006, CRC had found great concerns that in Trinidad and Tobago there were a high level of mental and physical disabilities. And CRC had many concerns about the service provisions and how much the children with disabilities in Trinidad and Tobago have been racing and how much there have been greatly reliant on non-governmental organizations.

We needed to allocate adequate resources to strengthen services for children with disabilities and also be able to support their families and train professionals for example Teachers in the field, we also saw a need to encourage and give awareness of how to have inclusion of children with disabilities into the regular educational system and their integration into society. The concept and practice of inclusive education have gained importance in recent years. The term is increasingly understood more broadly as a reform that supports and welcomes diversity amongst all learners CESCR was also concerned about the lack of facilities for persons with disabilities.

Trinidad and Tobago have taken steps in recognizing people with disabilities as equal and active members of society. it wasn’t an easy road for Trinidadian to follow it was once the Nome to ignore people with any disability we were ashamed and had a negative attitude towards people who were different and a lack of response to diversity in race, economic status, social class, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ability.

Because Inclusion in education is essential to achieving social equity and is a constituent element of lifelong learning we need to have the right resources to help us achieve these goals as inclusive education is not a marginal issue but is necessary for the achievement of high quality education for all learners and the development of a more inclusive societies. Have a look at a set of proposals relating to children with Special Needs for the delivery of appropriate and professional services to our learners with special needs. These comprehensive proposals has been set out for children with special needs except for severe cases.

Diagnostic Centres must be established to provide the necessary support services to schools, to educate the public at large about their responsibilities and to provide central administration with in-formation about the training needs for the system. All schools must develop clearly articulated plans and programmes for children with special needs. Special schools must continue to provide specialized services and should be given the requisite financial and technical assistance. They should also be provided with access to training programmes mounted by the state. (Unescoorg, 1993-2003).
“Teacher expectations, sensitivities, priorities and values contribute to the quality of all pupils’ learning experiences and consequently teachers will influence what is taught and how it is taught and the assessment of what has been taught.” (Armstrong & Barton, 2000, p. 162).
The educational system must be served by professionals who share and are guided in their operations by a set of systematic and incisive understandings, beliefs and values about education in general and its relationship to the development of the national community of Trinidad and Tobago.

We need teacher to be trained to be able to give a good service as teacher it’s not easy when you have a child who is gifted and disable, you best be able to support them because a child with a disability can be a challenge and as a teacher you must be able to cope with the child’s needs. Teachers must be provided with the right tools and education that would make them better teachers. As for a gifted child teacher must be willing to work at a different level with the child and must be able to identify a child who is gifted.

We saw Trinidad and Tobago Launch of the Personal Assistants Training Programme (PATP the Personal Assistants Training Programme (PATP) for persons with disabilities was officially launched in June 2006 it was designed to provide a pool of trained attendants. These attendants were to support services to persons with disabilities, so that such persons could enjoy an independent living. The programme is delivered by SERVOL on behalf of the Ministry of the People and Social Development and comprises classroom and practical training as well as on the job training over a 15-month period. Training was completed and (21) Personal Assistants have been placed in various primary and secondary schools.

The Trinidad and Tobago Occupational Therapy Association, and the Physiotherapy Association, UWI and Ministry of Education worked on the development of a Policies and Procedures Manual. And also outline that the basis for the development of inclusive policies and approaches have set out the central elements that needed to be addressed in order to ensure the right to access to education, the right to quality education and the right to respect in the learning environment. In Trinidad and Tobago Access to quality learning remains high on our agenda.

The increased provision of quality early childhood development programmes for all 3 and 4 year olds, will be achieved through a combination of innovative strategies, such as public-private partnerships in the construction/operation of ECCE centres. At primary and secondary schools, we will continue our expanded provision of infrastructure, facilities and learning resources. Through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing and eliminating exclusion.

Conclusion
The education sector in Trinidad and Tobago needs to improve the way in which they approach children with disabilities, race, ethnicity, cultural background, religion, ability, family background, gender, or language and take the developing policy in to account when dealing with children in their setting, for the well-being of each child is very important as we are pre-paring them for primary school and giving them a better chance of succeeding when their at-tend primary school. If children do not have the opportunity to develop their potential through education, their future and that of the families are also at risk we must start when the child is in early childhood development.
Trinidad and Tobago saw the development of The Disability Affairs Unit (DAU), which was established in 1999 and resides under the auspices of the Ministry of the People and Social Development. It serves as a resource and referral centre for information pertaining to disability matters in Trinidad and Tobago. The unit also co-ordinates and monitors the implementation of the National Policy on Persons with Disabilities.

References

UNESCO Education Inclusion Policy Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/37626440/UNESCO-Education-Inclusion-Policy-Guidelines#scribd

(2006, August 1). Retrieved October 28, 2015. http://www.ibe.unesco.org/International/ICE47/English/Natreps/reports/ttobago_scan.pdf

Unescoorg. (1993-2003). Unescoorg. Retrieved 29 October, 2015, from http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/upload/Trinidad and Tobago/Trinidad and Toba-go_Policy_paper_1993-2003_executive_summary.pdf

Ministry of Education Strategic Action Plan.[3] (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.slideshare.net/MoeEduTT/ministry-of-education-strategic-action-plan

My Inclusive Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2015, from https:[18] //myinclusiveclassroom.wordpress.com/

(2013, December 1). Retrieved October 29, 2015, from http:[18] //www.mpsd.gov.tt/sites/g/files/g728121/f/201402/Research Note – Disability Final (17 Feb).pdf

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