School improvement in Trinidad and Tobago: A predictor for the success of educational reform

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Title: School improvement in Trinidad and Tobago: A predictor for the success of educational reform
Author: Hackett, Raymond S.
Abstract: This paper focuses on school improvement initiatives undertaken by B.Ed. final year students of the School of Education at The University of the West Indies (UWI). St. Augustine, over the period 1999-2007. Against the background of the school improvement literature, the writer's experiences, and the responses to the local form of school improvement by B.Ed. candidates, principals, parents, and students related to schools in which school improvement initiatives were launched, as well as the lack of or the support of the Ministry of Education, the paper submits that very little success, if any, has been achieved by way of educational reform in Trinidad and Tobago. The main conclusion of the paper culminates in a conceptual framework which emphasizes that educational reform in Trinidad and Tobago has not realized its required objectives for the following reasons: (a) educational planners have consistently failed to engage in effective needs analysis and policy evaluation; (b) an anti-intellectual syndrome, characterized by a misunderstanding of the true purpose of education, seems to have overwhelmed most administrators and staff in Trinidad and Tobago schools, resulting in personnel not being able to respond to reforms with the necessary enthusiasm; and (c) principal behaviour tends to be more in keeping with that of "managers" rather than with responses to the imperatives of leadership demanded by today's world. Recommendations are offered to address this malaise, which seems to have the education system in perennial crisis mode
Date: 2008

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