Development of educational thought in Trinidad and Tobago 1838-1983

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This study attempts to trace the evolution of ideas that influenced the formulation of educational policy in Trinidad and Tobago from the post-Emancipation era to the late 20th century. It also seeks to identify the prevailing notions underlying educational practice and the development of the education system over the period. It is argued that the system of education faithfully reflected the shifting political emphases as much as the changing socio-economic conditions existing during both the era of colonial rule and the era of independence. What emerged by the mid-19th century was a system that sought to provide mass education at the primary level with a small elitist structure at the secondary, characterized primarily by a struggle for control between Church and State, setting a paradigm that was not to be altered in any fundamental way until the massification of the entire system that came with independence and the oil boom of the 1980s. The expansion of secondary education after 1960 revealed a new nationalist philosophy of development that came with political sovereignty. Thereafter, education sought to provide a homebred leadership to the society, to create a formidable middle class, to catalogue the process of social and ethnic cohesion, and to invest prodigally in human capital, so as to bring about an economic transformation that would cement the goals of political independence


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