Conceptions and conditions of educational excellence in secondary education in Trinidad and Tobago

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This study explored the nature of conceptions of excellence in secondary education in Trinidad and Tobago. It sought indigenous conceptions, and compared them with those put forward by Prakash and Waks (1985). A descriptive survey method probed the opinions of a panel of 11 educators, and a group of 63 non-educators on the quality of secondary schools. Inductive analysis of the data and descriptive statistics were used to present an overall picture of what secondary education ought to be, and which schools were achieving the ideals. The survey data revealed four indigenous conceptions of excellence--1) intellectual supremacy, 2) character development, 3) self-actualization, and 4) social consciousness--each belonging to a particular conception of education--1) the elitist, 2) the moral, 3) the personal, and 4) the social--respectively. Educators and non-educators supported the indigenous conceptions, and the majority expressed faith in the conception of excellence as self-actualization. The majority of schools that they believed to be attaining excellence were assisted secondary schools. Junior and senior secondary schools combined registered significant support for their potential, in theory, to contribute to the holistic development of students. There was a high level of consensus on the priority that should be given to specific aspects of school life


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