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Education, Understanding & Development

To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. Ted Roosevelt

“Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.” Henry Peter Brougham

One of the more repugnant habits that I and perhaps more that 99% of our dedicated locally educated citizens’ finds quite distasteful is that of nationals that enjoys flaunting their equally hard earned educations. You know the types I am talking about, those that use every opportunity to squeeze into the discussion that pointless piece of information that has absolutely no bearing on the proposal, project or matter at hand before them. What a few are really trying to do to the unsuspecting- whether consciously or not, is to belittle and demean the efforts of our local educational institutions that with all its prevailing constraints have been able to produce some pretty sound leaders that can hold their own with the best across the globe ,as our good PM can attest to himself as a by product. Now mind you, some also like to pontificate about nationalism and regionalism, but will take ten 2nd mortgages on their houses or business or even sell their souls to ensure that their young ones fly off to pristine Colleges and Universities as soon as the opportunity arises. Please however do not believe for a moment that any one including myself ,is angry at them for such actions, as it is the right of every level headed parent to do what they think is best for kids, especially in this thriving and ever evolving democracy of ours. What we are however sometimes perturb about is the fact that some also believe that this privilege or undue advantage somehow accord them some claim of right for occupational spoils over hard working nationals that have to dodge bullets from John John , and Carapichima to get to classes daily over three to four years of their educational lives.

Here is a case in point about issue number one, “Why T&T should go Solar,” by Mr. Ian Smart in the Guardian today. Good and wonderful topic, that is much needed but often absent for a country that is totally dependent on its present non- renewable natural resources of oil and gas. However before this columnist could delve as one expected in an intelligent fashion on the fallacy of our presently skewed energy dependence policy and its implications for our economy and environment, we had to be subjected to his educational biography. I obtained a Masters in photovoltaics at University of South Wales and solar energy, and worked for a period at a renewable energy company.

Now I don’t want to rain on the brother’s parade, as I fully understand what he is doing mind you, and appreciate his efforts. One must be prepared to find a way to ‘pimp that education’ as best as one can in this tenuous economic period , and he won’t be the first or the last for that matter to do it, I am positive. Some have been known to send through our media ,excellently written and often unverifiable bios of graduation achievements in foreign Universities- even for 3months Certificates and GED diplomas if given a chance. Others will stand before foreign media and international audiances as they proclaim with a straight face ,how our country is rapidly heading down an economic and political precipice with run away crimes, and economic mismanagement that can rival Haiti. These blatantly negative characterizations are often so explicit at times that can tend to make one of the poorest and most backward countries in the world look almost like Norway in comparison.

At the same time they’ll still conveniently let be known that they will have to return in some favored capacity – of course ,to rectify and save the day , and a grateful nation should stand by in anticipation , for the benefits of their foreign educational and work experience. You can therefore see how student number 478 out of 482 in the 2008 UWI Engineering graduating academic class could be a bit ‘pissed off’ at this moment, as some ‘snotty nose’ local powerbroker with MIT ,NYU , or Toronto University credentials, is perusing his or her job application with a typical critical eye on that CV as he laments about substandard education,and low experience, and indicate with a sly smile “we’ll get back to you soon.”
Please refrain from saying for the hundredth time how you are profoundly surprise as to why there is this sudden spike in young educated thugs traversing the country, some engaging in perhaps lucrative kidnapping activities either as collaborators or masterminds. I know the fact that the culprits do not discriminate when it come to sex , and sometimes many holds five and six A’ levels be shocking , but that is the price one pays when a society's youth hope becomes tenuous.

On issue number two, I’ll reiterate for the benefit of the cynical that believe that this commentary on the privilege is some reflection of class envy. This is far from it. I can fully understand why local elites would enjoy contributing to the brain drain and other notions that noting good emanates from within the borders of developing countries via their actions. I just believe that I have a duty to also shine the light in the dark corners so that fellow citizens can see, since our often complicit media are too busy being part of the problem to be genuinely concerned. Often,education produces very high expectations, and when it is not achieved can likewise return many negative fall outs. I do not want our nation to be misled into the comical notion that the majority of our criminals from Movant , Caranege , Basilon Street, Penal, Chickland, Couva , and Barackpore are merely a bunch of illiterate and high school droop outs degenerates. Of course many are, but quite a few are running around with sound education but have developed crushed aspirations as they settled in state of underemployment or none at all.

Keep up the good work Mr. Ian Smart, and other young people that made huge sacrifices to achieve their education irrespective of where it was obtained. Your voices are urgently needed, both in privileged positions of managerial influence, Board meetings of billion dollar businesses, or corridors of political power, as it hopefully can help shape policies beneficial to the nation. I however don’t expect it to only remain there, as some will simply not be granted such opportunities for numerous reasons that might take several Social Science Departments faculties and students across the globe to explain.

Let us remain fervent in our efforts to start the process of rolling up our sleeves as we get down and dirty in the trenches of some of the less attractive and often non – glamorous areas, and do our part to push back the naysayers, and ‘profits of doom and gloom,’ that are only prepared to talk the talk but are fearful of walking the part that can aid the country in it’s single quest for full social, economic and political sustainable development for each of our citizens. Remember that place where ideally all can find an equal place, regardless of creed, race, class, historical background, and of course for our purposes , education. The reason is obvious, our country is nice, and still remains a paradise. Obviously,many will disagree , and may just be correct as well.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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