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Letter: The death of education
Published on February 20, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

For a split second, just imagine being feed stale, over dated and expired food. I am talking about food that has lost all of nutritional value and effectiveness after a specific time period. I am talking about foods that are of no nutritional value and substance for the human body. Next, imagine that you are also being subject to eating stale food for not just a day, but a life span of 22 years or more.

Now if this scenario doesn’t sound gross and deadly then I don’t know what else does. It is a known fact to the general public that when and if a person consumes expired food, this act can lead to deadly consequences involving, food borne illness, fatal food poisoning that often result in death. In efforts to prevent these misfortunes from occurring within societies, authorities from the public health administrations are commissioned to randomly inspect food vendors from time to time to ensure that they are not selling foods of poor quality (expired goods) to the general public.

This principle of random inspection from the authorities in most public health systems in countries around the world is a principle that is also adapted within the education sectors of most civilized countries from around the world. This very same principle is reenacted whenever countries engage in curriculum reform and or curriculum upgrade. In fact, just for the record, most countries want to have a modern, up-to date, high-quality curriculum, and also want to maximize the potential of curriculum for enhancing the overall quality of education and its relevance for student and societal needs.

According to the United Nations, Curriculum is said to be, “a systematic and intended packaging of competencies (i.e. knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are underpinned by values) that learners should acquire through organized learning experiences both in formal and non-formal settings.”

Just as in the natural realm, eating expired, over- dated food, the same is true in the world of academia. From time to time the curriculum content needs to get pulled from the shelves and inspected for effectiveness and value. In this article, I have a few charges that I would like for the minister of education to answer to because more than 95% of Turks and Caicos Islanders are already convinced that the PNP Rufus-led administration has failed them, has failed the country and now they are failing the future generations of these islands. Here we go.

Charge number # 1

The PNP failed government does not have a sustainable plan for education in terms of advancing its citizens towards the 21st century. This is clearly evident whenever an entire elected government cabinet in the 21st century stands guilty of allowing the following preceding charges to take place under their watch. What makes matters worse is the fact that for 12 long years none of the PNP administrations seemed to have buried this hatchet for good.

Charge number #2

No National Curriculum. The Turks and Caicos Islands can be considered a small state. Like Singapore, the Cayman Islands and even our next door neighbour, The Bahamas, Jamaica, and with all of the recent braggedy-boasting about surpluses running up in the millions of dollars, how is it then that the TCI hasn’t even called yet for a curriculum reform like all the other advancing smaller competitive countries? There is no excuse here; there is just simply no vision in the PNP camp! And where there is no vision? The people are doomed to perish!

Charge number #3

No Curriculum Coordinator. The TCI as it stands right at this moment, does not have a curriculum coordinator. You mean to tell me, for a country like the TCI whose elected leaders are yelling bogus cries for independence, we are still operating without a curriculum coordinator? Something stinks in the TCI and it certainly not the Salt Salinas! It is a foul rotten odour that is stemming from the decaying leadership in this PNP government!

For quite a while now, the ministry has circulated numerous ads for this post to be filled but still it is yet to be filled. Obviously, no one from the outside wants it. It now appears to many that those suckers would rather import someone from another country to fill this post rather than using their very own, even when they very well know that they have locals who can do a darn good job at getting this system up and running.

Playing politics and institutional politics have gotten them nowhere on this issue. On that same note a Jamaican national was recruited to a few years ago but during her lengthy tenure, she never, revised, rewrite, updated published nor implemented a fart! Collected a hefty salary, received allowances of all magnitudes and grabbed her gratuity on her way out of the door. She sat in the post for many years and nothing was produced. Following that, she left the TCI and we are still exactly where we are from the donkey days until now. TCI’s deserve better than this. A minister with vision would have ensured that this individual was getting his or her work done. This matter is another mismanagement-shaming and gross example of the major lack of oversight and leadership that exist in education in the TCI. This is another reason why the voters of TCI will be voting this failed government of the PNP ‘straight outta office!’

Charge number #4

No Curriculum Unit. This country at this very day and age still does not have a Curriculum Unit. If this is not shaming to the education system and the entire country, then I know that Miss Universe Columbia was not embarrassed when she was accidently crowned as Miss Universe 2015! This is yet another reason why you shouldn’t waste your vote on Akierra Missick in 2016 and the PNP! This woman does not value the future generations of this great country. In 2016, just vote her out!

Charge number #5

Old and outdated curriculum guides since 2000. This is now 2016…16 years later you mean to tell me that teachers must still teach from these old tear-up booklets aka curriculum guides, and students are subject to eat this “expired food content?” This is absolutely unheard of in the 21st century. In fact this is gross! This sounds a lot similar to someone eating expired food. Social studies, visual arts, religious education are in dire need of being revised.

These curriculum guides content does not contain the skills based competencies that will equip our students in terms of critical thinking, decision making, higher thinking order skills, and problem solving skills. This is the number one reason why the Turks and Caicos Islanders are now finding themselves plundering at the rock bottom of the “economic food chain”. Thanks to a dilapidating education system that is systematically designed to impoverish its indigenous populace.

How can any country in the 21st century insist on going independent with this type of systemic failure in is education and training systems? And what is even jaw dropping about this matter is the fact that no one in leadership is capable of addressing this issue. It is a total shame and disgrace to the good people of these islands. Rufus and his failed government must GO!

education1.jpg

Charge number #6

No curriculum for critical foundational areas of studies in the primary schools in terms of reading, reading comprehension, creative writing, penmanship/handwriting, spelling, phonics, etc. These are very critical foundations in education that forms the basics of a child’s educational journey in life and if they haven’t been given a good quality of content impacted into the curriculum packing, then they are going to have a very difficult time ahead of them in terms of acquiring these basic skills base competencies.

And in addition to that, due to the lack of a stipulated curriculum in these areas of studies, these are some of the reasons why the private schools always outshine the public schools in the GSAT outcome. The illiteracy rates in the public primary schools are outrageous, and students leaving primary school can merely read and write fluently. To add salt to the wounds, parents are constantly blamed by the minister of education for the failures of this PNP government. Well it is high time for the voters and parents alike to tell Akierra Missick to “go suck salt!”

Charge number #7

Deceiving the poor people of the Turks and Caicos Islands regarding the true state of the education system within the country. The minister of education has been completely dishonest with the people of this country regarding the true state of education in the country. She does not like to take advice, neither does she accurately consult with the general public and worst of all she cannot take criticism. Proverbs 26:24-26 warns that “Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbours deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.” This is another reason why this country must rid itself from Akierra Missick. Nothing that comes outta her mouth is to be believed.

Charge number #8

This is now 2016. The minister of education, after four years, still cannot give the country an overview of education in this country. She is yet to provide a sustainable plan for education. To really state her true incompetence, she had to hire someone from the Eastern Caribbean to write an education policy. What a shame! I am an eye witness account to this fact! She is also an acclaimed lawyer and the government had to hire someone from overseas to write an education policy for TCI? Well kiss the cheeks of Moses! This is totally ridiculous.

She also has a false sense of reality and will make you believe that the sky is blue when in fact she very well knows that the skies are grey. Ladies and gentleman and voters of this great country, these are not the incompetent self-indulgent power hungry individuals that you vote for on election day. She has had an opportunity to show what she is made out of and the only thing that she has demonstrated so far is a failed leadership within another corrupt PNP administration. The worst that the country has ever seen in our historical 40 years of ministerial governance.

Charge number #9

Since there are no national standards in education in TCI public schools systems, especially at the primary level (in the form of a clear and concise systematized up to date curriculum), anything goes. In, fact, McMillian Publishers and all other textbook suppliers are now the dictators that determine what our students should know, be able to do and value, because the textbooks are now being used as “the standards for teaching and learning.”

Charge number #10

Perhaps the most damning statistical piece of evidence presented in this article is depicted in the photo below. This photograph confirms that the last time a math (not shown here), science and language arts curriculum was written for primary schools throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands is recorded at September 1993 (zoom in on the image and see the date imprinted on the front cover). In other words, plain and simple: the last time a primary school curriculum for math, science and language arts was written and published in the TCI was 22 years ago!

education2.jpg

But the greatest shame bearing on the education system is even much more greater than this: For the past 12 years of this PNP ministerial government in this country, there has been no minister of education, no permanent secretaries, no directors or deputy directors of education, education officers, not even any school administrators (persons who were in positions who could have effected change), none of these so called aristocrats did anything to ensure that these curricula were re-analyzed, revised and updated and implemented into the primary education systems. None of them even saw the need to ensure that this country has a national curriculum. In my opinion, countries who intend to go independent should at least have a national curriculum for many reasons, but most importantly for the fostering of:

1. National Cohesiveness and Integration
2. National Education and Structure
3. National Development plans
4. National Pride and Identity
5. National Expectation

Ladies and gentlemen, you see these are the basic and simple fundamentals that your elected minister of education Akierra Missick needs to be paying attention to. In all essence, what she is trying to do to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands is to snub the students of their educational pursuits by failing to ensure that the quality of the curriculum is of “good quality.”

This minister of education has a duly noted obligation as an elected official to ensure that the citizens of the Turk and Caicos Islands have “access” to “quality education.” Quality education includes having “quality curriculum.” The United Nations has over the years been able to assist small developing states or countries such as the Turks and Caicos Islands to be able fully identify ‘quality curriculum’. According to the United Nations quality criteria, a high quality curriculum is a curriculum that can answers yes to all of the following:

• Are their clear aims for the curriculum?
• Is the curriculum up-to-date?
• Is it relevant to students’ current and future lives, experiences, environments and aspirations?
• Does it create a socially and economically prosperous future while respecting the country’s past – its cultural history and traditions?
• Is the curriculum equitable and inclusive? (i.e. does it take into account the diversity of learners and the different learner needs; does it cater for marginalized groups; does it avoid biases)
• Is the curriculum learner-centred and learner-friendly? (i.e. does it take learner needs into account; does it avoid biases and discrimination; is it well sequenced with regard to the learners’ age; does it contribute to personal development and life skills; does it make sense –is it meaningful for learners; does it avoid overloading learners)
• Is the curriculum open and flexible, so that it can address new challenges and opportunities by integrating new/emerging issues?
• Is the curriculum coherent and consistent across different education stages/grades/streams and learning areas/subjects?

The current TCI primary school systems under this PNP failed government cannot honestly answer yes to any of these quality criteria questions. That’s how bad the system truly sucks!

Charge number #11

Imposturous and phony website. If someone was browsing the internet and you can do it right now by clicking on the web link below, you would find yourself on the TCIG website, specifically the ministry of education, youth sport and library services. There you would see the word “Curriculum”. Next click on the link. The link is bogus and fake. It will not take you to the primary school curriculum, nor will it take you to the secondary curriculum. In fact, it is blank, just like the plans for education in this country by this current PNP regime. This PNP government has blank plans for advancing the people of this Turks and Caicos Islands.

education3.jpg

Is this how we truly want to be represented in this country as a nation? Is this the image that we really want to project as a government? I am hereby asking the minister to please fix this because it does not look good. In order words, she is making the general public to believe something is there when in reality nothing is even uploaded behind the link. This is called, misrepresentation of the facts. In essence she is misleading and deceiving the general public. And because of this, the voters of this country will return a blank ballot to Akierra Missick’s name in next general elections. Click on the link to see the disgraceful truth for yourself. Liar, Liar pants on fire! http://www.gov.tc/ministry-of-education-youth-sports-and-library-services

In conclusion, I have laid out a number of charges against the minister of education and in a subsequent article I will be dealing with secondary and tertiary education because the people needs to know and hear the truth regarding the true state of education in this country.

There is no way we can have surpluses in our revenue and our students at both the primary and secondary schools are still being subject to eating expired food (aka) going to school only to be educated from out of date content! It is no wonder whenever they leave the system many of them are unready for the world of work and do not have any marketable, technical or vocational skills. Simply because they are constantly being fed too much “stale, rotten and expired food”. It is high time that the people of this country to demand the government to begin the process of ‘education reform.’

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury in this court of public opinion, citizens and voters of the TCI, I have said it before, and I will say it again. Leadership that is based on vision is the only kind of leadership that is worth following. And as these charges are laid out against the current minister of education, youth and sports, the Hon. Akierra Mary Deann Missick; please and for the love of the children and students of this great country, please think twice before you even consider voting for the PNP government.

For the past four years this minister of education has done nothing more than displayed a type of leadership that is “not worth following!” Her leadership is one that is not based on “vision!” And therefore, because of this, do not follow her lead, do not vote for her, do not vote for anyone on her political team. These people do not mean us any good. Please do our future generations a big, big favour because we owe it to them. Stay far, far away from this PNP bunch!

The fundamental problem that I have with this PNP government of the day is simply this: the current PNP Ewing administration wants to erect building structures but they do not want to address ‘relevance’. Our education systems still ‘slavishly’ follows the systems and patterns established in the days of colonialism.

And finally, if we are to ever become a respected independent country in the world, a paradigm shift in our thinking and our education system is imminent. If education was to be compared to the human body, then the curriculum would be the heart. If nothing is done to improve the system, education will continue to die a slow and timely death. In the meantime, tell Akierra Mary Deanne Missick to “go suck salt!”

T. Forbes
 
Reads: 15473





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