Education for Liberty

Page 1


Foreword by Sir George Alleyne, M.D., F.R.C.P., F.A.C.P. (Hon), DSc (Hon) Epilogue by Archbishop Joseph Everard Harris, C.S.Sp.

EDUCATION FOR LIBERTY: the future is open to suggestions

Dr. Fazal I. Ali

Trinidad and Tobago 2017

EPIGRAPH Virtuo preceptoris est ingeniorum notare discrimina. - The excellence of the teacher is in identifying the difference in talents of students .

Artwork by: R. Bridgens

Copyright Š 2017 by Dr. Fazal I. Ali All rights reserved. This publication or any portion thereof may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of quotations in a book review. Digitally distributed. This is a free epublication. You are free to share it (in unmodified form). Trinidad and Tobago Editing: Judy Raymond Layout: Gabriella D’Abreau Cover by Ben Zank | Photography & Digital Illustrations: Ben Zank Joe Magee Shutterstock National Archives of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Artwork: Jean Michel Cazabon Richard Bridgens courtesy Geoffrey MacLean Digital IT: Krystian Ramlogan Daren Dhoray

DEDICATION To Zahra Siddiqua Ali & Amaniy Anaϊs Ali

Lady Thelma Hochoy and Sir Solomon Hochoy with Dr. Eric Williams

The Chinese first arrived in Trinidad in 1806. But the first main wave of immigrants came fourty seven (47) years later from Guangdong and other cities along the Pearl River Delta. One of their descendants was Solomon Hochoy, a Hakka Chinese, who at the age of two came with his family to Trinidad from Jamaica, settling in Blanchisseuse- a parochial hamlet on the north coast of Trinidad. Hochoy attended Arima Boys' RC Primary School and then St Mary's College. In 1924 he was appointed as a clerk in the Harbour Master's office. In 1927 he was made deputy colonial secretary, becoming colonial secretary thirty two (32) years later. In 1959 he was conferred the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, becoming Sir Solomon Hochoy. He was the last British governor of Trinidad and Tobago and the first governor-general upon the country's independence in 1962.


Education for liberty aims to release the imagination, to allow learners to use their actual minds to create their possible worlds. Learners are therefore released for moral and intellectual autonomy. Their capabilities are augmented and heightened by widening their horizons, increasing their awareness of choice, enlarging their points of reference, and layering their levels of perception.


TABLE OF CONTENTS Table of Figures....................................................................


List of Tables........................................................................








The New Silk Roads...............................................................


Education and Economic Growth...........................................


The Work of Nations...............................................................


A University for Trinidad & Tobago............................................


A University of Trinidad and Tobago.........................................


A Competitiveness Campus...................................................


BlueSky: a green initiative.......................................................


National Postdoctoral Fellowships............................................


National Commission on Higher Education...............................


GATE for STEAM.....................................................................


Primary & Secondary............................................................


The Virtuous Circle.................................................................


Evenness and the education enterprise...................................


Board of Teacher Education...................................................


TVET and Entrepreneurship.....................................................


TVET and OJT: German insights on Industry and Vocational


School Partnerships...............................................................


Reggio Emilia-Inspired ECCE..................................................


A Curriculum Construal.........................................................












TABLE OF FIGURES Table of Figures Figure 1: Global Innovation Index scores and GDP/Capita, 2013


in PPP$; bubbles sized by population Figure 2: Global Competitiveness Index 2013–2014, Trinidad and


Tobago Figure 3: Mapping the Features of Successful Innovations


Figure 4: Social Network of Genius: From Idols to Influences


across time and space Figure 5: Skills for innovation which the education system must


foster Figure 6: Conceptual model for prioritisation for “smart


specialisation” with practical challenges Figure 7: Going Further


LIST OF TABLES Tables Table 1: Nine Frames of the Ecology of Schooling


Table 2: Eight Frames for Innovation and Entrepreneurship with

57- 61

CreativeTT Table 3: Academic Affairs Calendar of the TSC

87 iii

FOREWORD Sir George Alleyne I am honoured to have been asked to write this foreword to Dr.Ali’s monograph, Education for Liberty. It is not only a pleasure, but also a challenge to comment on its contents. I applaud the basic thesis that it is through education that a country like Trinidad and Tobago- indeed any small country can find one of the essential keys to genuine human development. I am captivated by his linkage of education and development to liberty, which is seen in its broadest sense. The simple linking of education to liberty leads Dr. Ali into numerous intriguing and fascinating highways and byways as he explains what is meant by that development and the major ways in which education as a major component of the social dimension of that development can be optimally effective. I am comfortable, as I believe is Dr. Ali, in making the close link between liberty and development as one of the essential freedoms. I was intrigued by the apparent dissonance between the ancient concept of estimating what knowledge is of the most worth articulated by Spencer and to some extent by Cardinal Newman and the historical questioning of the kind of education and knowledge we need for the future. Dr. Ali gives an absorbing account of much of the historical and philosophical approaches to the age old conundrum as to the best way of inculcating information into the young such that it becomes a basis for the knowledge they need to make wise decisions. He pins much of his faith on the prospect of education iv

PROLEGOMENON The Aims of Education, the built environment and the curriculum design erected on the Williams-Lewis epistemological lens of education for industrialisation have transformed a former plantocracy into an industrialised republican political economy. This monograph posits a shift in the Aims of Education and an equal recasting of the ecological frames of schooling. The proposed shift is standing on the shoulders of the two aforementioned giants. Education for liberty is concerned with the development of reasoned agency; with involvement in a life of reason. The emphasis is on what learners are released for as against what they were released from. The entrepreneur Sir Terence Conran1 is one of the one hundred and forty illustrious individuals who have signed up to the Brexit Design Manifesto 2, which calls for fresh support for education and

manufacturing in the United Kingdom (UK). The UK design industry generates £72 billion annually and employs more than 1.5 million people. It is of huge cultural and economic importance to the UK. Paul Priestman of PriestmanGoode3 is calling for the UK government to create a space for talent to thrive. The quest is not for great ideas, new designs, big data, or information. These decay daily. 1 “Conran Group,” accessed October 17, 2016,

2 “Brexit Design Manifesto,” accessed October 17, 2016,

3 “Priestman Goode,” accessed October 17, 2016, and “Top creative talent calls for design industry boost,” accessed October 17, 2016,


The hope is to attract the talent that constantly changes these things, which in turn change the world. Education in Trinidad and Tobago must consider with seriousness the release of the imagination for innovation and entrepreneurship. A vibrant imagination is the most important quality students can take into their lives after school. But it is “not an ‘outcome’ that can be ‘delivered,’” “nor taught in a didactic way and it is not the content for a module,” according to Tony Little4, former Headmaster of Eton College.

King's College, Cambridge 4 Tony Little, An Intelligent Person's Guide to Education (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), 119.


Jean Guinet 5 proposed seven strategies to address weaknesses in the national innovation ecosystem of Trinidad and Tobago. Strikingly, he argued the case for laying the ground as early as primary education. He explicitly stated that government can promote an innovation culture throughout the economy and society primarily by education initiatives. However, he noted that: “primary and secondary education do not cultivate enough problem solving and imaginative initiatives as key attributes of high-performing students.” Guinet highlighted the low level of wealth-creating innovation activities in Trinidad and Tobago—linking this to the four pathogenic processes of the resource curse and Dutch disease. 6 He further illustrated his argument by mapping the position of Trinidad and Tobago relative to Mauritius, another Small Island Developing State (SIDS), and other Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries such as Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia and Peru (Figure 1) using a graphic representation from the Global Innovation Index, 2013. He concluded that the bottom line is that the level of wealth-creating innovation activities in Trinidad and Tobago is simply much too low. He surmised that the national innovation ecosystem was too loosely governed and that public investment in innovation was simply insufficient. 7 The Global Competitiveness Index 2013–2014 (Figure 2), which assesses the ability of a country to provide high levels of prosperity to its citizens, shows the poor performance of Trinidad and Tobago on the Innovation Pillar of the assessment model used by the World Economic Forum. 5 Jean Guinet, Assessment of the National Innovation Ecosystem of Trinidad and Tobago: Final Report, September 2014 (Washington: IDB, 2014), 19 6 (i) Rent-seeking and corruption, (ii) Factor movement, (iii) Excess demand and (iv) Loss of positive externalities. See: Amartya Sen, Society, Institutes and Development, Vol. II of Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honour of Amartya Sen, eds. Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009). 7 Recently Colm Imbert has ingeniously met these two issues directly from many different perspectives across the national economy and directly by introducing an Entrepreneurial Talent Grant, in his 2016 budget


presentation, accessed October 20, 2016,

Figure 1.8. Global Innovation Index (GII) scores and GDP per capita, 2013 (in PPP$; bubbles sized by population) Switzerland

Note: More details on T&T GII scores can be found in Table A.2 in the Appendix.

Leaders Sweden Netherlands United United States Kingdom


Finland Denmark

Ireland Canada Iceland

Singapore Luxembourg

Israel Norway New Germany Zealand France Australia Korea Belgium Malta Japan Austria Estonia


Spain Malaysia



Portugal China

GII score


Saudi Arabia

Costa Rica






30 Honduras

United Arab Emirates

Barbados South Chile Kuwait Africa Mauritius Uruguay Poland Thailand Argentina Colombia Mexico Russia Bahrain Peru Brazil Brunei Dominican Oman Indonesia Republic Ecuador Jamaica Panama Trinidad & Tobago Bolivia




Underperformers relative to GDP




20 Yemen

Source: “The Global Innovation Index 2013”. 400





GDP per capita in PPP$ (ln scale)

Figure 1: Global Innovation Index scores and GDP/Capita, 2013 in PPP$; bubbles sized by population 8 8 “Global Innovation Index 2013,” accessed 14, November, 2016, The+Global+Innovation+Index+2013.+The+Local+Dynamics+of+Innovation


Figure 1.7. Global Competitiveness Index according to stage of development, 2013 Institutions 7



6 5

Business sophistication

Macroeconomic environment


Trinidad and Tobago


Efficiency-driven economies


Market size

Health and primary education


Technological readiness

Innovation-driven economies Factor-driven economies

Higher education and training

Financial market development

Note: More details on T&T GCI scores can be found in Table A.1 in the Appendix.

Goods market efficiency Labor market efficiency

Source: “The Global Competitiveness Report 2013–2014”.

9 Figure Competitiveness Index 2013-2014, and Figure 2: 1.8.Global Global Innovation Index (GII) scores and GDP per capita, 2013 (inTrinidad PPP$; bubbles sizedTobago by population) Switzerland

Note: More details on T&T GII scores can be found in Table A.2 in the Appendix.

Leaders Sweden Netherlands United United States Kingdom


Finland Denmark

Ireland Canada Iceland

Singapore Luxembourg

Israel Norway New Germany Zealand France Australia Korea Belgium Malta Japan Austria Estonia


Spain Malaysia



Portugal China


GII score

Saudi 10 Figure 3: Mapping the Features of SuccessfulCosta Innovations Rica Arabia Barbados

United Arab Emirates


40 SouthForum, Chile 9 “The Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014,” World Economic accessed Kuwait 21, 2016, Poland October Africa Mauritius Uruguay Argentina


Colombia Performance in the 2016–2017 Report is no different. Vietnam Accessed October 21, 2016, India


Mexico Bahrain Peru Brazil


Failure to advance on the Innovation Pillar may be linked to theDominican failure to make theOman necessary structural Indonesia Republic Uganda adjustments to the dimensions of the Institutional Pillar. Ecuador Jamaica Panama Business Model,” Harvard Business 10 Stelios Kavadias, Kostas LadasKenya and Christoph Loch, “The Transformative Trinidad & Tobago Bolivia 30 October (2016): 91-98. Review, Honduras



Underperformers relative to GDP


5 Pakistan


Ours is a diasporic society. It is an inheritance of tremendous worth. Failure to embrace it as an asset would be a catastrophe. Distance was never an obstacle in our history, and distance across the globe today can no longer limit the distribution of probabilities. We are entangled in the World Wide Web. Stimuli travel as free signifiers independent of causes; the global borders on the local, and the other way round. Miracle Worker11 by SuperHeavy is the prototype of “glocalization”—a process that strips locality of its plight and potency, nothingness and emptiness, while simultaneously adding to its prominence and fullness. Initiatives remain local, but it is now the turn of the intractable and the unpredictable that put them stubbornly beyond the reach of the predicting, planning and steering influences of their proposers. Like Jane Zhang’s music video for “Dust my shoulders off” - a bricolage constructed from iconic international works of art painted by Hopper, Van Gogh, Vermeer, Seurat, Munch and ending with a Salvador Dalian dreamscape of surrealist proportions; platform technology is inverting the world. The Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge has identified six characteristics of successful global innovations that are linked to technology trends and market needs (Figure 3). To leapfrog it is worthwhile for Trinidad and Tobago to consider these six keys to innovation success.

11SuperHeavy. Miracle Worker. YouTube video, 5.07, accessed October 17, 2016, “Miracle Worker” brings Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, the king of reggae Damian Marley, soul singer Joss Stone, the Academy Award-winning composer from India A.R. Rahman and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics into a fluid assemblage, free of the typical frantic shifts characteristic of a modern music video. Instead singularity is preserved.


Santayana (cited in Zygmunt

Bauman) 12 describes culture—

The colonial recipe of assimilation and conversion when dealing with

all culture, any culture—as “a

difference is no longer tenable in

knife pressed against the future.”

a multicentred world. Postmodern

Culture must be about making

Europe has emerged ashen-faced

things different from what they are,

in the midst of its present migration

the future unlike the present. The

crisis, very much like our ancestors

modern tactic of assimilating and

from the Bight of Benin and the

converting others across antipodal

berths of Kolkata who, from an

coasts has been dampened by

overcrowded barracoon, crossed

the rise of oligarchic nationalism.

the Middle Passage to become plantation labourers in a New

Once “We were the colour of shadows when we came down/ with tinkling leg-irons to join the chains

World. Massimo D’Alema16 points out that

of the sea,”13 but today the “New

cultural métissage or hybridisation

Europeans” arriving from the former

is unavoidable. It triggers a mixing

Mandat français pour la Syrie et le

of cultural inspirations. In the end it

Liban into Friedman’s14 flat world

becomes a source of enrichment

have forced our postmodern “Old

and an engine of creativity. Cultural

World” citizens to accommodate

variety, which is now seen as a

the permanent global practice

liability, needs to be recast into

of living with strangers and their

an asset in search of a mutually

difference daily.15

satisfactory modus co-vivendi. Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the

12 Zygmunt Bauman, On Education: Conversations with Riccardo Mazzeo (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016). 13 Derek Walcott, Omeros (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990), Book Three, Chapter xxviii.

14 Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat 3.0: a Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (London: Picador, 2007). 15 “The new European,” National Geographic, October (2016): 83-115. Since World War II, Germany has received roughly 50 million immigrants. One in eight people living there was born elsewhere. And yet when Angela Merkel said publicly that Germany was an Einwanderungsland—an “immigration country”— the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper called the statement “historic.”’ After the war twelve million Germans who were driven out of Eastern Europe returned to a destitute country where they were often unwelcome. 16Massimo D’Alema, “ L’Europe a besoin d’immigrés pour garantir son niveau de développement,” Lé Monde, May 10, 2011, accessed October 18, 2016,


Renault-Nissan alliance, is a Brazilianborn Lebanese-Frenchman working out of Paris and Tokyo. He aims to make the next automobile an indispensable personal space rich with connectivity. The schooling of the newly arriving Asiatic indentured labouring class from 1845 in institutions separate from the rest of the population in Trinidad and Tobago has had enduring consequences. Amin Maalouf 17 concludes that when

the traditions of the original culture are respected, the immigrant feels less rejected on account of his or her different identity. This in turn makes them more open to the cultural options of the new country, and the less likely they will appear to hold on to their separateness. Even so, there is only a fine thread that separates enrichment from erasure.18

The veritable Babel and varieties of life-worlds that was Trinidad’s linguistic lushness included speakers of Yao, Warao, Kalina, Lokono, Carinepagoto, Chaima, Kalipunian, Chaguane, Igneri, Nepoio, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Latin, Lisboa Portuguese, Spanish, Akan, Mandinka, Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, Kikongo, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Tamil, Sindhi, Gujarati, Nepali, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Urdu, Telugu, Hakka, Cantonese, north Levantine (Syrian and Lebanese) Arabic and English. Life in the confluence of these multiple Vygotskian zones of proximal development is an advantage that has slipped through our fingers like sand. Eric Heisserer’s 2016 film, Arrival19, is an unnerving lamentation of the paradise we

17 Amin Maalouf, In the Name of Identity, trans. Barbara Bray (New York: Penguin, 2000).

18 Zygmunt Bauman, Identity: Conversations with Benedetto Vecchi (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016). 19 Eric Heisserer, Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve, 2016, California, Paramount Pictures. Film.


have lost. The languages we listen to, speak, read and write impact, reflect and shape the way we think, how we percieve the world and the connections we make. The film evokes the contested Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, a theory of linguistic relativity that, in its strongest form, suggests that language affects thought and English speakers and Finnish speakers, will think in ways that are fundamentally different. Elite youth are multilingual and this enhances their connectivity accross the flat parts of the world. The diversity of languages used by students in preschool, primary and secondary schools in London and Paris is staggering. The linguistic diversity of New York contributes to its economic competitiveness as this impacts fluent communication, closing contracts quickly and the general ease with which crossborder commerce is transacted. Despite the loss, difference remains a permanent feature of our diasporic actuality in Trinidad and Tobago. The apostles and the addicts of the grow-or-perish ideology of development must consider the many mind-fields created by chronological social inequalities fostered between the haves and the have-nots in our society.20

Perhaps growth needs to shift away from measures in the rise in material production. Prosperity needs to be sought and built outside of the trappings of opulence and inside the non-material areas of relationships, families, neighbourhoods, communities, 20 Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote, trans. John Rutherford (London: Penguin, 2000). An old observation Cervantes made in his book.


the future, and the meaning of life. Wellbeing and freedom to live a decent human life need to be the ultimate objective of the economy.21

Image courtesy : Geoffrey Maclean

(TSC), captains of industry, the Energy Chamber of Trinidad

Setting out such an overarching

and Tobago, the Tobago House

socioeconomic outcome

of Assembly (THA) Division of

buttressed by a parallel shift in

Education, the Trinidad and

the ecology of schooling is critical

Tobago Chamber of Industry

in achieving the desired change

and Commerce, the Trinidad

in mindset and the consequent

and Tobago Manufacturers’

way of life. The shift would require

Association (TTMA), and the Ministry

a Collective Impact 22 strategy

of Education (MoE); 2) a shared list

across all seven education districts

of indicators to measure progress;

and Tobago simultaneously. The

mutually reinforcing activities,

model may include: 1) a common

with each stakeholder focusing

agenda (that takes into account

on what each organisation does

the actions and omissions by all

best; 3) a robust and structured

players across all sectors, including

communication plan to build

charitable bodies, foundations,

trust and co-ordinate activities

state agencies, the United Nations

focused on mutual objectives;

Educational Scientific and Cultural

and finally, 4) an independently

Organisation (UNESCO), the United

funded backbone support team

Nations Development Programme

dedicated to guide the vision and

(UNDP), members of affected

tactics, support activities, establish

populations, multinationals, the

shared measured practices, build

Teaching Service Commission

public determination, advance

21 Amartya Sen, “Justice and the Global World,” Indigo 4 (Winter 2011): 22.

22 Mark R. Kramer and Marc W. Pfitzer, “The Ecosystem of Shared Value,” Harvard Business Review (October 2016): 81.


policy, and mobilise resources.

face with certainty the possibility of pseudo-jobs, “practices,” ad-

The vision of education-driven

hoc, temporary and insecure part-

upward social mobility neutralising

time employment at considerably

the toxins of inequality and

lower levels of skills than they have

making them perhaps liveable or

acquired, and eternities below

rendering them harmless, along

their expectations. Greg Hurst 26

with the hope that free primary

describes some programmes

and secondary education and

of study as “worthless degrees”

Government Assistance for Tuition

from the lowest-performing British

Expenses (GATE) at the tertiary level

universities. This is simply a painful

can sustain continuous upward

blow to the majority of zealous

social mobility, are both quickly


evaporating. Social mixing at every tier of the national education

Regarding the tertiary sector,

system is in retreat. The result is

Guinet27 noted that the University

the embourgeoisement of “well

of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) is

feathered” institutions and the

very active in the promotion of

proletarianisation of the common

innovation-driven entrepreneurship

ones.23 In this regard, Deosaran24

and Ryan25 have made their own peculiar observations.

and preparing specialists for priority clusters, while the UWI has insufficient capability to interact effectively with the business sphere

In recent times, it is not unusual

to set up spinoffs and partnerships.

for many university graduates to

He also noted the absence of a

23 Editorial, “Getting to the Root of T&T’s Education Failures,” Trinidad Guardian, October 18, 2016, accessed October 18, 2016, 24 Ramesh Deosaran, Inequality crime and education in Trinidad and Tobago. Ian Randle (Jamaica: Ian Randel, 2016). 24 Selwyn Ruan, Selected Writings. Multimedia Production Centre (MPC) (U.W.I., St. Augustine Campus).

26 Greg Hurst, “Worthless degrees: graduates earn less than school leavers,” The Times, London. April 13, 2016, accessed October 17, 2016, 27Guinet, Assessment.


pro-innovation immigration policy strategy to mitigate the flight of the flamingoes or the most talented, and convert the brain drain into a more beneficial brain circulation. The provision of education in Trinidad and Tobago is akin to a palimpsest—a manuscript written over a partly erased older manuscript in such a way that traces of the old words can still be read beneath the new. Spanning four hundred and sixty four (464) years (1498–1962) from the initial encomienda system of the Reyes Católicos clade, the education system has been retraced by multiple strategies,

Image Credit: Ben Zank


each one varnishing some parts and repainting sections of previous efforts, until Dr Eric Williams brought into being the comprehensive model of education we benefit from today (See Appendix).

Image courtesy : Geoffrey Maclean

of the built learning environment nationally with different types of schools and differentiated syllabi would produce an epistemic space

At the core of the Williams-Lewis model is Herbert Spencer’s28

question: ‘What knowledge is of most worth?’ The answer to this question gave priority to new school types and ways of knowing. This in turn shaped the design of the schools and the allocation of space within the buildings, as well as the type, breadth, and depth of the curriculum. Each rectangular block of learning space, laboratories and workshops had a function assigned to it, while inversely each function was assigned its own space. The production

that would become the bedrock of economic transformation. This accomplishment remains an unparalleled Caribbean achievement. No plan as detailed or as ambitious

as the Gurr 29 blueprint had ever been seen in this country before Dr Eric Williams, or subsequently. The capital outlay was TT$171 million and the recurrent expenditure, spread over fifteen years, was TT$1.1 billion. The model is traceable to the Marriott/Mayhew Report of 1931/1932, which proposed the

28 Herbert Spencer, “What knowledge is of most worth?” in Education: Intellectual, Moral, and Physical (NY: D Appleton & Company, 1860), 21–96. 29 Trinidad and Tobago, Ministry of Education, The Draft Plan for Education Development of Trinidad and Tobago 1967–1983 (Port-of Spain: Govt. Printer, 1984). CE Gurr was the UNESCO consultant who worked on the draft plan.


secondary modern school with two distinct stages: a free junior course for the 11–15 age group and a paid senior programme for older children. The Moyne Commission of 1939 introduced the nomenclature “junior secondary school,” only to have such an idea shelved for twenty-five years. The Missen Report of 1954 did not depart radically from either the Marriott/Mayhew Report or the Moyne Commission, but it did prefer the terminology of central schools. In the end secondary modern schools, junior secondary schools, and central schools meant the same thing: schools which gave a broad, varied, practical and academic education to a wide cross-section of the less academically advanced between the ages of 11 and 15. The new school type was supposed to exist alongside the system of denominational secondary schools or grammar schools. All of these reports called for separate technical schools. Later, the Maurice Commission of 1959 would introduce the idea of Comprehensive Schools. These were supposed to exist alongside central schools, secondary modern, technical schools, and the existing secondary grammar schools, whether denominational or state grammar schools like Queen’s Royal College (QRC). The comprehensives aimed to combine academic and technical/vocational subjects. They were therefore seen to be subordinate in status to the existing secondary grammar and central schools. The idea of comprehensive schools did not get traction at that time, but the government accepted the idea of central schools.


The UK is rife with contemporary comment and countercomment on the impact and utility of comprehensive education30. The Rev John Witheridge, past headmaster of

Charterhouse31 in Godalming, Surrey, has argued that students have been badly served by comprehensive education.32 The

Rt Hon Ms Justine Greening, appointed as Secretary of State for Education by Prime Minister Theresa May, is the first education minister in the United Kingdom who attended a comprehensive secondary school. However, it is argued here that the next steps for Trinidad and Tobago hinge on a different set of Aims. Cultures that nurture the expression of different points of view excite the most innovation. Charlan Nemeth33 has shown that dissenting

judgements generate not just more concepts but more productive and imaginative ideas. Imagination is not fragile. It feeds on failures, flaws and frustrations. Small failures are the conceptual fuel needed to reimagine a model or a product. Insulating learners from examining and experiencing failure is to remove the coal of creativity. Jean Guinet noted that in Trinidad and Tobago there is social stigma attached to entrepreneurial failure. Creative advance beyond the stubborn fact occurs via a combination of incremental measured steps and creative leaps or acts of imagination that disrupt the terrain of an idea or artefact. Netflix reimagined the home movie market and designed a service 30 Melissa Benn and Janet Downs, “Comprehensive Education has not failed,” Comprehensive Future, accessed November 7, 2016, 31 “Charterhouse,” accessed November 7, 2016,

32 Graeme Paton, “Schoolchildren being failed by comprehensive education,” The Telegraph May 9, 2011, accessed November 7, 2016, Schoolchildren-being-failed-by-comprehensive-education.html 33 C. Nemeth, M. Personnaz and J. Goncalo, “The Liberating Role of Conflict in Group Creativity: A Cross-


Cultural Study,” European Journal of Social Psychology 34 (2004): 365-74.

based on (1) a closed-loop system (2) a personalised product, (3) an asset-sharing model like Airbnb, (4) a usage-based pricing model, (5) innovations along the supply chain, and (6) adopting a flat model of decision-making that made the company agile. Blockbuster turned down the chance to purchase the fledgling Netflix for US $50 million in 2000. Eventually, Netflix created a new race altogether and Blockbuster was out of the picture. No accumulation of small but disciplined steps to reach the optimum point, testing after each step, could save Blockbuster. Marginal gains could find no footing anywhere anymore. Blockbuster was climbing to a summit that had been abandoned by its customer base. The front was elsewhere. Seeking to regain traction was meaningless. Netflix was an entirely new space, leveraging new technology with fresh insights, very much like Google AdWords and Uber. 34

A curriculum that appeals to the imagination designs occasions for learning which transform the ordinary. The structuring of materials and ideas must have the unusual influence to speak to learners in the depth of their being. Such experiences must allow for the emergence of unforeseen perspectives which alter the world as once seen. It is a pedagogy that tests small assumptions and big ones; seeing the gestalt as well as the fine details in the margins. While the former is about bold leaps that lead to new conceptual terrain, the latter opens up experiences to grapple with how marginal gains help to optimise existing fundamental assumptions; it must be about transforming 34 “Saudi signals new investment strategies in 3.5 billion Uber deal,� accessed October 15, 2016, In June 2016 Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman made the Saudi state Public Investment Fund (PIF) a player in the technology start-up market. The kingdom is now a part-owner of the ride-hailing firm Uber with a US$3.5 billion investment.


Idols and Influences including:

• • • • •

Collaborator • Halley

Bacon Copernicus Kepler Galileo Descartes Influences

Friend • Locke


• Geothe • Euler • Einstein

Newton Rivals including:

• Hooke • Huygens • Leibniz

Contemporaries and Correspondents including:

• • • •

Bernoulli Bradley De Moivre Römer


R. Capildeo


25 - giants challenged, motivated and stimulated by his ideas 106 - scientists who made their own reputations by promulgating, expounding on, extending, qualifying and contradicting 1 - distinguished teacher is credited 21 - correspondents, collegues and associates 5 - contemporaries with whom he entered into rivalries, controversies and competitons (intimate and unstable relationships) 0 - notable blood relatives 26 - professional contacts 20 - other relationships

Figure 4: Social Network of Genius: From Idols to Influences across time and space (Source: Dean Keith, Simonton (1994))

the world and tweaking it simultaneously. There is no innovation outside of failure. Aversion to failure is the single largest obstacle to creative change. Learners must be curious, inquisitive, and willing to engage with a difficulty, rather than simply accept the world as it is. A pedagogy that nurtures these habits of mind is built on the constructs of: re-vision, rigour, recursion, richness, and relations 35— not just reading, religion, (a)rithmetic and (w)riting. Re-vision is not proposed by Doll in his critique of the Tyler Rationale. Revision draws on the Piagetian idea of vertical décalage. It has to do with improving upon cognitive functions as the learner matures. It has to do with looking at a

35 William E. Doll, A post-modern perspective on curricullum. Teachers College Columbia University, New York ( Teachers College Press New York, 1993).


concept or process with fresh eyes or from a different point of view over time as cognitive functioning shifts accross different areas of performance that are in horizontal dĂŠcalage. Rigour refers to purposefully seeking out alternatives, relations and connections and allowing for a range of possibilities from which actualizations may appear. The curriculum is driven by multiple interpretations, incompleteness and indeterminacy. Recursion aims at developing the ability to use something heuristically. Richness deals with the depth of the curriculum, its layers of meaning, its multiple possibilities, indeterminacy, lived experience, disequilibrium, problematics and perturbations. Relations refer to a curriculum design as a network or matrix with myriad crossconnections and not the modern idea of a moribund catalogue or shopping list of topics to be completed. The Rolodex Curriculum is dead. Social Networks today amplify the richness of the relational dimension of lifelong learning as we innovate and invent. Sir Isaac Newton had a rich social network of rivals and collaborators as well as later admirers like Albert Einstein and Rudranath Capildeo (Figure 4). Failure is a gilt-edged invitation to re-imagine a solution. The creative power of error has escaped the classroom. Mistakes provide an opportunity to share errors. They must be valued by the teacher. They are not indicators of inability or inferiority but rather point to evidence of learning. Each subject area has its field of experts and is a domain


of human representation that requires nurturing and development. Each domain is linked to one or more of our multiple intelligences. If failure sparks creativity, then the moment of insight emerges from the attempt to bridge the problem with previously unrelated ideas or technologies. Epiphanies, or spotting the obscure, are sparked by the dissent and criticism of others and in some cases incognito,36 that is, when we pull away from the problem and relax. This is why metropolitan centres and atriums are important and why we need to rethink the architecture, layout and outfitting of all early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary epistemic spaces in Trinidad and Tobago. Strange ideas and diverse people bump into each other and this facilitates dissent and criticism. The post-epiphany tasks that make an insight workable require disciplined focus. It is here that we return to marginal gains, taking lots of disciplined, negligible steps in a particular direction, with testing and retesting after each step, failing and returning to the prototype to make informed changes based on results from tests. Most of the time is spent in failing, modifying and testing. We may need to establish new labs for work in plastics, 3D printing, digital media, circuit testing, app development, design, electronics and information technology (IT) for students to work on self-directed projects. This would be in addition to the upgrade and refurbishing of all existing technical vocational facilities as we promote Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) within the National Qualifications Framework. The creative leap is a critical and precious process, but it is the start 36 David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (New York: Canongate, 2012).


of a long and arduous process of evolving the design from the bottom up. The epiphany vaults you into a new terrain with fresh insights, perhaps by leveraging new technology. Doing this, however, requires stepping back and looking at the big picture. It is about drawing together disparate ideas. It is the art of making connections. Epiphany and failure are therefore inextricably linked. When a brilliant idea appears out of the blue it often surfaces after a long period of gestation. But to make the creative insight actual, there must be a return to working patiently with small steps, little failures and latent weaknesses. The difference between Star and Gillette, Dubroni and Polaroid, VisiCorp and Microsoft is the discipline to get the manufacturing process perfect, the supply lines

seamless. Only nine per cent of the pioneers end up as final winners. Sixty-four per cent of them fail outright.37 An original idea is only two per cent of the journey. Markets demand consistent quality, delivery on time, and a polished product. Each environment has a level of “threshold innovation” that needs to be crossed to get into the game. Firms that fail to meet the innovation threshold cannot hope to win. Strangely, once a company is above the threshold, being innovative doesn’t seem to matter very much. Winners require discipline, the imagination to see the big picture, and the focus to

faultless and the delivery process

37 Gerard J. Tellis and Peter N. Goulder, Will and Vision: How Latecomers Grow to Dominate Markets (Los Angeles: Figueroa Press, 2006).


perceive the small details. We learn by being correct as well as by being wrong. However, applying the rules is as important as pursuing anomalies that escape the frame. It has been the case that while working on a real problem, theories eventually had to be revised. A new solution may displace parts of the existing theory. There is an intricate interplay between the small picture and the big picture, between theory and praxis, between top-down and bottomup methods, between creativity

with the reality of our present circumstances. This is why the recasting of education will be a series of collisions between our actual life-worlds and our possible lives. This monograph is not a blueprint. That task remains reserved for those more informed in the architectonics of curriculum and pedagogy in each subsector of the national system of education, and those less likely to misdirect

and discipline.

and misguide. The monograph

For the Entrepreneurial State,

while in others it points to paths.

the future promises to look very different. The futures we dare to imagine will always collide

points out futures in some parts; It touches all segments of the sector, from postdoctoral priorities to the preschool. However, the next steps pivot on a different set of aims. Rather than the antediluvian Herbert Spencer


question, we desperately need now to ask instead: What futures are we educating for? The Entrepreneurial State must design a system of education that merges into the realities of a borderless world economy, a capabilities approach to development, the intellectual and moral imperative to change the world, and the rise of an elite cosmopolitan class of entrepreneurs and creatives.

Dr. Eric Williams visiting St. Ursula's Girls' Anglican School.

St. Ursula’s Girls’ Anglican School opened in 1852 as the St. Vincent Street Anglican School. It opened its doors with 150 boys and girls. It was instrumental in educating children whose parents were once enslaved in the West Indies. Courtesy: National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago


EPILOGUE Archbishop Joseph Everard Harris If an education system is to be of worth, it must arise from a national plan for development. Such a plan cannot hold opulence as its ultimate aim. Instead “wellbeing and freedom to live a decent human life” must be the ultimate objective of the economy”. Dr. Ali is spot-on in proposing that prosperity can be found outside the trappings of lavishness and instead inside the non-material areas of “relationships, families, neighbourhoods, communities, the future, and the meaning of life.” If we open the conversation with this end in mind then it would be possible to write a plan for education for liberty. Dr. Ali suggests that from behind a Rawlsian veil of ignorance such a plan will go a long way in dismantling many of the historical inequalities of our colonial inheritance. Such a plan for national development must also embrace the spiritual, the social, and the theories of great governance. A well structured education system has to prepare citizens for the goals enunciated in the national development plan. In Trinidad and Tobago, the national plan for development appears in its execution to be largely economic without giving much attention to the social, spiritual and aesthetic aspects of life. Our national plan for development also has as a priority, without mentioning it, becoming a first world nation in the mode 127

of those deemed to be competitive, developed, entrepreneurial and globally innovative. Flowing almost inexorably from this posture, our education system continues to imbibe a belief in our citizenry that Europe and the northern countries of the Americas are the typesets for all of humanity. This contributes in no small measure to the endemic inferiority which so many of our citizens bear viz a viz citizens of so-called First World countries. Many people will tell us and data will show that we have historically educated people for First World countries. In fact many of our small coastal and rural villages are fading because the education provision in these towns does not outfit them for productive work in their own communities. They must migrate to the urban centres to try to find sustainable employment, an enterprise which very often is entangled in numerous difficulties. A small country of less than1.5 million people which graduates a few thousand students each year at various levels, the vast majority having been trained in a grammar school system cannot provide employment for such an inflow into the jobs market. The increasing crime wave and the prevalence of criminal gangs in many of our Caribbean islands is a direct result of this system. A parallel consequence is the loss to first world countries of our best and brightest, the famous brain drain which affects small Caribbean island states. In Education for Liberty, Dr. Ali highlights the absence of a pro-innovation immigration policy strategy to mitigate the flight of the flamingoes or the most talented and convert the brain drain into a more beneficial brain circulation. As far as governance is concerned, the Westminster system as we understand it and practise it does not bring and cannot bring harmony to a nation that is composed of so many different ethnic and religious groupings. For any developmental thrust to be 128

successful it must be built on a united people whose vision and goals are the same. The result is that we continue to be a nation of minorities each with their own vision and goals. To correct this absence of unity nation building has to be an integral part of any education system that we espouse and a new governance structure is needed and must be held accountable for the effectiveness of the overall governance process. What is even more alarming is the lack of imagination and the apparent refusal to develop imagination in our people. This lack of imagination contributes to making us into what Naipaul calls, ‘Mimic men’. If imagination is the questioning of the status quo and we can envision what can be, then the onus is on our leaders to build structures necessary to bring about a totally different way of being. Education for Liberty calls for the release of the imagination through a review of the ecology of schooling and this must be highly praised. Dr. Ali is bold in his supplications. Many new political and trade groupings are on the horizon and we must be brave to face with eyes wide open the turbulent economic landscape ahead and ensure our future wellbeing and prosperity. At the root of Trinidad and Tobago’s declining economic performance at this time and the key to invigorating it, is courage. Courage is doing the hard thing—for the greater good despite being filled with fear, doubt and the terror of failure. Courage is taking a stand when it's difficult, not when it's easy. Dr. Ali has taken a stand in this monograph. He may be wrong and he may fail to stimulate change but he is brave and bold enough to put his thoughts forward for the leaders of this region to either set them aside or to consider. Added to our lack of imagination is the compelling desire to be claimed – an unconscious yearning to be other than who we are. History shows we were granted Independence not because 129

we fought for Independence like Haiti or the countries in middle and South America but because Britain found certain colonies burdensome to maintain. In a certain sense it was easier to get rid of us. We have also experienced in today’s world that immigrant status is no longer a safe haven with daily deportations. Further, we have not understood that being unclaimed is our greatest richness because as a people we have the possibility and potential of making ourselves into the people that we can truly become and not faint imitations of others. So the yearning for the metropolis has to cease and can only take place:

1. 2.

when we can imagine a new way of being and by adopting a new governance structure

The new ecology for schooling proposed by Dr. Ali requires a collective impact strategy. In my view this should begin at the base in the communities and villages. The ideas generated should be discussed and distilled and consensus arrived at, first at the village level, then at the regional corporation level and finally at the national level. A great contributor to the lack of critical thinking about national development stems from the refusal of successive governments to fund philosophical studies at our national and regional universities. The result is that many of our graduates have not asked themselves or studied deeply the critical questions about life. (What does it mean to be human? Or what does it mean to be Trinbagonian?) Because of the years lost in which the values most inculcated were the values copied from the ‘North', that is, the values of money, power, pleasure and prestige we have lost a generation of parents capable of inculcating the values which we deem to be precious- the values of service, humility and selfless love. The result is our standing on the international corruption index. Teachers 130

and schools must now be considered surrogate parents and have to take up that role so that we can build a new generation whose homes will become schools of values for life. The value of structure in education must not be forgotten or taken lightly. Structure understood as the patterns of relationship are an expression of what we believe and teach us what to believe. If the values of humility, service and selfless love are to flourish, structures which express and teach these values must undergird the whole education enterprise. Alongside the necessity of structure must be the intention to build the habits of mind through which the society of which we dream will come into being. Discipline, Production and Tolerance is the motto of our nation but those habits have not been inculcated through our education system. As part of the lack of imagination in thinking through the goals of education we do not deal with aptitudes, intelligences and learning styles. Many students are left by the wayside because the curricula taught do not cater for the interests of many students. The education system must devise structures that will allow learners to take different pathways that offer quality learning opportunities. At present we do not have these structures in place. There must be a clear connection between education and training in meeting the goals of the national development plan. Lifelong education and innovation must be central in building the capabilities of our people and hence the society. Economic development in small nations often depends on the capacity of the nation to provide essential goods and services to others at a reasonable cost. Citizens must however be educated in such a way that the necessary skills are developed to drive industry. A country seeking to become an industrial nation without a strong technical vocational component 131

in the education system is doomed to failure before the process even starts. In Education for Liberty Dr. Ali links Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Entrepreneurship and TVET to the On-the-Job Training Programme (OJT) following the German model of technical education. Overall, the gamut of ideas presented, his review of the Williams-Lewis model and his suggestion to map a reimagined future onto a redefined and reshaped ecology of schooling are forceful and persuasive. If we are indeed serious about a future state then this monograph cannot go unnoticed or be discounted and disregarded. Archbishop Joseph Everard Harris, C.S.Sp. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Port of Spain