Natasha Lee, President of the National 4-H council of T&T, wants cocoa to be named the country’s national fruit.
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A parent’s plight
Last Saturday the Homeschool Association of Trinidad and Tobago held its first ever Curriculum Fair and if the daily messages by parents didn’t convince me, the overwhelming turnout sealed the deal. Parents are totally dissatisfied with the current education system and need options. So many parents said, “I don’t know how yet, but I know the system is no longer acceptable.”
I was saddened that so many parents were facing this predicament but I must admit that I was happy to at least hear them finally admit the obvious—our system is failing at all levels and it is no longer acceptable.
I wished an official representative from the Ministry of Education was there, maybe someone from the office of the PM and someone from Ministry of Social Development as well, so they could all hear the plight of a parent.
The times we live in require both parents to leave the home and work for pittance. Our system failed to create in them a sense of entrepreneurship that would allow them to earn a good income from home or at least on a flexible basis using their natural abilities and doing it in a way that allows them time with their families. This means, parents now depend more on the schools to equip their children but schools have not been given the tools to rise to the occasion.
Most are unable to diagnose learning disorders and even when there is suspicion, the resources simply are not there to implement anything. The focus on exams means that character development has been placed on the side burner and any quality time a parent may squeeze in is now replaced with doing unacceptable amounts of homework or extracurricular activities with a US-based scholarship in mind.
It is quite obvious to see why bullying is now officially out of control. Between the struggle to learn, the exhaustion of the day and the crying out for affection, I am amazed that bullying is our only problem. Oops, wait it isn’t, our dear parents now have the added stress of over-sexualised children. The ads are everywhere and the children seem to be talking about it earlier and earlier. Their curiosity seems to be kicking into overdrive much faster than the parents can handle and once again there isn’t any concession for such knowledge in our schools.
No one is taking the bull by the horn and implementing a well-designed risk avoidance programme. I wish I had the solution. My advice to parents normally makes me sound reckless and downright irresponsible. Who in their right mind would leave their job and homeschool their child. Who would say “enough is enough” and stand out against the system?
What I do know, is that we have more power than we believe and if the hundreds of thousands of parents come together and demand change and commit to be a part of it, we will start to see real movement in the right direction. In the meantime, kudos to those parents who had the foresight to form the association and who fight behind the scenes for the formation of policies that have benefited all those interested in homeschooling. Your work does not go unnoticed.
And to the parents who displayed their curricula and spent the evening answering questions upon questions, thank you for providing the public with an opportunity to learn from your experiences. I truly pray that parents are given a solution sooner, rather than later.
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