I extend congratulations and best wishes to the more than 18,000 children who wrote this year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment. I wish, in particular, to congratulate Lexi Balchan of the Point Fortin ASJA Primary School for her outstanding achievement in placing first in this year’s SEA.
Each student who wrote the SEA this year should be proud of the hard work you put in over the last few months in preparation, and I am sure you are eager to begin the next phase of your educational journey.
Education is a critical tool in the fight against crime, and in addressing other social ills such as poverty in our society. Children and young adults are equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed in their daily lives, and become productive members of society.
Through education, the vulnerable and underprivileged in our communities can improve their lives and those of their families, and this is why I spent much of my life working to advance our country’s education sector. I remain deeply concerned about the current administration’s lack of focus and investment in our nation’s education system.
The Government which I led had a clear plan to build on the improvements we made in our education system, including ensuring a place for every child at the early childhood, primary and secondary school level, and improving the quality of education, school-by-school.
We planned to develop and roll out a comprehensive school curriculum from the pre-primary to secondary level, which would include critical and creative thinking, responsible citizenship, sustainable development for Small Island States, innovation, exposure to science, sustainable development, entrepreneurship, and expansion of technical/vocational options.
It is disappointing that after 21 months, the Rowley-led Government is yet to put forward any plans or policies to advance the development of this critical sector.
To the students, as you now move into the next stage of your education, I urge you to look at ways in which you can contribute to your school, your families and your communities, and indeed the development of our country. I urge you to persist in your efforts. Be bold, work hard, and you will achieve your goals.
Trinidad and Tobago needs our brilliant, exceptional young people to step forward and lend their hands to building a stronger, more prosperous, and just society.
Congratulations, and best wishes in your future endeavours!
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
4th July, 2017