Eight years after needlessly and spitefully shutting down the programs the former UNC Government put in place to transform our education system and prepare students for the digital age, the Rowley government is now finally adopting a policy of incorporating digital technology in education.
It is unfortunate that hundreds of thousands of young people have been left eight years behind, and the digital divide has widened due to Rowley’s malice and desire to malign the policies of the former government.
According to Rowley the “new” Digital Transformation in Education policy will ensure “Young people are equipped to navigate today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving world”. I am heartened that after spending eight years tarnishing the UNC’s many initiatives which sought to equip our teachers and young people with the digital tools and skills they need to “navigate today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving world”, Rowley has now seen the need to embrace such programs.
The former UNC Government introduced the eConnect and Learn program, which was designed to facilitate the transformation of education in Trinidad and Tobago through the use of contemporary instructional strategies and cutting-edge Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions.
T&T was the Regional Centre for Virtual Educa in Latin America & the Caribbean in partnership with the OAS. We partnered with a major tech company for 20 schools to be equipped with 21st Century Smart classrooms.
It pains me to note that thousands of children were deprived of learning opportunities during the Covid-19 pandemic because of this visionless government. Had these programs been continued and expanded as it was envisioned by the UNC government I led, our children would be in a better position today.
As someone passionately devoted to the education of the children of Trinidad and Tobago, I promise the young people of Trinidad and Tobago that when the United National Congress forms the next government, we will not act like the PNM, and destroy this initiative out of political spite. Unlike the PNM, the UNC will always place the education of children as the highest priority.
Our plans for education and young people include amending curricula to include new subjects, particularly in ICTs, including coding and other digital skills.
In particular, we need to build a workforce for jobs in the highly skilled fields of the Fifth Industrial Revolution such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, genetics and biotechnology.
A UNC government will continue to focus on building our young people and ensuring they have opportunities to grow and thrive in the digital economy.
The education sector has already been set back more than eight years as a result of Rowley’s uninspired leadership. Our children deserve better.
Kamla Persad Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition