TTUTA: Proposed Tobago-centric curriculum must engage stakeholders

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

TTUTA Tobago officer Bradon Roberts. File photo/David Reid

TTUTA Tobago officer Bradon Roberts has welcomed the THA Division of Education, Research and Technology’s plan to make the island’s curriculum more Tobago-centric, but he said there must be extensive stakeholder engagement to facilitate the process.

At the THA’s virtual Mandate Monday forum, the division’s line secretary Zorisha Hackett said a redesigned curriculum will improve student performance through reviewing the mission, vision and goals of the division.

She added programmes and projects will target different learners and promote inclusivity in the formal and informal education system.

At present, Hackett said, there is a draft document revising the current organisational structure and human resources.

In an interview on Thursday, Roberts told Newsday he is cautiously excited about the proposed Tobago-centric curriculum, but said stakeholders must be involved in planning and executing it.

“It is actually a very good submission. But at the end of the day, it is just a submission. My concern, however, with politicians, is that they like the glory of it, so they tend to do things themselves and then fall down.”

Roberts said creating a new Tobago-centric curriculum does not mean the standard one will be done away with.

“We do not have to interfere with the curriculum significantly. So, for example, I could use tourism to teach my math topics. I could use Tobago heritage when I am doing my creative writing.

“It is a thematic approach, where you could incorporate a lot of the Tobago issues into the content that you are already using. So it’s not like you are losing anything.”

Saying he hoped the initiative will be carefully rolled out, Roberts recalled in the past remedial teachers were retained to help tutor slow learners.

But he said a former education secretary replaced the remedial teachers with instructional coaches.

“They were used to guide teachers to better cater for everybody. But I really don’t know what was the real value of that, because I got more complaints about these instructional coaches than anything else.”

“When they get these nice ideas and they do things on their own, they don’t last. You don’t get buy-in.”

Roberts hoped the thrust towards a Tobago-centric curriculum would not suffer the same fate.

“My hope is that the business sector, parents, curriculum officers, supervisors, different segments of stakeholders, meet with everybody and get their perspective, even if you have to educate them as to how you want it to roll out in preparation for it.

“But I am cautiously excited. It is a good idea if it is considered properly, with all stakeholders involved.”

Contacted to elaborate on the initiative, Hackett said she would provide some feedback soon.