International Day of Education 2019 message from the Minister of Education

“Education is not only a right for all but it is the vehicle that transports us from where we are, to where we want to be.”

As Trinidad and Tobago joins with the global community in the recognition of International Day of Education as declared by the United Nations General Assembly, we affirm our commitment to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal number four ‘Quality Education.’ The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)outline objectives toward achieving a better and more sustainable future for all and places a timeframe of completion by the year 2030.

We in this beautiful twin island Republic have been fortunate enough to enjoy quality, equitable and accessible education at all levels. Education is state funded either fully or partially and is available to both boys and girls, men and women at the Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Technical Vocational and Skills Training Levels. Many children, youth and adults around the world are unable to access even a one quarter of what we enjoy here in Trinidad and Tobago. Globally, 262 million children and youth do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school while some 4 million children and youth refugees are out of school, their lives disrupted by conflict and loss. We are fortunate.

We however, do have some work to do and the Ministry of Education has dedicated the year ahead to ensuring that our system is as inclusive as we need it to be. One of the targets of the SDG for Education is “4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations” this, we cannot say that we have fully achieved as many of our differently abled children are without spaces.

Today as we recognise this day, we acknowledge what we have achieved and we chart a course to achieving what still needs to be done. No child, no boy, girl man or woman, ability or disability is more important than the other. Our commitment is quality, access and equity and this is the entitlement of all persons. The education vehicle takes all persons, it is the Ministry’s commitment to ensure that the vehicle is readily available to all.

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