Ministry prepares to disseminate Reference History Text to school and public libraries

“Foundation Readings on the History of Trinidad and Tobago” is the newest addition to the reference texts available in school and public libraries across Trinidad and Tobago. The Ministry of Education unveiled the text in a ceremony of Tuesday 30th July, 2019 at The Auditorium, Government Campus, Port of Spain attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. the Honorable, Keith Rowley.

Despite the criticism of one local researcher, who expressed concerns about the size and weight of the book, insufficient coverage of Tobago’s history and disagreement with some of the assessments shared in the text, this view is not shared among other members of academia.

Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, a History Lecturer and Member of Editorial Committee describes the text as a “masterly collection that reflects the plurality and diversity of our culture and dynamic society. This book is a unique compilation that will certainly appeal to tertiary and secondary students and the public. The 25 chapters reflect the viewpoints and revisionist perspectives of both academics and laypersons who have enriched our knowledge of Trinidad and Tobago.” Dr. Teelucksingh is the Author of Civil Rights in America and the Caribbean, 1950s–2010s and Labour and the Decolonization Struggle in Trinidad and Tobago.

Meanwhile, Dr. Pandita Indrani Rampersad, educator, researcher, journalist and women’s activist describes the text as “a critical intervention in the decolonization of education. This is a valuable reference book that brings together our rich diversity across academic disciplines. It has the potential to become a series of specialized topics that can be published online for easy access and subsequent addition.

Regarding the concern expressed about the inconvenience of the size and weight of the text for students, the Ministry of Education wishes to clarify that this is a reference text. Therefore, the book will remain in school and public libraries. The intention was never to have the book purchased by parents or carried in students’ schoolbags.

The text was commissioned by Cabinet in 2016 and a special committee convened to develop a publication that provides perspectives from present day local historians and researchers on familiar topics traditionally told from a foreign, colonial point of view or not fully explored.

The Ministry of Education expresses its since thanks to all the contributors of this text—Foundation Readings on the History of Trinidad and Tobago—without whom we could not have achieved this milestone of Trinbagonians writing their own history.

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