Comrade Chairman, Comrade Minister of Education, Comrade Judith Bullen, Co-ordinator of the National In-Service Teacher Education Programme, Comrade teachers of St. George's, St. John's and St. Mark's, sisters and brothers, comrades all:
As everyone before me has said, I know I must now repeat it; today is undoubtedly a red-letter day in our country. It's a day that in more senses than one, our country is once again making history. Today is undoubtedly an important day because what it signals is the start, not in a symbolic but in a real sense, of a very important experiment. It is an experiment which for us will be the first of its kind in our country, and if the truth be said without any boasting whatsoever, the very first of its kind - having regard to its scale - in the entire English-speaking Caribbean. We're embarking therefore on a massive project, an ambitious project, a project which has its problems even now, a project which took several months of very serious sacrifice to initiate, very determined hard work by many comrades led by our remarkable, hard-working and disciplined Minister of Education, Comrade George Louison.
Today is going to see the start of a more systematic, a more scientific, a more planned approach to the question of the training of our teachers. In the past, what we were able to do in this very building where we are sitting and standing right now, was train, over a period of two years, something like fifty teachers. Now out of that figure, as we know, there was a large leakage factor of teachers who received the training, but nonetheless caught the first flight they could out of our beloved country, heading north to the colder climates.
NEW VALUES, NEW ATTITUDES, NEW HABITS
What we hope to start today is a programme that will reverse that trend in more ways than one. A programme that, because our country is poor, will have meaning to the further material development and the better spending of our limited resources. A programme that instead of aiming to teach or train teachers on the basis of only fifty every two years, now aims to train that this land is ours, that we alone can build it, that if we think in terms of catching a plane or boat out of it then the country will never be developed. Because in the final analysis only we can build it, and we certainly would hope that over the three years because of some new inputs into this programme, because of the greater emphasis now on instilling new values, new attitudes, new habits, new approaches to the question of Education, of integrating the theoretical aspects of Education with the practical aspects, of ensuring that the people receiving this training are in fact being prepared for the real world that they are going to have to live in, then our teachers will be able to pass on to their students an appreciation of understanding that Education is not primarily about certification. There are many certificated fools in the world. Education is really much, much more about preparing us for life and preparing us for the real world.
That is the point of receiving an education, and the sooner we grasp that, the quicker we will be able to develop an approach that says that work and study are part and parcel of the same dynamic, the same process, the same dialectic. We shall then aim in a serious way to make each one of us become worker and student from day one of our existence until the day we die. That is what life must be like in a poor, developing country such as ours. We really cannot afford the luxury of compartmentalising people into these separate categories, and then pulling them off the shelf, rubbing the dust off them and saying: `Right! You're a graduate now, you're no longer a student, you're a worker. When you're working, you stop reading.' Or while you're a student, your parents and family are so concerned that you fill up your head with all of this 'Education', that even during the long Summer vacation some parents are afraid to let their nice children go outside lest they stomp their toe, and stomping their toe their head might get affected! Afraid to let them take a job, afraid to let them go by the land and pick up a cutlass, afraid to let them go by a mechanic's shop and learn something about the repairing of vehicles, afraid to let them go down by the International Airport project site to see what is happening down there. That is the way we have been indoctrinated, that is the way we have been brain-washed and socialised - not just for the last forty years, but for centuries.
EDUCATION FOR THE ELITE - A COLONIAL LEGACY
The history of our country, as with the history of Latin America and all Third World countries generally, has been a history that has said that Education is for the elite, for a tiny few who get certificates and then use those certificates to lord it over the others below them. That has been the historic point of Education. That was the way our history was developed consciously by the British colonial masters. That is why after three hundred and fifty years of British colonialism we only have one secondary school - the Grenada Boys' Secondary School on top of the hill. They never even thought of building a second secondary school because they didn't want the masses to have an education. The masses were supposed to remain uneducated, ignorant, backward, superstitious, diseased and poor. That was colonialism's plan. And in that way they could continue to exploit us forever, to pull out our raw materials from our land and encourage us always to look to the metropole, to look outside of our own country, our own economy and look only to their country to find jobs for their people, to use our surplus to build their ports and their industries while we got the crumbs.
But of course, with the coming of the Revolution all that has come to an end. Now we can truthfully say in our country that we have begun the process - it will be a long, hard one - but we have taken the first steps of reclaiming our land, reclaiming our resources, reclaiming our people, and we are now beginning the historic task of ensuring that all of our people receive all the education that they are willing to receive. That is one of the most important meanings of the Grenada Revolution.
PROBLEMS FOR THE NEW PROGRAMMES
So that is another reason why I am saying that this is a historic day for us. For after all, when you really sit down and think about it seriously in terms of all the massive problems - many of them real, genuine problems that did need solving - problems, for example, associated with what we are going to do with all of the children in the schools on the days when we take 259 teachers from these four parishes and bring them to St. George's. Or what are we going to do with the children of the other section of the island when we take their 190 teachers from St. Andrew's and St. Patrick's and bring them to the teaching centre in Grenville? Or, of course, the same problem in Carriacou. These are real problems, nobody can deny that. When teachers were raising difficulties centred around the question of what was being described as `overwork' - how am I going to be able to do all of this extra amount of work? When other teachers were raising the problem of the bond and trying to put this argument in the context of our consensus and voluntary and democratic spirit - in other words, `if I don't want to learn how to teach properly, nobody has a right to force me, and if on top of forcing me how to teach properly you want to make me sign a bond, that is slavery!' Remember all the arguments that were coming out? Other arguments centred around the question of vacation time. Teachers were saying, `how am I going to lose X number of weeks in my vacation to take part in this course, especially if I don't see the value of it and I don't want to take part in it.'
All of these objections were coming forward comrades, as you know. And one person throughout that entire period that I know of, who kept saying that these objections were ones you must expect, that these objections in one sense were only natural, that to a great extent they were going to be fuelled by the rumour-mongerers, by the counter-revolutionaries, by those who do not want to see progress, by those who want to create confusion and division - so therefore if we hold dialogue with the teachers, if we continue to reason and to rap with them, to ground with them and show them the objective value of this programme, then in fact all of them are going to come around. And I must say that the early results of the survey which has been done over the last two days have shown conclusively that the vast, vast majority of our teachers are expressing their fullest support for the programme and are willing to go forward to make it into a massive success. That shows the calibre of teachers that we have in Grenada.
Comrades, whatever we do there'll be problems. The Centre for Popular Education, as you know, was a programme where we had tremendous early problems. It's a programme which still has problems, but which has gone forward and is now undoubtedly the most publicly-known programme that the Revolution is involved in, and to a great extent it is the most successful. So we have come from a tradition where we can truthfully say that when we recognise problems and difficulties and obstacles, without allowing ourselves to sink into idealistic optimism, nonetheless we can realistically face our problems, engage in dialogue with our people and make serious attempts to bring them into participation in these programmes, involve them at every step, mobilise them at every step, organise them at every step and let them come up with their own creative ideas as to how to solve the problems. In that way we are confident that any programme that the Revolution embarks upon, any realistic programme, can and will succeed. That has been the secret so far, and once again that approach has been proved correct in relation to this particular programme.
THE REAL `FIRSTS'
Our country has always been a country of firsts - and I'm not speaking about the kind of firsts in the way in which the old dictator used to use the term. No, I'm not talking about first in building roundabouts, I'm not talking about first in planting flowers, I'm not talking about first in riding U.F.O. and I'm not talking about first in winning Miss World! What I am talking about is firsts in the real sense, in a sense that brings real value to our country and our people. That is why it was Fedon, a Grenadian, who led the insurrection in 1795, that is why Marryshow was called the Father of Federation, that is why Butler was the most important Caribbean trade unionist of this century, that is why Mighty Sparrow is the World's greatest calypsonian, that is why we in Grenada led the first revolution in the English-speaking Caribbean! So, comrades, when we look at our history we can truthfully see ourselves as the descendants of Fedon, Butler and Marryshow. We can recognise what we were able to do in the past, and so no In-Service Teacher Education Programme can ever be too big a task for this Revolution. We are going to make it move forward more and more, we are going to make it succeed in a massive way.
Over the last nineteen months there has been progress in Education in a number of different areas. If you look at it carefully you will see that from Pre-school right up to University and thereafter in the area of Adult Education, there have been tremendous advances. Advances in the area of improvements in physical facilities, in greatly increased educational opportunities, advances in the sense that more and more of our people coming from all different walks of life and involved in all different sectors have access to more and more training possibilities, advances in the serious work that has been started on a new curriculum - and finally and most significantly, advances because we are now instilling into our people and our teachers this new approach, this new sense of values and attitudes to the question of Education. These are fundamental areas of progress. Some might appear intangible, all nonetheless are of great importance.
ADVANCES IN PRIMARY EDUCATION
In Early Childhood, for example, we have seen that over the last nineteen months more teachers have been trained to work full-time in that area of the 3-5 year bracket and the Infants category. A lot of work has been done, not just among the teachers but also in the improvement of supervision and facilities. This is one of the areas that we regard as being extremely important. In the overall area of Primary Education we have also made many advances. From the time that the Curriculum Development Unit was established last October, a whole number of programmes were worked out which had an immediate impact on our Primary School syllabus. We can see that in terms of the workshops and discussions which were held, the new reading materials that are being developed and most of all, once again in terms of this dialogue which has been taking place between the officials at the Ministry of Education and yourselves, the primary school teachers. A large part of that dialogue, on a mass scale, took place in January when the schools were closed down for two weeks for that historic National Teachers' Seminar.
Most fundamentally, it has been the day-to-day and week-to-week work done by the comrades from the Ministry of Education, who have been going out there on a regular basis and rapping with you at your schools and in different centres, trying to see if with you, this new approach to Education can be developed. If change is seen as coming from above it will never really succeed. But if we look at the question of trying to get change going by approaching and involving the people - particularly those who are involved in the specific area where change is being sought - then there is a great chance of success. You are the ones who stand up in the classroom, you are the ones who teach. Therefore your ideas on teaching must be fundamentally important, your ideas on how you can create new approaches to what you are doing, your ideas on how you can improve your methods of communication with your students must be important, your ideas on how you can simplify and elucidate the content of your teaching tasks. That is why the programme has stressed from the beginning that you are involved, that you understand, that you approve, that you help to develop, to shape and to mould the programme. We think that this is essential to whatever success we are going to continue to have.
ADVANCES IN SECONDARY EDUCATION
In the area of Secondary Education, comrades, there again the Revolution has made a number of important steps forward. The question of the reduction of school fees was basic to the poor working masses of our country. If you can imagine the situation of the average agricultural worker. Still today these brothers and sisters form the largest sector of our people, our working class, notwithstanding the fact that over the last twenty years it has been cut by half. The average sister working as an agricultural worker can expect to take home fifty dollars a fortnight, which is a hundred dollars a month. When you have worked out how much it costs to eat, how much it costs to send your child to school, how much it costs for recreation or to use the transport system that we have, then obviously, fifty dollars a fortnight cannot go very far. So by reducing secondary school fees from thirty-seven fifty a term down to twelve fifty has made a real difference, and made it a lot easier for those sisters and brothers constituting the poorest of the poor in our country to ensure that their children can either continue to go to school or have access for the first time to secondary education.
The number of scholarships from primary to secondary school has also substantially increased. That is going to mean that more and more children now have the opportunity of attending secondary school and doing so free of cost. But perhaps even more important than that is with the opening of the Bernadette Dailey Secondary School in Happy Hill, more places are available for children at secondary level - and this is, of course, only the second secondary school to have been opened by any government in Grenada over four hundred years! That is the reality. The British gave us one.
DEVELOPMENTS IN F.E. AND THE PRODUCTIVE SECTORS
The Institute of Further Education, which now has over 250 students, has the biggest ever number of students in our country, at one time, studying for `A' levels. The reasons for that are obvious. With more and more opportunities for going abroad to study on a university scholarship, it means that more and more children who have previously dropped out of school have now found it necessary and valuable to go back to school and study again. The student-teacher ratio has also improved dramatically, moving from 45-1 under the Gairy days to 1-31 at the present. This means that the problem of overcrowding in our schools is gradually being relieved. This also means that the approach generally that our students and teachers have had to the question of Education should also improve. In the past, many students going to school would have seen a classroom with such numbers as being like a nursery, and a teacher might well have been forgiven if instead of teaching, she or he felt as if they were child-minding - because with that number of children in a class and nobody being able to hear what the next one is saying, that is not seriously a school.
In the productive sector we have also started training programmes for sisters and brothers involved in different aspects of the economy. In Agriculture, we have re-opened the Mirabeau Farm School and last year there were fifty graduates. Likewise, in the various Agro-Industrial plants which are being established right now, training programmes for the workers have been progressing and are continuing. We now have in our country a fishing school, where our fishermen will now have the opportunity of learning more modern techniques of fishing. We have opened a Co-operative Training School, where the Youth, whom we are encouraging to go back to the land, will receive education and training in co-operative principles and practices so that the lands that they will be working can be run along those lines. We have also opened a hotel training school, so that the workers of that important sector of the economy will be receiving training for the first time in the history of our country. These are four or five key areas in the productive sector in which we have been trying to develop training programmes.
In the In-Service area a number of other programmes have also been developed. Apart from this teacher training programme there is an ongoing in-service programme for nurses. Only two days ago I opened the annual week of activities sponsored by the Grenada Nurses Association, and while I was up there with the nurses and talking to the sisters, a number of them were saying that they had been waiting for something like eight years after they had qualified, for a midwifery course. Those courses had been closed down under the dictatorship, but now again they are running and the nurses were overjoyed about that. Our Police also are engaged in an in-service training programme. Tomorrow at Gouyave, the first police to have been trained under this programme will have their `passing out' graduation ceremony. Between twenty-five and thirty police will be graduating, and several more have gone on extended courses overseas to places like Guyana and Panama.
The public service workers in our country have also begun an in-service programme, as yet mainly in the area of top and middle management, but an over all programme to be started early next year will aim to bring all civil servants in our country into this programme. In the State apparatus, comrades from the Information Department, External Affairs, Statistics, Planning, in the Computer Centre and several other sectors are involved in different levels of training, some on an in-service basis and some abroad in countries which have the particular skills which we do not now have.
The militia has a continuous in-service course. There is a permanent militia school which runs a programme every two months. So my point is that both inside and outside the productive sector there are more and more opportunities for training developing, so that all of our people will have the opportunity of doing whatever they have chosen as their career to the best of their ability. We believe this is central to the success of the Revolution, that it is going to be impossible to push the country forward and build a national economy, if our people are not trained, if our people are not given skills and shown what are the best and most scientific ways of doing whatever they are involved in.
At the tertiary level, the Government has been able to pay off most of Gairy's debts to the University of the West Indies, and therefore Grenadians are once again, after several years, able to go back to the U.W.I. at the subsidised rate. So that has made a lot of difference to our university students and those engaged in trying to enter university for a degree course. We have also been able to obtain many new university scholarships. Last year one hundred and nine of our young people were able to go abroad and study, and there are more this year. The main problem that we are discovering now is that we have moved to the stage where we have more university scholarship offers than we have qualified students who can fill the places. So that is another reason why we must ensure that more and more of our children have a sound base at primary level, so that by the time they reach secondary level they will be able to more easily absorb the material they will be taught. In turn that will make it easier for them to pass their `O' level and `A' level exams and get university scholarships to go abroad.
THE CENTRE FOR POPULAR EDUCATION
Of course, the most fundamental area in our Education sector which we have undertaken is our C.P.E. programme, which is really an adult education programme. It is aimed in this first phase, first and foremost, at reaching those people who are altogether unable to read and write. Acquiring these skills is essential, not only for personal and individual development, but also because of its significance to the development of our economy. If we are going to modernise our economy and bring science and technology to bear on greater production, if we are going to be searching for more appropriate and creative technology to deal with our situation, we do need a skilled and educated workforce. At a minimum we certainly need a workforce that can read and write. It is also going to have tremendous relevance to the success of building a deeper and greater sense of national unity, and raising the national consciousness of our people.
If all our people are able at least at a minimum level to read and write, it will be much easier for them not to be misled, and to understand more and more of what is happening in their country, in their region and in the world. It will be so much easier for them to understand this word we use so often, that we call Imperialism. It will be much easier for them to understand what we mean when we talk of destabilization, what we mean when we say that the Revolution is for the people, and that the people are the Revolution. It will be much easier for them to understand why the Revolution came in the first place and where we are trying to go. Therefore the C.P.E. programme is certainly the most fundamental part of the overall drive we are making in the area of Education.
It will not stop once we have taught all our people how to read and write; it will continue. We see it as not just a centre for Popular Education but a Centre for Permanent Education. After the phase of basic literacy we shall move on to the phase of Popular Education, of continually raising consciousness and passing on more and more knowledge of mankind to more and more of our people. For as I said at the beginning, our approach to Education is that it is a process which begins from the time you are born, and ends the day you die. It cannot be compartmentalised into two or three or ten or twenty years of your life, It has to be an ongoing process, and if that is so, a Centre for Popular Education is an institution that has to remain forever as a permanent necessity.
There have also been important strides forward made in raising the cultural awareness of our people, as well as increasing the formal educational opportunities for our people. In the formal area, many more film shows have been shown around our country, panel discussions, seminars, rallies, Health Workshops - all these have a basic educational content. In Sport too and Physical Education, our co-ordinator has been doing an excellent job in building a community-based support for Sport, and the National Youth Organisation is developing a programme aimed at creating new areas for Sport. They are going around the country now, identifying present activities with a view to improving them, and seeing what new areas and complexes are required for the future. They are obtaining the necessary materials from the Ministry of Public Works, and mobilising the youth in the particular villages to help create the facilities themselves.
No one could have failed to notice the great outburst of creative and artistic activity that has happened in Grenada over the last nineteen months. Think of the number of new skits and plays you have watched. Think of the development of the Workers' Enlightenment Theatre Group, the Theatre Group of the National Youth Organisation, the dozens of groups putting on plays that have been springing up all around the country. At the C.P.E. emulation monthly sessions you would have been impressed by the quality, content and enthusiasm of the young comrades from all over the country, coming forward to stage their productions. Think of the number of poems that have been written and published - they are all a part of this same upsurge of creativity since the Revolution.
As a part of culture - and I put it here deliberately - we have seen the development of new habits, new attitudes and values in our people, particularly among our women. That is one of our healthiest developments. The ending of sexual discrimination and victimisation of our women with regard to jobs has meant that women have been able to integrate much more easily into the society. The provision of equal pay for equal work and its introduction into government estates and farms has created a certain climate and basis for ending the discrimination against women and removing the artificial distinction that has separated our men from our women.
Yesterday I had a telephone call from our comrade sisters, led by Sister Phyllis Coard, from the Dominican Republic, where they are attending an international women's conference of the I.C.A.W., the main women's organisation of the Organisation of American States. There are twenty- six countries represented at that conference and five had to be elected to an Executive Committee. Our women made a further stride forward yesterday morning, when Grenada was elected.
Related to this question of culture, comrades, are our eating habits. People sometimes do not see this as being a question of culture, but of course it is. This whole question of what we eat: you know, some of us are waiting for Christmas because we want to buy an apple! Or a turkey! And then people like my friend in the front row, Brother L.A. Purcell, might make a few more dollars selling turkey and ham! But this whole question of developing a new approach to what we ourselves produce is of the greatest importance: to think local, buy local, to eat local.
The fact of the matter is that to some extent we are producing our own food now. Of course, we have a long, long way to go, but if you come out of the cutlass technology of the seventeenth century, you can't rush into the space-age technology of the twentieth century in a night. But in some areas progress has been made. We now have our own nectars, our own jams, jellies, juices and mango chutney. These things are being processed right here. We now have our own saltfish and smoked herring. A lot of people used to say, `We can't produce that!' But we can and are producing these things, and we have the responsibility as part of this overall educational process to begin to see what we produce as what we should buy. And let me tell those who haven't tried it yet, that the saltfish being produced in Grenada by the Ministry of Fisheries is a lot better than the saltfish we used to import - you want to try it, it has a lot of juice in it.
KNOWLEDGE IN THE SERVICE OF PRODUCTION
As a part of this educational process, I want to mention science and technology. If we are going to go forward and solve problems of diseases or pests that affect our crops, if we are going to find ways of growing more without using chemicals - because they cost a lot of money, if we are going to get more yield out of every acre without at the same time putting more acreage under cultivation to produce the same old amount, then all of these things are going to require that we bring Science and Technology to bear on what we do. We need to find the appropriate technology that we can use and adapt for every situation. That is an important task, and that is one of the prime reasons for this work/study approach to the question of Education.
For in using this approach you are showing your students what the real world in Grenada looks like, and not just what the classroom walls look like. Where they can really go out now and see what the agricultural workers are doing, when they can come down and see what the agro-industrial plant looks like and how it works, visit the saltfish plant, see how the fishing school is operating and how the comrade fishermen are catching their fish and what hooks they use to catch the different fish. Over the past few weeks, for example, we haven't been able to catch many sharks, although we have them in abundance out there. The reason - we didn't have the correct hooks, we only got a shipment of them this week. We need to have our young sisters and brothers of the future understanding these things.
For apart from knowing how to read, write and understand History, they need to know what a nutmeg tree looks like, they need to know something about crop fertilisation, about grafting plants, about the kind of yield you can expect from an acre of nutmeg or cocoa, or bananas and sugar cane - and what the possibilities are for increasing on that yield. Then for the first time they would be able to address their minds, even at their young age, to how they can use the little learning they are getting to further develop their country, and how they can find new, scientific, technological and creative ways of lifting production without involving a lot of dollars.
CUTLASS-TECHNOLOGY AND WORKER OF THE YEAR
Look at the Cuban comrades helping to build our airport, for example. The main base for the explosives they are using right now is the bagasse [waste product] from the sugar cane. This means a big saving in fuel so that the cost of blasting all the earth at the airport site is perhaps half the price of the explosives we would otherwise have to buy from Canada, America or Britain. That is a concrete example of the Cubans, in a situation of difficulty because of their poor economy, applying their creative minds and coming up with a scientific and cost-reducing answer.
Let me give you an even better example. There's a brother living in St. David's who works on a government estate. He's in his fifties, he can't read or write, he's a poor, agricultural worker. He's been working on that same estate for over fifteen years. It's a cocoa-producing estate of 127 acres. Now, you know our cocoa is suffering from a lot of diseases and pests. The main pests are beetles. So this man kept walking around his estate over the years, trying to find some way in which he could eradicate the beetle without having to spend all this money on expensive chemicals. So what this poor 'uneducated' comrade did was to follow the beetle from place to place to see what other trees it like to lie down upon. He found that apart from the cocoa tree, the beetle liked the African breadfruit. So the brother chopped down a few branches of an African breadfruit tree and he made a trap. and covered it with nine little sticks from one of the branches. He put three at the bottom, three across and three more at the top. Then he put these traps under different cocoa trees all over the estate. He had forty or fifty traps scattered all around the 127 acres, and every day after that he would walk around the traps below the cocoa trees to see if any beetles had settled on them. Then when he discovered them, he would pull them out and put them into a bottle. In one day he caught 205 beetles, and no amount of chemicals had ever done that! Now, if you are looking for a man who should not only be worker of the year but man of the year in Grenada, it should be this man for what he has done. That is what I mean by creatively applying Science and Technology. The only technology that this brother - his name is Brother Coonyahr - knew was cutlass technology. Yet here he is discovering in this creative way a solution to a problem that saves the country masses of money. So we don't have to use these chemicals now - and a lot of farmers in the private sector are also seeking the services of Brother Coonyahr because they want his trap. He's become a kind of hero! That is the kind of spirit we have to inject and instill into our young ones. That is the kind of enthusiasm and searching, the new approach and attitude we have to get across. That is what is going to build this country, and that is what this new educational thrust is going to be all about.
Comrades, the internationalism in our country has also greatly developed, and that too we see as a crucial part of the educational process. That too, we believe, cannot be separated from what we do in the classroom, whether it is what we teach or what we learn. We are living in a world, we are living in a region - the Caribbean. We are not cut off, we are a part of this region and a part of this world. Therefore whatever happens in any part of this region or this world must be of concern to us. And if there are other people in other parts of this region or this world that are seeing trouble or are being oppressed or are having to put up with injustice, then it is our right as a free and revolutionary people to express our firmest support and solidarity with them and give them our fullest material backing. That is our duty and responsibility. That is why we have to develop this internationalist approach. That is why two of our comrades are right now in Nicaragua, helping the Nicaraguans with their literacy programme, two young Grenadians [Ceford Robertson and John Wilson] carrying out their internationalist assignment. That is something we should justly be very proud of.
THE THREAT OF IMPERIALISM
How much time, for example, have we spent over the last week thinking about what is happening in Jamaica today? Elections going on. Ten dead, twenty dead, thirty dead, forty dead. Papers and radio been talking about it. Every night it is clearer and clearer that Imperialism does not respect the right of the people of Jamaica to choose their own government. Every night it is clearer and clearer that Imperialism is trying to seek to dictate to the people of Jamaica how they must build their country and who they must use as their leader. Every night Imperialism is giving us the great lesson of recent times over and over again: that they have no respect for any people, that they don't care what amount of violence and murder and killings they have to do to get their way. They don't care if they are on an electoral path or a non-electoral path.
You know they always telling us in Grenada, `Call election!' America always shouting, `Call election!' They take thirteen years after their revolution in America to call election, yet they want us to call ours in thirteen days! The same America likes to say: `If you had elections, there'd be no bombs in Queen's Park.' I want to know how they explain what happening in Jamaica? Election been called, and every demand Seaga makes on an electoral level, he gets. Elections holding, but that 'ent stopping Imperialism, they 'ent waiting for the election result. They trying to kill Manley even before the elections. That is what these hypocrites mean when they talk of `elections'.
But there are no elections in Chile, or Paraguay or El Salvador! No elections in South Africa, no elections in Namibia! You never hear about Imperialism talking about `hold elections there' when it is their allies and their friends! Are we able to talk about that to our students in the classroom? What when they hear about elections in Jamaica and they hear `forty dead'? Can we tell them about that? Can we understand about that? Can we develop that consciousness if we ourselves do not have an internationalist outlook?
THE NEED FOR INTERNATIONALISM
We have to think about all these things comrades. This is our region, this is our land, and nobody has the right to tell us what to do in our region and our land. That is why we keep saying that the days of interventionism, of hegemonism, of invasionism, of backyardism - all of them days gone. And we have to be able to explain that to the students in front of us when they ask us. That is why all this internationalist activity, all of this concentration on the radio, in the newspaper, in all these panel discussions and rallies - the rallies we've had for El Salvador, Zimbabwe, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Vietnam, Chile, for the Polisario Front. Our masses don't know nothing about El Salvador or the Polisario Front, but the fact of the matter is that what they don't know they must get to know. It is our duty and responsibility as revolutionaries to understand what is happening in the world and to back those processes of liberation. We can only do that if we raise our internationalist consciousness.
That is why, comrades, we have had so many visits and conferences in our country over the last nineteen months. Have you thought about that? Michael Manley, the very man fighting Seaga and them today, he was here for the Festival of the Revolution in March. Ortega, the number one leader in the Nicaraguan Revolution, he was here for March too. [Kenneth] Kaunda [President of Zambia] was here last year. We've had visits from people like C.L.R. James, Paolo Freire, George Lamming - and Cheddi Jagan also comes from time to time. John Stockwell, the ex-C.I.A. man who wrote his book In Search of Enemies, detailing his experiences in Angola and how the C.I.A. were trying to overthrow the Angolan Revolution. All of these visits are for good reasons, so our people can have their consciousnesses raised and be informed about what is happening in the world.
CONFERENCES AND SEMINARS
That's also why we have had so many conferences here: International Union of Students, conferences on Agriculture, Agro-economics, on Tourism and Planning. Next week we are starting two more such conferences, both very important. One is organised by the Energy Institute of the region, and it will consist of a month of workshops in our country - and after that we're going to have two Bio-gas plants. And Bio-gas can supply all the cooking gas we need over a small area. The other conference is sponsored by an O.A.S. agricultural organisation and is on fruit tree production, one of the key areas of our agricultural diversification over the years to come. As well as cocoa, bananas and nutmeg we shall be going further into the cultivation of tropical and exotic fruits.
Already mango is becoming more and more of a hit from the point of view of the farmers. Mango in the old days, remember? You took one bite and threw away three-quarter? You'd catch one and throw away the next - mango was a joke! Now mango is being sold and mango farmers are getting a mango bonus! Nutmeg bonus this year will hardly be more than fifty cents, cocoa bonus will hardly be more than a dollar and mango bonus might be the same dollar a pound. Imagine that! The mango we used to throw away and kick and laugh at! So all of these conferences and seminars have a great value to our country. We need to involve ourselves as teachers, and involve our students in understanding these things and seeing their importance.
THE VISA MENTALITY
So comrades, these are some of the points I wanted to make to you on this very important day. I am sure that as teachers of our country who are dedicated, patriotic, democratic and progressive, you understand the nature of the responsibility you have to shape the minds of our country's future. We have nearly forty thousand children in school here. That is a big, big figure and a big, big responsibility for you. So whether they learn what I had to learn in primary school - do you remember those days? `Cow jump over the moon'? `Hickory, Dickory dock'? And all the rest of it. Whether they learn something more sensible, and how to integrate what they are picking up in the book with the real world, that is to a great extent going to depend on you.
Whether they learn that what they are really doing in school is preparing themselves for making a contribution that they will later put at the service of their people and use unselfishly the skills they acquire, not seeing Education as something only for the benefit of an elite, something to make themselves into millionaires, something to use to try to get themselves a visa for America - that too is your responsibility. The Visa Mentality, the Transient Mentality, all of that we have to get out of our people. For if all of us run, nobody going to be left to build the country. Every time we run, what we are doing is helping Imperialism to get richer and stronger.
To get all of these things across to your students, comrades, will be your job. I know you definitely understand the importance of getting the best possible training for getting that message across. The technical things you have to teach in Mathematics, Language Arts or whatever else you have to communicate, all of these require from you constant study, constant dedication, discipline, sacrifice and work. Most people don't like work, except to look at it. Everybody like to look at work! But the fact of the matter is, if we don't work we can't build the country. If we don't make the sacrifices this year, the problems will still be with us next year. The more we give ourselves skills and training this year, the less we will have to do three years from now. That is what is real, and the reason why we must be willing to make sacrifices and work harder this year.
Comrades, I'd like to compliment you on the seriousness in which you are approaching this task. I would like to congratulate and compliment the Co-ordinator of the programme, Sister Judith Bullen, and the hardworking, very qualified and experienced teachers who are going to be the mainstay of this programme. I want you to observe too yet another aspect of what we mean by internationalism. When you look at these tutors you're not only seeing Grenadians. You're seeing an American, an Englishman, a Trinidadian, you're seeing people from around the world and from our region. For when we don't have the skills here, but there are people abroad who have the correct outlook and are willing to come to our country to help to make a contribution to build our country and our Revolution, we must welcome them with warm, open arms and thank them for the contribution they are making.
May I also on your behalf, comrades, end by once again formally expressing the greatest appreciation of the Revolution to the outstanding work that Comrade George Louison has been doing in the Ministry of Education. I'm sure you recognise that work, and the fact that were it not for this comrade a lot of these programmes, whether it's the C.P.E., the In-service Teacher Training or the Curriculum Development Unit, would either have not gotten off the ground or would be much further back in the planning process. Although I know he doesn't like compliments and praise, therefore I don't want to overdo it, I think it is necessary that we make the point of the tremendous work that the comrade has been doing.
DOCUMENT HISTORY AS HISTORY IS BEING MADE
Finally comrades, I want to make one small suggestion. I want to suggest that you all think seriously about putting aside materials that are being developed as a part of this programme. Things like the questionnaires that have been circulated and all materials in all areas of work, whatever they are. Then use those materials to create a mini-museum that will be a permanent record of this important programme you are starting today. The comrades organising the C.P.E., for example, are now gathering the necessary materials for the same kind of archive. In many countries of the world, in all kinds of programmes - some far, far less important than this one you are embarking upon, people have kept permanent records.
Then that would not only be a permanent attraction for interested people coming to our country, but also the young teachers of the future will be able to see what happened at this particular stage of our country's educational development, to see who were the main participants, how it took place, what the problems were, the kind of materials that were used - they would have all the information at their disposal. That is yet another crucial aspect of the work we have to be engaged in more and more in the future: the permanent documentation of the History of our country as that History is being made.
So comrades, may I wish you a very successful three years of hard work and study, and at the end of that time I have no doubt that the vast majority of you, if not all, will receive your certificate. Equally, I have no doubt, and I hope, that the vast majority of you will still be in our country, and will not use the excuse of the certificate as your stepping stone and ladder to get a visa to go to somebody else's country. This country is ours, we have to build it.
FORWARD TO THE TEACHERS OF GRENADA!
FORWARD TO THE NATIONAL IN-SERVICE TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMME!
LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTION!
FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER!