Approximately one year ago we gathered in this same
participate in an event that is now part of the history of education in
Caribbean - the launching of a new concept of teacher education.
The NISTEP programme represents a fundamental departure
tradition of teacher education that we have inherited in the
There are two main differences.
One: for the first time in our history we have a
the vast majority of our school teachers are either trained or in
Two: this process of training does not, as in the past,
the teacher from the day–to–day, practical situation of the classroom,
teacher remains a practising technician,
even while in the process of upgrading his or her professional skills.
The NISTEP programme is a direct product of a process
consultation initiated by the Revolution.
In January 1980 all teachers in the primary and junior
sector were called together to reflect critically upon the education
inherited by the Revolution and to formulate directions for change.
One need that was expressed by teachers again and
discussion after discussion, in workshop and in plenary sessions, was
burning need for increased training opportunities for teachers.
You will undoubtedly recall that at this seminar the
arrived at by teachers every day in their workshop sessions were
documented and afterwards disseminated to the schools.
You will also recall that the National Teachers’
followed by a period of ongoing discussions with teachers in the
of education in our country.
The launching of NISTEP just about nine  months
initial consultation with teachers was the fruit of that democratic
process that is not limited only to the education system, but
fact a major feature of our Revolution.
EDUCATION AND PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY
In 2˝ years of People’s Power, we have seen the growth
consultation with the people, a sacred principle of our Party.
In this period more and more of our people have become
There has been a steady growth of membership in the
organizations - women’s organizations, youth, farmers, workers,
cultural organizations, and a corresponding increase in the activity of
masses: more community work than ever, a phenomenal increase in the
teams competing in this year’s football league, a situation where a
programme like the distribution of milk is carried out not by paid
employees, but by the mass organisations, the militant participation of
people in the defence of our country, so stirringly demonstrated in the
successful manoeuvres held recently.
The steady increase in the membership of mass
increased activity of the masses, the growing consciousness of our
people - all
of this represents a broadening and deepening of popular
Some of you will have heard of, or actually seen copies
of a book
(shortly to be launched) which is an excellent documentation and
this process that is under way in Grenada.
Entitled ‘Is Freedom We
Making’ - The New Democracy in Grenada and written by two outstanding
in the NISTEP programme, it represents the type and quality of material
would like to see not just read but used in our education system.
What has this new and popular democracy made evident?
(a) It underscores the
fundamental principle of
our Party and Government, the involvement and presence of the people in
aspects of national development.
(b) The replacement of old
privilege and elitism by new forms which allow the increasing
the people in the revolutionary process.
(c) The involvement of the
calls for more, not less, education. This is why the Revolution moved
first year to reduce secondary school fees from $37.50 to $12.50, and
made Secondary Education free for all students.
this is also why the Revolution,
in the past two and a half years, has provided over 300 scholarships
youths to study at universities and technical institutions abroad.
democracy does not stand on
the same ground as ignorance, myth and superstition.
democracy - the ability to
participate, and the exercise of that right - implies the right to
and the critical mastery of knowledge.
is why one of the slogans of the
Revolution has been:
an Educated and Productive People Can be Truly Free”
This close link between education and democracy is an
profound one which can sometimes be overlooked, but which is important
as educators to come to terms with.
Can villagers participate in the improvement and
health standards in their communities if no Health Education is
Can parents contribute to and have a say in the
their children if the people themselves are illiterate?
Can teachers perform at their best, and give our
they truly deserve, without being trained for their profession?
Our emerging institutions of popular participatory
also, for these reasons institutions of popular education.
Workers’ Councils, Zonal Councils, Women’s Councils are
practice of a new democracy.
Just over the last ten  days there have been one
meeting of zonal councils, parish councils and the other blossoming
popular democracy in the seven parishes.
Worker Education classes at work places and in the
serve to deepen the collective consciousness of our people - who we
we have come from, where we are going.
Already, over 3000 of our workers, small farmers, women
are actively engaged in these classes throughout our country on a
We now have weekly classes in 65 work places and 30
and we confidently expect that these figures will double over the next
Our people as the makers of our history, not from the
self–alienating viewpoint of imperialism, but from a point of view
affirms our right to self–determination, our proud spirit of
At the level of the formal system of education, we have
efforts to realize our basic goals.
Our Party has always upheld certain fundamental
(a) EDUCATION, the right of all
- a right not a
(b) EDUCATION, a continuous and
(c) EDUCATION, a key factor in
the creation of
the New Grenadian Man and Woman, aptly summarized in the words of JOSE
To educate is to
prepare for life.
What have we done to implement these principles?
These three principles underlie all our efforts at
new education system.
The Centre for Popular Education [CPE] extends the
education to all our citizens who have never before been able to take
It institutes the principle that one is never too old
that education does not end at school–leaving.
Its basic conception is that the education of our
is an urgent task of the Revolution, if we are to apply new levels of
and technology in the productive process of national development.
The dramatic increase in university and technological
made available by the Revolution means that today in Grenada the
the poor and working people who want to pursue higher studies an do so,
cost to themselves, once they have the necessary qualifications.
In fact, it can truthfully be said that today there are
university places available than qualified nationals to fill them.
This situation is not likely to persist for a long time
establishment of free secondary education for all will in turn make it
for all university opportunities to be used.
Your own NISTEP is an excellent illustration of these
principles at work.
First, it has set aside the idea that only a small
teachers with O’ Levels deserve to be trained for the job that they are
It insists that all of
our children deserve to be taught by trained teachers.
NISTEP, like all the other in–service training
established by the PRG, is based on the principle of continuous
education - the
need to consistently upgrade one’s level of competence in order to keep
of innovations and developments in a rapidly changing environment.
As teachers you are called upon to be active
participants in the
dynamic processes at work within the Revolution.
EDUCATION SHOULD SERVE THE BROAD MASSES
Whom and what should education serve? Whom and what has
in the past?
I understand that in this first year of your training
discussed this question.
You have seen that traditionally education served an
It served, it reinforced
a whole system of privilege and exploitation.
Today, teachers are understanding that education should
be a part
of the process of developing a free and just society.
Whom should education serve?
It should serve the broad masses of working people, the
of wealth in the society.
What should education serve? It should serve the
transformation from a colonial territory to a liberated, self–reliant
EDUCATION IS PRODUCTION TOO!
In a modern education system, sisters and brothers,
education must be related to production. There are
a number of reasons why this must be so, and I would like to use this
opportunity to highlight three of them.
Firstly, education must be related to production
production is the basis of any society.
For Grenada to survive, we must produce and for Grenada
we must produce more.
Education is production too!
It is the worker in the cocoa, the nutmeg, the banana,
agro–industries, fisheries and tourism that produces the wealth of our
Without this basic production, Government would have no
with which to provide the health care, the roads, the social services
course, the education of the people.
Since the development of our economy is and must the
of all Grenadians, education also must play its part in increasing
It is only as our economy develops that our education
itself can develop.
Do you realise, comrades, that the average age of our
62 and our agricultural workers 56?
If our economy is to grow, we must reverse this
encourage more and more of our young people t work at the land, our
Secondly, education must be related to production
biggest problem facing our society at this time is the problem of
We can no longer tolerate a situation in which our
school clinging to certificates which make them feel that the only job
to them is behind some desk.
We can no longer tolerate an education system where, as
said so often before, a child can pass from kindergarten to university
never see a cocoa tree, or a banana, or a nutmeg.
Rather, our educational system must produce the skills
be absorbed in our economy - we must produce the agriculturalists, the
mechanics, the engineers, the hoteliers, the boat captains etc., that
to man our agriculture, our agro–industries, fisheries and our tourism.
Equally important, education has the function of
attitudes to work, new values associated with productive labour.
Thirdly, education must itself be productive because
a very expensive business.
Government expenditure on education increased from
Gairy to $13.4m last year.
And next year, you can just imagine what the increase
with education in the Secondary Schools being free to the students, and
the additional costs the Government will have to meet for salary
well as for NISTEP increments for our teachers.
Think too of the future when we would have increased
of students in our secondary schools from the present 40% to 100%!
Clearly, a country as poor as ours can only achieve
if the people who are receiving this education at the same time
the cost of that education - if every school is doing something to
practical skills and at the same time to earn some monies to support
And this is why we attach such tremendous importance to
work–study approach to education in our country.
This is also why we attach such importance to the
Community Education Councils, involving parents, teachers, students and
people of the community generally.
We recall with particular pride the concrete
contribution made by
communities all over Grenada in January 1980, when sixty–six  of
primary schools were repaired by volunteer labour, thus saving
over a million dollars.
Heroic as that effort was, I must tell you that an even
effort is now required, as our schools are at present in need of over
million worth of repairs.
We must now prepare ourselves to assist with the job of
renovation which needs to be done.
So, comrades, our new education must be productive.
Education and production must come together.
And that must exist not only as a policy, but in
every one of our schools.
If the school has land, produce crops! If it has a
produce sno–ices! If it has a kitchen, produce cakes!
At this point, I would particularly like to take the
to congratulate the staff and teachers and students of the CSDP
School Day Programme] for the excellent handicraft they have produced
I notice are on display and for sale at GRENCRAFT.
CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION AS THE BASIS FOR CURRICULUM
Comrades, just as the old colonial, exploitative system
oppress the people economically, using their sweat and labour for the
of brining profits and dividends to the European powers, so too the
education system warped and twisted the minds of the colonised people.
It imposed institutions upon our people that were not
but which were taken directly from London, Paris, or Madrid.
Perhaps the institutions which left the most permanent
those associated with Education.
For these institutions scarred the minds and assaulted
intelligence of our people and wore them down for centuries.
We were taught to look to Europe for the answers to all
Our own country was overlooked as we were taught to
the Atlantic Ocean to London for our political institutions, our drama
songs, our poetry and literature, in the same direction as the boats
north–eastwards full with our nutmegs, bananas and cocoa, which were
be sold in European markets for the benefit of European profits.
Economic and cultural imperialism became two sides of
So, as we in Grenada gradually build our economic
cut ourselves free from imperialist domination, we are gradually
need for a cultural independence.
We are building our own very unique democratic
institutions alongside our new economic thrust into
fisheries, agro–industries and diversified agricultural products.
Thus our EDUCATION SYSTEM and its CURRICULUM also need
We need to look to ourselves, our own land and people,
to be the
base of that body of knowledge and activity that takes place day–by–day
THE SCHOOL MUST CREATE SOLUTIONS FOR THE PROBLEMS THAT
Everything we do at school must not only reflect the
we live in, it must create solutions for
the problems which surround us and harass us, it must be a problem–solving
curriculum which zooms in on us and our world, and
no more lingers after Europe or North America.
A mathematics syllabus that gives our children the base
sciences that can exploit our natural resources, and gives us an
in building our industries, and agro–industries; a language arts
teaches our children to love and respect their own people, their
farmers, to give words and meaning to their hopes and aspirations and
to understand, discuss and criticise the many dimensions of experience
development around them; a history syllabus that seeks to analyse the
of emancipation of our working people and the struggles they have
the years, and continues to link that with the struggles of working
over the world, and a science syllabus which sets out to investigate
potential in our own land and people to establish an inventive,
technology, whether it be bio–gas, beetle traps, new fishing
possibilities of hydro–electric power from our rivers or the
development of new
strains and flavours of our jams and nectars.
We need a curriculum to practically aid our liberation,
us dependent on outside powers that will do nothing but exploit us.
Remember, comrades, that the origin of culture itself
land, the soil, the way we produce and feed ourselves, the way we
We need a school curriculum that points directly to
necessities, for if we do not start that process at school,
our new generations will grown up ignorant and in capable
of developing their greatest asset - the rich and fertile soil of our
A NEW TYPE OF TEACHER FOR THE NEW SOCIETY
When we use the slogan A
New Type of Teacher for the New Society, what do we mean?
We would need to compare the way in which the teacher
and expected to act under the colonial and neo–colonial systems, to the
opportunities for carving out a new model for the teacher in
Under the colonial system, the teacher, like the
isolated and often alienated from the society he or she so much wanted
The school, and its Eurocentric core of knowledge,
stood out like
a fortress against the people, pumping out colonial images and values.
The teacher was forced to be a propagandist for the
system by virtue of the curriculum he had to teach, and thus often
bitter and felt abused and exploited.
And although our teachers often struggled relentlessly
this role carved out for them, the colonial grip on the economy and
system of our country remained - although it often faltered through the
resistance of the people.
The teacher was seen as a keeper of knowledge, often
like a “Knowledge Bank” that is closed to all
He was though to be the expert who “knew it
all” and could learn no more, particularly from his
He became an educational overseer of his working class
one rung up the social ladder in relation to them, yet spurned and
laughed at by those more prosperous than he, those who had gone away
and “made it.”
The overall career objective was certification and
certificates were mainly to be found abroad and the higher salaries
with them, the colonised teacher was racked with a certain kind of
consciousness: the visa mentality, with his body in Grenada, but his
in Brooklyn, or London or Toronto.
And because he was seen as an intellectual
worker, he divorced his classroom work from physical work, seeing
school as a place solely for the head
and not for the hand, brainwork not
work with the hand or the arm.
And although, very ironically, at home
he might work his own garden on a daily basis, at school
he would not lift a single chair
or turn over one sod of earth, for the school was entirely separate
productive work on the land.
So how does the “new
The new teacher espouses physical work, welcomes the
production in his school.
He is the first to pick up a cutlass or a hoe.
He is no longer an individualist, a king or queen in
classroom with his kingdom of knowledge.
He is a collective planner, organising lessons with his
She is a classroom democrat, encouraging the
initiatives of her students.
For him, certification is less important then being useful and relevant to his students.
He believes strongly in discipline but not that of the
urine–soaked strap, which carries with it the memories and historical
He believes in disciplinary codes and structures that
and self–criticism, encouraging the participation of the students
the resolving of their own problems.
Thus he would give full encouragement to student
their parent body, the National Student Council - yet more democratic
of our Revolution.
The new teacher is deeply embedded in the life of his
He takes a leading part in the formation and
oranisation of the
new organs of democracy that are blooming throughout Grenada.
She works in the C.P.E., he helps organise the Workers’
Council, the Pioneers or the N.Y.O. She is active in the N.W.O. and the
He lends his skills of organization and discipline to
community, always seeking to raise the level of connection between the
and the community groups.
She is a student and scholar of her community - as your
Community Studies have shown - and seeks to develop a profound and
understanding of its proceeds and history, as well as dynamising its
The teacher systematically, through his active
community life and programmes such as the C.S.D.P., knocks down the
barriers that colonialism erected between the school and the people.
The new teacher knows that the school is not an island
community, neither must it be barricaded away from the people whom it
It must be the focus of
the community, the communal meeting house, the nursery of the local
the mass organisations, religious and community groups, or any group of
educational or cultural nature.
It must be open to all, it is a people’s resource, and
it is used the better it would be for the community.
However, because it is
the people’s property it must be loved and cared for, it must be
cleaned and treated with the respect and value that all collective
But we are saying that we view with great concern the
any principals or boards who attempt to cut off access to the schools
people or groups in their community.
In our anxiety to save the wear and tear of our school
we should not allow ourselves to fall into the trap of treating our
in the same way as some of our older folk used to treat their new hats
All of us would remember the days when our parents or
grandparents would buy a new hat or a new paid of shoes, and then take
when rain started to fall, and got a soaking as a result!
EDUCATION AND INTERNATIONALISM
Finally, comrades, let us say that although we see the
education developing our own land, our own people, our own reality
here in Grenada and turning aside from the mimickry of
London or New York, we are
also fundamentally internationalists.
Our revolution is a part of the international march of
of working people, and our schools must reflect and affirm this.
We are not only an island, we are part of a region, a
part of a
continent, a part of a world.
If there are people like ourselves, working people who
oppressed and suffering, we must know about them, we must understand
same enemy, Imperialism, is attacking them and us, and our children too
share that knowledge in our schools.
Our children are flowers of our Revolution, but they
flowers of the world.
Our children must know, for example, that just as we
threatened a few weeks ago by massive American military manoeuvres on
of Vieques, near Puerto Rico, the fishermen of Vieques, deprived of
livelihood and suffering from the same threats and tyranny as we were,
making their own protests.
One Vieques comrade fisherman, put in jail in Miami for
courage, tragically hanged himself in his cell as his suffering was so
We can understand that man’s desperation, comrades,
shared with us that same hatred of domination and military arrogance
robbed him of his land and seas and threatened to rob us of ours too.
Our children must know such things, discuss such things.
When we study geography, let us also study the human
our comrade workers and fishermen in Vieques or anywhere else in the
where our classroom concentration falls.
Or let us consider Southern Africa, for I see you have
small exhibition of photographs here in the college, explaining the
the terrifying reality of the racist apartheid system in South Africa.
Do our children know what apartheid is, how it presses
every aspect of the lives of the South African children so powerfully
in those photographs?
When they read or hear about sporting boycotts of South
or the tools of racism like Kallicharran
from our own region, serving the racists, do they understand in their
and on their pulses what that treachery means to the people of South
Do they understand what it means to the survivors of
families of the massacres of Northern Angola
or the patriots behind the wire and the slaughtered heroes of Namibia
occupied by the racist forces since 1918?
We must teach them these things, comrades, our children
right to know the life of their brothers and sisters all over the
world, in the
same way that those children in other countries have the right to know
and our history and our Revolution, as our progress here can give them the inspiration and hope that may
eventually help to make their own triumph and victory.
In the same way, comrades, we can learn from and take
from the insights and discoveries that have emerged through the
struggles of our comrades in other lands.
Remember how the JAMAL [Jamaica Movement for the
Literacy] literacy programme in Jamaica and the insights of Paulo
Brazilian, and also the Cuban experience of literacy campaigns all
to the development of our C.P.E. here?
And then remember that our successful C.P.E. programme
immediately dispatched two young Grenadian volunteers to help our
comrades with their literacy campaign there.
Internationalism is not just a word or a blank concept,
it is an
active, living, expanding energy, just like the massive growth of our
International Airport, nurtured by the internationalist comradeship of
Grenadian and Cuban workers working side–by–side.
That is the truth that must come home to our children
And let us finally consider internationalism as it
Look at your tutors: you have Trinidad, Guyana,
York, Kansas City, London - all represented here, a pooling of
expertise from many origins.
Yet another example of how Revolution and
inseparable components of one and the same process.
Comrades, I want to close by re–emphasising the idea
that Education is Production Too.
All through our history we have produced teachers, and
who have tried, despite the walls of prejudice and domination put up
them, to serve our people, and put their skills and scientific and
learning at the service of our struggling country.
These teachers have produced us, and given us the
continue the work which they achieved, and pass our strengths on to our
They were the producers too, producers of knowledge and
and it is these educators that we shall soon be recognising and
together with our most outstanding students, on the 29th of October.
LONG LIVE THE NATIONAL IN–SERVICE TEACHER EDUCATION
ALL POWER TO THE NEW TEACHERS OF GRENADA!
FORWARD TO EDUCATION FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE!
FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER!