MASTER’S VOICE: Save us from this arseness! Only dinosaurs would suggest shortened lunch breaks

Sherma Wilson, you don’t know me; we’ve never met. I think we traded messages briefly on Facebook a couple years ago, but I giving yuh wuk to do.

Most of your listeners are from the lower-income, depressed communities in the country; try and get some of them into Parliament nah—and other boards and State institutions. I know, plenty of them eh have no big setta education and degree and some probably cyar even form a proper sentence. But that might all be a good thing.

Photo: Protest in La Brea. (Copyright Trinidad Guardian/Rishi Ragoonath)
Photo: Protest in La Brea.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian/Rishi Ragoonath)

I serious eh, dead serious. Since I wrote about changing the political system in Parliament I serious.

Because this level of arseness getting out of hand now.

Sooo we have indiscipline in schools, fighting, delinquency, disregard for authority. The solution is to shorten recess and lunchtime?! Herd primary school students into already crowded, restrictive rooms? People went to university to come up with that bullshit reasoning? The song “Little Boxeshad to have been composed in Trinidad.

Hear nah, this eh no banana republic. I love bananas waaay too much. This is a Jurassic Park, filled with dinosaurs—apologies to the original dinosaurs.

Does the bloody clown who suggested that know any history? Does he know our schools have a colonial legacy of herding children into boxes so as to breed conformity? The same system that herded their parents into barrack yards and invisibilised rural communities, only useful for labour pools and vote banks every five years?

Is Jurassic Man aware that school violence suggests a troubled, violent domestic environment? Does he know that that stems from a home/community environment anchored in a wider society built around violent aggression and double-standards towards those in authority?

Photo: Who's your daddy?
Photo: Who’s your daddy?

Does he understanding the importance of play in instilling bonding and learning? And sports for redirecting aggressive energies? Is he aware that the removing of privileges often increases resentment? He ever heard of a place called Finland?

Anyway who’s going to tell him, a boss who shuts down any discussion of sex education in schools claiming that that is for the parents? The same parents who themselves were not taught sex-ed when they were in school? The same parents, many of whom became parents because of that instilled ignorance?

The same parents who, because of the constant, unceasing, relentless demands for increased production from a capitalist ethic are hardly ever home in the first place?

Sherma, please, get them organised. Doh worry that they mightn’t own a suit; the mere fact that we have people still wearing that costume in this tropical climate is proof alone there won’t be much independent ideas coming from them anyway.

Listen to Chalkdust’s kaiso “We Kinda Leader.” Listen to every word about how the best people to lead this country have to come from lived experiences where they know the everyday problem because of incompetence, stupidity, mismanagement and old colonial systems of administration and dispensing of justice.

Then listen to Kurt Alleyne’s kaiso “Too Bright” and understand that the problem we have in this country that leads to crime is because we have too many people with irrelevant theories in high office.

Because nobody, nobody with common sense would go on national TV and call for a shortening of lunch and recess, penning in very active students inside classrooms. Only someone exceptionally brilliant could suggest that.

And to the Jurassics who think like this, do something for me; since you not going to change your views, at least haul back up the Union Jack.

If your answer to child/teenage delinquency is to pen them up even further, or the solution for “crime” is to put more police, more army, more patrol boats, more weapons, at least do it properly.

Photo: Education Minister Anthony Garcia. (Courtesy News.Gov.TT)
Photo: Education Minister Anthony Garcia.
(Courtesy News.Gov.TT)
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About Corey Gilkes

Corey Gilkes is a self-taught history reader whose big mouth forever gets his little tail in trouble. He lives in La Romaine and is working on four book projects. He has a blog on and Vitriol can be emailed to him at

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  1. If we reduce time spent in school by 100% that should reduce school violence.

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    Ma, mad rant (Rudder) , I tell you all these PhDs and this is the best they could come up with. Leave my grandchild 1 hour lunch and recess. tIt’s important fr her overall well-being and deal with real social issues plaguing the school system. Junior Sec shift system was stopped for children dismissing early and too much time on the road. Where these people living in Nano nano land?

  3. My questions in all of this are where is the research, the data, that proves this approach would be effective? How did he arrive at this as a solution? Where is the input from other players in the system? Also how does this approach fit into a wider strategy to deal with some of the worst deficiencies in education, which are directly connected to the issue of juvenile misbehavior?

  4. The education system, like most other institutions, is structured on the values and beliefs of the society, some of which are deeply negative, backward and quite frankly have impeded the nation’s progress …. some primary schools are indeed a structural disaster, where teachers have over 30 small squirming children in a hot, unpleasant, noisy space, with a blackboard or two separating the different classes, yes, in the 21st century…..then the curriculum is ancient and irrelevant to the needs of a modern society, focused only on passing exams, and in the midat of all this, the best the head of the principals association can come up with is to shorten recess and push them out of school earlier …. nice….

  5. In Finland, children learn through play and exploration. In Singapore, play and social time are integral to learning. Yet these nation’s education systems are considered exemplary… world leading. T&T wants do go in the opposite direction. Here is a simple observation… all the T&T schools that have annual sports, bizarres, carnival jamborees and other fun things outperform schools that do not have those social events!

  6. I think these two paragraphs sum it up. I say we have a bunch of theorists not realists, and our culture is hard to box into any theory for us to come up with solutions.

  7. Most of my best memories and lifetime bonds were created in the schoolyard before school started, during recess, when I returned from home quickly after lunch and in the few minutes available after school. Interactions during class always entailed scoring one against another student or the teacher himself. I remember the joy that I felt as the recess bell rang so I could join the other students rushing out for a quick game of ‘skip’, to the mango or balata trees to see if any fruit had fallen and a drink of water from the standpipe outside. No one came back to class ready for a fight. We came back in to class ready to face whatever we had to and had our minds set on the next break. In short, we were not only allowed to but encouraged to be children. If we do not teach or encourage socialisation we will end up with all the anti social behaviour being exhibited today. This anti social behaviour is not demonstrated only in the classroom. Sadly it is being encouraged at the highest levels in our land. The Minister is clearly out of his depth.

  8. As an Early Childhood Educator, (SERVOL) I know only too well, the importance of play and socializing
    in a child’s life and education. Both before and during school.
    It is very important that children get to school at least half an hour before the start of school. This is a very crucial time for children. Playing and socializing with each other before they officially start the school day, helps children to settle down nicely in class. They are less talkative and more attentive. Having had the opportunity to let out/talk about some of the things that they may have heard or experience the day before or the very said morning on their way to school. Play also helps the teacher to better understand the child and identifies problems if any. During play, children also increase their social competence and emotional maturity. Play is vital to children’s ability to interact positively with their peers and adults. Even pretend play helps children to express themselves.
    Drama should be an integral part of the school’s curriculum. Given the opportunity to participate in these types of activities and socializing, we would definitely see a reduction of our school children engaging in these fights and on fb. They are looking for attention and acting out. We must be the ones to provide them with the right stage and channel their energies and talent in the right direction.
    Nuff Said! Lest I be accused of not being qualified to make this call with you Corey Gilkes

  9. Just to provide a clearer picture for those who may not be aware. Some of the government primary schools have 3 students to a desk that I know to sit two students. They do not have a/c. Not sure how many fans per classroom, if any in some cases. Remember the temperatures we have been having-34° and that does not include humidity. So no wonder some of these children are hot, bothered and grumpy!
    Wonder how these physical conditions fit in with indiscipline in schools?

  10. Scotty Ranking

    As someone with more than just a small stake in the standard of education, I find this jurassic thinking on the part of theses senior education professionals to be myopic at best and full -on retarded at worst! Sorten lunchtimes and send them home earlier too? To what? just get them out the school compound as fast as we can so when they cause trouble it is on the parents’ time and not ours? Steups. Big, loud, watery STEUPS!!!!!!!!!!

    Is it any wonder that our education system is where it is right now? Walking anachronisms who have failed to adapt with the times and to the needs of an evolving population feel that dipping into a time capsule for solutions will save the day? Really?

    I push my fingers into my eyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Earl Best

    Eh eh! So what you saying, Corey? Garcia is not a good MoE? But Rowley handpick Tony for that post. So what you saying about the PM?

    Allyuh Wired868 writers really doh allyuh place, nah!

    • Scotty Ranking

      Methinks that there was a powerful lobby that coerced, er, I mean, coaxed Dr Rowley into making that decision. The members of that lobby are, see, quite powerful and most often exert their influence in the one area that they feel an almost theocratic urge to exclusively control.

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