Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 7th 2013 Contents A12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, September 7, 2013
CHARLES KONG SOO
Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim says a
recent report has shown that Sangre Grande has
the poorest, lowest annual household income, high-
est unemployment rate and the lowest levels of
education in the country.
And Government s way to combat the issues was
to invest in educational institutions in the Eastern
He was speaking at the official opening of the Col-
lege of Science, Technology and Applied Arts
(COSTAATT), at Co-operative Corner and Eastern
Main Road, Sangre Grande, on Wednesday.
Karim said: "There should be no question about
the justification in the expenditure and investment
of education and training in Sangre Grande.
"According to the T&T Human Development Atlas
2012, for the Sangre Grande region, primary and sec-
ondary school attainment are the fourth lowest in
the country at 79.9 per cent for the period 2008 to
"Secondary and higher education attainment are
the lowest for the whole of T&T at 53 per cent and
the average household with the exception of Mayaro
is on the average $23,742 per capita.
"According to the McKinsey Global Report by 2030
there will be a shortage of over 75 million in the
vocational sector and we need to open a technical
institute in this part of the world," the Minister said,
as he quoted from the report.
He said Sangre Grande was a confluence town
where many people met and it was agreed to open
the On-the-Job Training (OJT) office there in April
Karim said instead of demolishing all the structurally
sound junior secondary schools as proposed by the
previous administration, he made the recommendation
to Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh that facil-
ities such as the Rio Claro Junior Secondary School
can be used to conduct COSTAATT classes there to
bring education and training to the people.
He said these initiatives were ways to reduce crime
and move people from education to employment and
create better jobs through entrepreneurship.
Karim reiterated that the Government Assistance
for Tuition Expenses (Gate) programme will continue
but must also be directed and students be advised
to pursue programmes for which there were jobs.
He said the campus will be linked to the El Dorado
Nurses Training Academy which will be managed
by UWI and COSTAATT and will be a state-of-the-
art facility in T&T and the Caribbean.
Karim said COSTAATT was forging an alliance
with the Eastern Regional Health Authority and sug-
gested that wherever there was a hospital there should
be a teaching facility attached to it.
He said immediately after the September 9 budget
is passed, he will ask COSTAATT to begin construction
on its main campus on the 30 acres of land in Chagua-
nas as well as consider seeking lands in the South.
Karim said the goal was to create educational hubs
and cities throughout the country and Tobago will
not be left behind as an integrated campus of the
UWI is planned for the sister isle.
MP for Toco/Sangre Grande and Minister of Tertiary
Education, Science and Technology, Dr Rupert Griffith
said COSTAATT will play a great role in the training
of medical personnel for the proposed 200-bed state-
of-the-art Sangre Grande hospital and the government
recognised that investing in education also meant
investing in communities and people.
MP for Cumuto/Manzanilla Collin Partap said the
establishment of educational institutes such as
COSTAATT was a start in the development of Sangre
Grande in diverse fields such as agriculture, tourism,
business as well as education.
Also at the event were COSTAATT board member
Dale Nandlal and Sangre Grande Regional Corporation
chairman Keshwar Maharaj.
New training facility to
boost Sangre Grande
COSTAATT Clinical Instructor, Rahet Julien, (from left), shows Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim,
Nariva/ MP Colin Partap, and Science and Technology Minister Dr Rupert Griffith an interactive mannequin
known as Sim-Man in the Simulation Lab of the UTT campus at Sangre Grande on Wednesday.
PHOTO: CHARLES KONG SOO
University of the West Indies (UWI)
campus principal Clement Sankat has
called on Finance Minister Larry Howai
to allocate more money for the field
of research in the upcoming budget.
Speaking at the launch
of the campus s research
expo scheduled for first
week of October, Sankat
said he had been told
government funding for
research was being
"At a time of the
national budget, I am
appealing to our hon-
ourable Minister of
Finance to find ways and means to
increase the national budget for
research," he said.
He said the government should recon-
sider the cut in funding, in the interest
of the university and by extension the
country, as research was directly linked
"This is a little drop of funding in the
bucket," he said of the $7 million-$8
million provided annually for UWI s
research by the government.
This little funding, he said, made up
0.05 per cent of the country s Gross
Domestic Product (GDP).
"The benchmark for any decent coun-
try is one per cent."
He said even if the government moved
the decimal point one place, and made
the figure 0.5 per cent, it would be "a
significant sum of money."
He compared the level of investment
between T&T and the European Union
(EU), saying the latter pledged €80 billion
to support research for development.
He said funding in T&T should be
doubled, tripled or quadrupled,
but not cut.
"That is how we would truly
make the transformation that
we want to make," he said.
He added, however, that
money should not just be
thrown at any type of research,
but should be focused and
directed to create a fertile envi-
ronment to receive the fund-
ing, and the impact should be
measured afterward. He suggested that
Howai invest in research within "a very
"It has to be value for money," he
He said in that way, the research can
be harnessed to produce the kind of
impact that was needed.
Sankat said many people just saw
UWI as a institute of teaching and learn-
ing, and did not know about the type
of research the university did. That was
why the university had partnered with
National Gas Company (NGC) to host
a research exposition to showcase some
of its work from October 1 to 5. NGC
has provided a $500,000 grant to UWI
for the five-day exhibition, which will
be open to the public, free of charge.
Don't cut research
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