Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 12th 2014 Contents A29
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300: Rise of an Empire has emulated its
North American success with a number
one debut on the UK film chart.
The sequel to the 2006 epic 300---which
stars Eva Green---took £2.7m over the
weekend, according to early estimates.
The historical drama knocked The Lego
Movie off the top of the chart, where it
had held firm for three weeks.
Set in ancient Greece, the 300 sequel
depicts a sea battle between Greeks and
Persians. The film briefly features 300 star
Gerard Butler as King Leonidas.
In the US and Canada, the film also
opened at number one over the weekend,
with takings of $45.1m (£27m).
The second highest new entry was Wes
Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel at
three, which took £1.5m.
The only other new entry in the top ten
was animated film Escape from Planet
Earth, entering the chart at seven.
The family adventure about an alien
astronaut who is captured on Earth,
features the voices of Brendan Fraser,
Jessica Alba and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Post-Oscars activity was slow, with best
picture winner 12 Years A Slave only
enjoying a slight boost in its ninth
weekend of release to gross £368,857,
placing itself at number nine. (BBC)
300 sequel storms UK box office
Children are not being loved, and
this is one of the major contributors
to low levels of literacy in T&T.
Educational psychologist and social worker
Dr Dorrell Philip spoke with the Guardian
at her Woodbrook office during an investi-
gation into statistics on national literacy.
The last two were done 20 years ago by the
Adult Literacy and Tutors Association (ALTA)
and the University of the West Indies in 1994
and 1995, respectively.
They revealed that one in four people in
T&T are unable to cope with everyday reading
and writing. The surveys said 12.6 per cent
of the population were unable to read or write
while 8.7 per cent were functionally literate,
meaning they could read and write but so
little, that it hinders their everyday activities.
The intermediate literacy level stood at 32.7
per cent, and described those who could cope
with some everyday reading and writing but
could not understand for example, some parts
of the newspaper or simple directions on a
Twenty years later, experts in this investi-
gation tell the T&T Guardian that it doesn t
appear to be improving.
"People may call it airy-fairy business but
children are not receiving love at home and
at school and while people become offended
or dismissive when you say it, when you test
these children, as I have been doing over the
years, the results confirm it," Philip told the
She said children are under stress both at
home and at school now more than ever and
this gets in the way of their learning.
"Whether its from violence at home, or
bullying at schools. You have the added issue
of the teachers themselves," she added, saying
the students often suffer attacks from teachers
who do not possess the skills to recognise a
child may have a learning disability.
"I have a client whose child recorded a
teacher dismissively telling those children who
are underperforming that they are giving them
the information, and it s up to them if they
want to learn it," Philip said.
"Which doesn t help the child to learn any-
thing: the child then blames him or herself
and begins to close up, looking inward to guilt
and shame, wondering what is wrong with
She said it s not just that there s a shift in
the behaviour of teachers that does not nurture
children; there has also been a shift in the
way children are being raised by their parents.
This, Philip said, further compounds learning
challenges. "What is happening now is that
children are being cared for. We are not mind-
ing our children as we used to, we re satisfying
their basic needs and they are told to be quiet
and be grateful for what they are given."
Abuse, Philip said, is not as plain as hitting
a child. "Words do hurt," she said.
Pressures that affect learning
"We re expecting three-year-olds to begin
reading and writing, and that they know the
entire alphabet at that age," the CEO of ALTA,
Paula Lucie-Smith, told the T&T Guardian.
"We re pushing children too young into read-
ing, and it sets them up to avoid it because
it exposes them to failure."
• Continued on page A30
Literacy remains at an alarmingly low
level in T&T, with underperforming
continuously left behind who eventually
either drop out of the school system or
turn to crime. Experts tell us that those
who do not drop out of school enter the
workforce but do not perform as well as
they could with a better education,
reducing the country's potential
economic prowess. FABIAN PIERRE
begins a T&T Guardian investigation into
literacy in T&T, and what is being done to
address those students at risk of fading
Lack of love leading to low literacy
Standard five students of
Brighton Anglican Primary School,
La Brea in a lesson at the start of
the new school term in January.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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