Friday, 2 November 2012


A friend of mine advised me of two Lecturers at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus,  who need to be fired. These two lecturers teach Caribbean History and have been known to twist the history of the caribbean to make the Catholic Church look bad. This is not right. These leaders in society and in the halls of learning MUST NOT act or perceive to act with prejudice or hateful.

An example of the mistruths being propogated by this couple are that "the Catholic Church opened Schools to get money" Well, how far from the truth is that... very far.

It was quite common by religious groups entering the "New World" to open schools to teach the natives to read, write and learn their Doctrine. BUT not only the Catholics did this. And all built the schools by raising funds.

I have taken the following from the Blog "The Caribbean History Archive" by Gary Besson - A published and highly respected Caribbean Historian:
After emancipation, from the 1830s to the 1860s, education for most children meant basic primary schooling. The catholic and protestant churches were the first institutions to set up and run many primary schools all over Trinidad and Tobago. In 1851, the colonial government also opened primary schools. After 1870, any church school which was big enough was eligible to be state-assisted. The criteria for the monetary aid was that the school had to accept both boys and girls from any faith or denomination, and that the curriculum had to follow guidelines set up by the government. Up to the present day, Trinidad’s primary schools are either Assisted Schools (founded by the various denominations) or Government Primary Schools.
Setting up a school is not a cheap or easy thing, and the purpose of these schools were to further education and CATHOLIC Education. The Parochial School system, was competing with a government school system that did not propagate religion.

In 1850, the catholic population of Trinidad stood at 44,000 out of a total of 70,000 persons. There were sixteen parishes served by twenty resident priests, with thirteen primary schools along with St. Joseph ’s Convent, Port-of-Spain (1836) and St. George’s College (1838).

The Church in Trinidad played such a great role in educating Trinidadians that the Keenan Report of 1869 recommended that Church Schools be granted state aid under certain conditions. Now it is important to note that it was not that long before, that the state had been fighting with the Catholic church in Port of Spain. In the 1850's Archbishop Spacapietra and Governor Elliot were at loggerheads. At the time of the Keenan Report the church was still considered somewhat French.

Bernard Tappin fills in the rest:
The dual system of primary education subsequently came into effect (1870). The colonial government sought the church’s help in furthering its work in education and welfare. In 1868, Governor Gordon got Archbishop Gonin to bring the Dominican sisters to care for the lepers. His successor, Governor Henry Turner Irving in 1878 offered Gonin government funding if the church undertook the responsibility of finding a suitable religious order to run a reformatory. In 1890 the Girls Reformatory was opened, run by the Good Shepherd Sisters of Angers.
The Catholic Church served a need. We did not open schools to receive money. It should be noted that in 1872 the primacy of the Anglican Church ended with the dis-establishment as the state religion. This allowed the Catholic church to become more active. Bernard Tappin Again:
In 1890, Archbishop Flood held discussions concerning the dual system brought about through the Keenan Report. There was again widespread support for a secular system of education. Flood was adamant about his church’s position. He won the day. A new ordinance was passed giving church primary schools increased financial support from the government. The dual system was maintained, with the government very generous with its support. By 1903, the Catholic Church ran the largest number of schools, 72, with a student population of 11,286. The government had 51 schools with 8,731 pupils, the Anglicans ran 48 primary schools and 8,831 pupils and the Presbyterians 50 schools with 5,200 on roll.
In 1960 the Government of Trinidad and Tobago entered into a Concordat or agreement with all the religious bodies owning and or controlling schools to ensure education for all.

After reading the above one can agree that these U.W.I. lecturers should be fired for MISREPRESENTING HISTORY of our wonderful island.

No comments:

Post a Comment