“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”- Nelson Mandela.
Inspired by the quote above, the GRAPES Education six-step model was created to position education as the single most important factor in the development of a country. The six-step model is innovative and proprietary (the world’s first), and designed to address four of the National Development Strategy (NDS) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for socio-economic prosperity for EVERY citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.
According to UNESCO, “Quality education fosters creativity and knowledge and ensures the acquisition of the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy as well as analytical, problem-solving and other high-level cognitive, interpersonal and social skills. It also develops the skills, values, and attitudes that enable citizens to lead healthy and fulfilled lives, make informed decisions, and respond to local and global challenges through education for sustainable development (ESD) and global citizenship education (GCED).”
The four national challenges the GRAPES Education six-step model is designed and proven to address are underlined below along with their solutions:
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY/GOAL
Challenge (1) – Better Quality and Access to Education and Training
- The quality of education and school performance remain critical with over 50% of students attaining below five subjects (including Mathematics and English) at the Caribbean Examinations- Ministry of Planning.
- Each student learns differently and many educators are not trained in the department of psychology or possess the ability to identify their students’ learning styles, learning abilities, or learning disabilities; and to adapt their pedagogical practices to suit the needs of each individual learner.
Solution: Step one of the GRAPES Education six-step model utilizes educational and psychological assessments to identify the learning styles; the abilities, disabilities and any form of psychological abuse (at home and/or school) preventing the success of each individual learner. GRAPES Education then creates a partnership between the student’s teacher, parent/s, an in-house qualified educational consultant, and a qualified psychologist from Elder Associates Limited (EAL). The information and results from the assessments and solutions will be forwarded (with the parent/s permission) to the aforementioned stakeholders. Teachers and Parents will (by request) receive training on how to implement the solutions at school and at home respectively. This approach is proven effective for improving pedagogical research among educators and parents, student performance, and promoting Education System Transformation for quality education at schools.
School Principals can also request additional training for their teachers in pedagogy and to identify possible learning challenges, and writing referrals for the prospective family to a GRAPES Education team member for a synopsis and a recommended teaching strategy.
Challenge (2) – Human Capital Development
- The disharmony between the output of skills from the current education system and the skills demanded in the new economy/ labour market which is related to
- Low productivity.
- Shortages of labour in certain areas of the private sector.
- Gender disparities resulting in more females enrolling in higher learning than males.
- Brain Drain.
Solution: The assessments conducted in step five of the GRAPES Education six-step model includes personality assessments that identify possible career compatibilities, intelligence, and hobbies from as early as the age of eight. The data collected from this assessment is used to guide parents and students in areas of professions and study that are relevant to the student’s desires and capabilities. The data is also used to guide compatible students, at the early stages of the education system, towards sustaining the human resource needs of Trinidad and Tobago.
The research in this area has indicated higher levels of performance at schools because of the new perceived relevance of the education system in developing the skills for desired careers; and higher levels of productivity at places of employment among persons doing careers that are compatible with their personalities, intelligence, and/or hobbies.
The data gathered can be used to identify trends in personalities and shape policies for guidance, recruitment, and training of our human resource in new areas of industry that can diversify the economy and reduce the reliance on the oil an gas energy sectors for sustainable growth.
Challenge (3)- National Information & Communications Technology (NICT) Infrastructural Development
- Under-utilization of technology to stimulate and enhance the learning experiences of today’s learners at schools that can also make teaching more effective, exciting and easier for teachers.
- Lack of training on how to effectively use technology and computer devices for information dissemination and learning development of students among teachers, parents, and students.
- Lack of quality computers and/or no computer labs at schools.
- Lack of good quality internet infrastructure at schools.
- Little or no access to good quality internet and/or personal computer devices at home for learning enhancement.
Solution: Information and communication technologies (ICTs) must be harnessed to strengthen education systems, knowledge dissemination, information access, quality and effective learning, and more effective service provision- UNESCO.
GRAPES Education has implemented the ‘ONE Dollar Laptop for Better Schools’ initiative that provides parents with laptop devices, schools with computer devices, and educational and psychological assessments for students of schools. Parents and Teachers are also provided with technological training to implement Microsoft’s ICT learning platforms for schools and at homes for enhancing the quality of education and learning. This process can promote and enhance citizen participation in NICT infrastructural development.
Bmobile, a GRAPES Education stakeholder, also provides families and schools with access to good quality internet connection.
Challenge (4) – Inclusive Governance/ Participation
- Involvement in the decision-making/ physical planning process in national, social, economic, and spatial development.
Solution: In order to bring decision-making, in alignment with the National Development Strategy, closer to the people the GRAPES Education six-step model can only be implemented at schools through the collective effort of the Parent Teacher Associations of each school. According to economic research, national budgetary constraints and allocations make it difficult for the government of Trinidad and Tobago to provide EVERY resource necessary for Education System Transformation. Also, Education System Transformation can only be effective with the voluntary participation of parents/guardians in the development of good quality education at schools and at homes.
The majority of families in Trinidad and Tobago are unable to enroll their children at private school institutions that deliver world-class facilities, educational resources, and sound pedagogical practices which accounts for their nearly 90% success rate. As such, GRAPES Education created a system that allows parents to contribute as little as $25.00 TTD per week for new school computers and computer labs, laptops for their children, educational and psychological assessments, teacher training programmes, online parental guides, computer literacy training for parents, and ICT infrastructures to make teaching more effective, exciting, and easier for teachers at schools.
The GRAPES Education six-step model is the world’s first full-service education model, and the first public-private partnership (PPP) programme designed to create world-class government/public schools that can rival the top private schools in the world. It is also the first programme of its kind that provides parents with a platform to significantly transform the ENTIRE national education system and the quality of education at schools in alignment with the rules and guidelines governing the education system in Trinidad and Tobago.