Wednesday, 23 March 2011

COSTAATT Lowering Tertiary Level Education Standards


YTC youths told look in mirror through studies

Source: Trinidad Guardian

Lecturer Joseph de Gannes pins the Costaatt ID on Ashton Blandin, right, while Costaatt’s dean of students, Dr Merle Hoyte, looks on at the Youth Training Centre, Golden Grove, Arouca, yesterday. Photo: Keith Matthew

“I am looking at the man in the mirror and he can make the world a better place.” So said Costaatt’s dean of students, Dr Merle Hoyte, to several young men at the Youth Training Centre, Golden Grove, Arouca. Through Costaatt’s Compensatory Programme and Academic Support Services (Compass) 19 youths from the YTC were given the opportunity to study at tertiary level.

The Compass programme provides basic knowledge skills in writing, reading and mathematics and is paced to the individual student’s requirements. When students complete the training they can enroll in any degree level programme offered by Costaatt.

Education standards keep falling in dis country. As it is, every dorg mudda, fadda, bredder, sista, nennen and she compere have ah fuss degree.

Now dey going and remove de normal entry requirements to gain entry into ah Bachelor's programme from 5 to 7 CXC/ "O" level passes and 3 "A" levels to basic reading, writing and maths skills to accommodate ah set ah duncy head juvenile criminals who cudn't cope wit de normal curriculum in de fuss place. So we go have ah set ah criminal, most ah dem stuttering and dribbling on dey dotish self and walking rong wit univussity degree in one pocket and ah 9mm in de nex pocket.

What ah joke! Only in Trini buoi, only in Trini.

Written By:Radar

69 comments:

  1. Shut the fuck up everyone deserves a chance

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    1. Damn Well Straight!!!
      The COMPASS Program is a foundation to the degree, it helps all of us not only who deserves a second Chance, but the other percentage who needs a refresh of the courses they did and cant remember...
      Some people should learn "only in trini boi, only in trini"
      So if we cannot look out for our "brothers and sisters" WHO WILL???

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    2. Now with a new administration, the future of COSTAATT is still in great jeopardy. It is alleged that this school or 'College' was actually an experiment by Manning and his team during his rule to take black youths off the streets so as to literally control the influx of dead black people into the freezers of funeral homes! It is also alleged that the experiment has failed.The whole nation may know about the spate of deaths at this place involving both students and lecturers. It is alleged that COSTAATT is now governed by a woman who reeks of PNM sweat--she fadder was a PNM stalwart but she worked in this place even during the last administration. It is alleged that she and her team of racists do their utmost to keep the institution as African/negro as possible.
      A Minister of the previous administration had his Indian favourites inside but now who knows what will happen?
      It is alleged that the main problem with COSTAATT is the total lack of qualified staff and professionals working there. Worst of all, it is alleged that the people who run the Health Sciences programme, with a few exceptions, are not fully qualified to even teach in a Secondary School in T&T. It is also alleged that former and current students always complain that some lecturers, staff, deans and other administrators cannot even speak, read, write and spell correctly! The results? Chaos.
      It is also alleged that a certain former Minister frequently complained about the poor quality of nursing graduates from this 'College.' It is also alleged that a certain person who was/is a good friend of a former Minister was untouchable even though, according to most students and staff, is totally incompetent in anything academic/educational. It is alleged that this person always recruits others/even lecturers to do all office/ academic/clerical work mainly because according to many, this person was 'protected' by the former Minister is a total 'duncee-head.' It is also alleged that the COSTAATT heads STILL cannot touch this person because of the connections in high places.
      It is also alleged that the COSTAATT heads would always 'chop off the heads' of qualified and experienced people who obviously pose a threat to them or to their positions--their excuse is a cutoff age which is less than three scores and ten while there are STILL people working there who are at that age group and MUCH older!
      It is still also alleged that a veil of evil pervades this institution hence the spate of suicides among these poor students, 'passing away' of certain lecturers and other unfortunate incidents. The PNM head, the relative and other friends of a former smooth-talking Minister will all take this place to a dark, cold place not frequented by healthy humans.

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  2. you speak like a fool.it's sad to know you belong to this country.

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    1. Anonymous let me break it down for you. Why give a man a fish instead teach him to fish. COSTATT is of NO value to an individual outside T&T. Therefore it is not real. If you go out in the real world you would need a DEGREE and guess what ALL you have is COSTATT that is NOT a Degree that is recognized.

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  3. Everyone deserves a chance at a better life, even a bandit. Maybe showing him that there are alternatives to a life of crime may make a difference.

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  4. One of the most idiotic things I've read for a long time. You've shown some amazing ignorance here, not to mention arrogance.

    They are not simplifying the material, they are just providing an alternative entry programme for those without qualifications, which is taken as a prerequisite for the relevant courses; similar to the many entry routes that developed nations offer for university level education. The material of the degrees remain the same.

    Given the astounding ignorance you've shown here, it's no wonder you feel your chances of employment are under threat by the creation of an alternative entry route to afford a wider range of people a chance at an education.

    If someone who thinks as illogically and short-sighted as YOU in fact has a university degree, THAT is a severe indictment on the local tertiary education system, rather than the case you claim here.

    Even though you wrote this over a year ago, and a blog entry by some random person matters 'jack-squat', I pains me to see ignorance stand unopposed. Credit to the others who commented.

    For your sake I hope the manner in which you've come across here was just to bait readers and stir interest.

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    1. Even though a year later, your comment is still welcome, insults and all.

      It may surprise you that someone of my level of ignorance as assumed and stated by you is knowledgeable of the alternative entry route to tertiary level education and the fact that it has been in successful use in developed countries for quite a long time.

      But being neither beneficiary of that compromise nor a product of the local education system, for which I thank the good Lord daily, I stand by my criticism of the COSTAATT agenda, which actually is a rehash of a previous proposal by Dr. Keith Rowley some six years ago that was roundly condemned in the Parliament then quickly disavowed by the PNM as being Dr. Rowley's personal view and not that of the party.

      It appears that there are still similarly minded PNM elements in COSTAATT doing their surreptitious best to achieve Dr. Rowley's original objective.

      Whereas, in other countries the alternative entry route provides the applicant with the opportunity to demonstrate to the tertiary institution through its own specifically designed assessment test that in spite of his not having the normal entry level requirements for a degree course of study he still has the ability to intellectually assimilate the programme's academic content, the COSTAATT alternative entry route does not do that. It is predicated on the naive and illogical assumption that the development or attainment of "basic reading and writing skills" (article quote) in individuals who previously and in the first instance could not cope with and failed to achieve a basic, standard secondary education would somehow miraculously enable them to cope with a much higher and more intellectually demanding level of study.

      That is the reality you are dealing with. In other countries where secondary education was neither free nor compulsory many people failed to obtain same for numerous reasons none of which might have had anything to do with mental ability. In Trinidad and Tobago secondary education has been both free and compulsory for quite a long time so it can be reasonably assumed that those who failed to obtain it did not do so because of lack of opportunity but because of lack of ability.

      But I wish COSTAATT well with its harebrained scheme, and the Society too, with the new cadre COSTAATT/PNM graduates that will soon be hitting our already crime infested streets armed with a PNM inspired COSTAATT degree in one pocket and a loaded 9mm in the next to continue the social degradation caused by 40 plus years of misguided PNM education policies.

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    2. You sound like a downright racist snob. You are also evidently severely ignorant of COSTAATT's very rigorous academic standards.

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    3. How did race jump into this? I hope that that is not your COSTAATT education rearing its head there.

      Or maybe you are just one of those hardcore PNM elements doing what the PNM are grandmasters in the art of doing.

      But there is no shame in my being "ignorant of COSTAATT's very rigorous academic standards". Apprising or acquainting myself of same has never been a priority of mine, but I welcome and appreciate your efforts to enlighten me.

      Assuming that the academic standards are as "rigourous" as you assert, then they must be intellectually demanding as well, and that brings me back to my original point, which centers around COCTAATT's logic and the naive presumption that individuals who failed to attain basic secondary education, and in some cases even a primary education because they could not cope with those curricula and resorted to crime, would now be able to undertake a much higher and more intellectually demanding level of study and commitment by simply attaining basic reading and writing skills.

      While it may be defensively but futilely argued - until the cows come home or until the PNM is voted back into office in the year 2525 - that there will be no dilution of course content or lowering of academic standards to facilitate those students, reality suggests, in fact predicts otherwise, that there will be an overwhelming failure rate among the former prisoner/student population at the Bachelor level and that COSTAATT will then find itself caught between the proverbial rock and the hard place, of having to either revise/upgrade its alternative entry route requirements or to tailor its degree programmes to produce better, more encouraging results for that category of student.

      Now what is so racist or snobbish about that?

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    4. And, anyhow, COSTAATT was created by the UNC and not the PNM. Get your facts straight.

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    5. You are very wrong! COSTAATT was NOT created by the UNC. In fact, COSTAATT was a 'grand plan' by the former nin-com-poops in the PNM to 'save' a certain race from being killed on the streets of T&T. I know that you will doubt it, but look at and listen to the 'products' of COSTAATT. If you want to be correct, you could say that the acting head of COSTAATT is a born and bred PNM--togther with her long line of PNM diehards--just look at them and you'll see the PNM stamp on their fpreheads. They hate Dr. Khan because he tells them as it is. They even have some UNC and PNM 'haters' in COSTAATT who cannot even pass a School leaving exam!

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  5. COSTAATT student19 Jun 2012, 13:31:00

    To those of you who are stating that COSTAATT is a "water-down" education institution, i guess the institution you came from are infact "water-down". because from what you are saying it seems to me that you did not gain much academically from that institution.

    As a matter of fact, I have information on an individual who went to so-called pretigious universities(UWI) and have to go back to that institution to complete additional courses in order to be employed in a job of that individual choice, and that is after that individual has earned a BSc. from there.

    As a student at COSTAAT myself i have completed many core courses that would not have even been done at "A" level or CAPE or even CXC

    My, point is i do not see COSTAAT as a "water-down" institution but one that encourage each individuals that has gain some sort of academic achievements from COSTAAT to be a well rounded individual academically while at the same time being a professional in whatever academic fields they have majored in.

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  6. Yeah!

    You gain so much from COSTAATT and still your english is poor. Compare your writing to others here and you should see who gained how much academically from which institution.

    SHIT MAN.

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    1. His/her English means little as our political leaders on both sides with Doctorates from overseas institutions speak horribly, with no sense of grammar.

      So what is your point?

      No University in Trinidad and Tobago is perfect. This country was rated 130 out of 132 countries for innovation and costaatt has only been around 8 years, so why is the rating so low?

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    2. You are an illiterate and racist individual and seems to me you have much personal problems. Go get a check-up!

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    3. if you knew the meaning of the word 'illiterate' you would not use it in this discussion. An illiterate person would not be able to make the kind of posts being made here. S o go learn the true meaning of the word.

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  7. My point about his English was in response to his about my not having gained "much academically" from whichever institution I attended.

    As for yours about our political leaders, I would say that Mr. Manning, regardless of how much I despise him as a political personality and Prime Minister, spoke impeccably when the occasion so demanded.

    Mr. Robinson's English was flawless as well. And so far I would say that Ms. Persad-Bissessar is right up there with them when she is required to be there. After all, this is Trinidad and Tobago and it is not on every occasion that we would want or be required to speak the Queen's (perfect) English so it would not be fair to judge people on their every day casual speech.

    But writing is a different matter and demands a much higher standard which we are expected to maintain, unless otherwise specifically required, for instance when writing in dialect or local jargon.

    I agree that "no university in Trinidad and Tobago is perfect" so what does that say then for COSTAATT's plan to reduce entry level requirements for degree programmes from English language levels that already are so poor to "basic reading and writing skills"?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I wonder when did Anonymous tells if you are a male or female - according to Radar (POOR ENGLISH! you need to respond to the comments without emotions.)

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  8. Good day, I have been following this and wish to contribute. As someone who is affiliated with COSTAATT, I hope my weigh-in will not be seen as biased but rather to be from a knowledgeable stance because I do love working with COSTAATT and support their vision. This may sound like a paradox, but the high failure rate in COSTAATT actually shows that the system is working. If the students who were coming into the school where scoring rather high, but failing in the traditional schooling system, I would be very concerned. However, the students who come in are assessment, advised, and every kind of support given to ensure they are equipped with the tools to excel. So be assured that should a COSTAATT student be integrated into a traditional school or into the business sector, their grades/performance will be a true reflection of their abilities ... and the truth is not all students do well and make the best of this opportunity, but many do and they count!

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    1. Thank you for your contribution and we apologize for this late response. Radar's criticism of COSTAATT is not a general one but deals specifically with the decision to create an alternative entry route for ex jailbirds by reducing entry level requirements to basic reading, writing and math skills.

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  9. Actually it isn't that simple. When you go to Costaatt, whether you have the "O" and "A" levels or not, you can only succeed on your own merit. You will not get a degree if you don't do the work and pass the courses. No one goes into Costaatt, sits around and does nothing and gets a degree. They still have to earn it. The removal of the previous entry requirements is to give more willing students a chance to learn. It is to ensure that they DO NOT turn to crime. I am a student at Costaatt, and despite what people may think, it isn't easy at all. Costaatt has very high expectations from its students. In fact, UWI's grading system is a lot more lax than Costaatt's. At UWI a student only has to maintain a GPA of 1.0 in order to obtain a degree. At Costaatt, the student must be above 2.0. At UWI 50% is a passing grade. At Costaatt, that is considered a fail. I know this because I went to UWI for a year before I chose Costaatt. The students I have had the pleasure of interacting with at Costaatt are all very hard-working ambitious individuals. To label them as gun-toting criminals is the most ignorant thing I have heard anyone say in a long long time. They are people trying to make something of themselves despite performing badly in the CXC or CAPE exams. They did not give up and wait for society to support them through HDC housing and the TTcard. They got up, applied to Costaatt, went through the placement examinations, did the pre-entry courses and are now studying diligently to EARN their degrees. It is not being handed to them. Whoever wrote this ignorant blog needs to take a tour of our campuses, sit in on our classes and experience Costaatt for what it is. I applaud Costaatt for giving the YTC youths a chance at higher education. There is a feeling of pride you get when you know you are on your way to becoming a valuable, contributing member of society. These youths need that. This may be just what they need to turn them away from crime. Costaatt isn't handing them a degree, they simply offered them the chance to EARN one. If they don't put in the work, they will fail. Or I suppose the author of this blog would prefer that these "ex-jailbirds" go back to prison where our tax dollars can support them for life. Only in Trini boi, only in Trini you can find people dragging down their own and criticizing any positive move. You all want change and for crime to stop, but when someone steps in and offers a solution, you all criticize it to the last drop. Only in Trini yes!

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    1. While I do agree with you for the most part, I must defend UWI's grading system. I do not agree that it is "more lax than COSTAATT's. I passed through UWI's system and the amount of work you put in to obtain a D at UWI you can actually get an A at COSTAATT. I am presently a student at Costaatt and I get A's with very little effort. UWI calls for a higher standard of work e.g. certain type of bibliography, spelling and grammar, in addition to content and analytical ability so that students become true professionals. UWI's exams are triple marked and students are required to use ID numbers only on their assignments and exams so that they are unbiased (which is a big problem at COSTAATT). I often hear Costaatt students say that Costaatt is better than UWI because UWI's pass grade is 40, but I can assure you that most Costaatt students would fail a lot of UWI courses. This is not to say that Costaatt students are dunce, but each institution has their own system and way of doing things. I also realise that Costaatt is making continuous efforts to improve its education.
      I agree with Radar to some extent but certainly not for the reasons given. I believe that the Costaatt is lowering the tertiary level standards because many times I have seen lecturers marking students easier and saying "at least they trying" and sometimes also due to favoritism. Many students really aren't prepared for such a workload and in cases such as group assignments they sometimes cause those with abilities to gain a lower grade than they should.

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    2. The fact that COSTAATT has reduced its entry level requirements for their degree programmes to "basic reading and writing skills" for the academically and possibly intellectually disadvantaged student strongly suggests that that category of student will not, in fact, cannot be graded using the standard/normal criteria that would apply to the regular student body. It stands to reason that the entire rationale behind the lowering of the entry level requirements to facilitate ex PNM jailbirds would be defeated if after gaining entry on the basis of those reduced standards, they (the ex PNM convicts) are graded according to the normal "rigourous" standards. The natural consequence of such folly would be a demoralizing of those students. So to avoid that eventuality and a likely reurn to the 9mm, the grading system if not the entire programme would of necessity HAVE to be tailored to produce encouraging results for that category of student.

      No rocket science involved there.

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    3. Why does an educated person as yourself insist on being so ignorant. What does this have to do with PNM or any other political party. You shouldn't have such malice in your heart otherwise you may end up... ummm.. an educated smartass jailbird? Take it down a notch hommie!

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    4. LOL ..... Good one! Good one! Your point is well taken. I will explain the political spin shortly. But I do appteciate your point.

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    5. Dr. Rowley advocated some years ago (during a Manning administration) that entry level requirements for degree programmes should be relaxed to facilitate young Afro-Trinbagonian males. The proposal caused such an uproar that the PNM quickly distanced itself from it saying that it was not the Party's position but Dr. Rowley's personal views. The idea seemed to have found favour with certain PNM elements in COSTAATT.

      Whom do you think will be the major beneficiaries of COSTAATT's new plan that specifically targets jailbirds? Obviously the PNM's hard-core ethnic support base. They are over represented in the prison population. It is an established fact that they commit well over 70 percent of all serious crimes in the country.

      No malice. No prejudice. Just the harsh truth.

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    6. You are a racist pig, and have proven yourself to be an educated jackass as well. There are many other races in COSTAATT and in prison as well so as for "no prejudice" you obviously don't know what prejudice is.(shows how educated you are yourself...lol). Jus d harsh truth! Btw when you making accusations, please provide proof otherwise it has no basis. I'm sure you learned that in school, otherwise STFU! (Yes,I have malice now...sorry..but stupid ppl piss me off!)

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    8. Lets's say that there are 5000 prisoners at most, and let's say that 70 percent (3500) are hardcore PNM supporters, this won't be such a significant figure to help keep or get the PNM in power since the figure represents the entire population of Trinidad and Tobago and not just areas like Laventille and Morvant. Furthermore, as you previously stated, the statictics proves that the africans committed the majority of crimes (since we are not looking at the white collar crimes that gets shove under the carpet), thus the suggestion to give these young black men and opportunity to pursue a higher education should not be frowned upon since it is intended to give these young men another way out and to turn from a life of crime, thus reducing the crime rate. They are not being given this opportunity at the expense of others, rather, it is intended to help them while at the same time still assisting others.

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  10. Hello, i thoroughly enjoy reading this impressive educational article here on campus. Very valid points have been raised on all sides. I particularly like the post author Radar's style of expressing himself even though I do not agree with what he is saying.

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  11. Thank you TTgirl.

    I will be responding later.

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  12. I look forward to your response.

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  13. Yes TTgirl.

    My problem with COSTAAT is specifically in respect of its targeting of jailbird youths (YTC Inmates) for what I would term 'special treatment'. And that 'special treatment' is, according to the Trinidad Guardian article, a reduction of the entrance requirements into degree programmes to "basic reading and writing skills".

    For the life of me I cannot begin to envisage how someone who failed to make it at primary or secondary level schooling, who could barely read and write, could possibly deal with an infinitely higher and more demanding level of study.

    If it is that COSTAATT were tutoring these individuals to bring them to CXC/CAPE certification level before immersing them into the degree programmes then I would not have a problem as they would have arrived at the normal entry requirement level even if they do not have the passes. At least they would have demonstrated some potential and ability.

    I am subject to correction on this but I do not think that that is what is happening, at least not according to what was stated in the Trinidad Guardian article, that formed the basis of my post. The article said and I quote:

    "The Compass programme provides 'basic knowledge skills in writing, reading and mathematics' and is paced to the individual student’s requirements. When students complete the *training they can enroll in any degree level programme offered by Costaatt."

    The "*training", therefore, according to what I understand from that wording is to get them to "basic reading, writing and maths skills".

    Once they get there, ie: "basic reading, writing and maths skills" they can "enroll in any degree level programme offered by Costaatt".

    Please do correct me if my interpretation is wrong.

    Thank you for visiting our blog and for taking the time to accommodate this interaction.

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    1. The Compass programme is varied. The placement examinations allow Costaatt to assess each individual student's ability in the areas of Math,reading and writing. Depending on your performance in these examinations, Costaatt decides which courses you need to complete before you are allowed to begin a degree programme. The Compass programme has levels. For example Math. There are three levels of exams in Math. You must complete (and pass) basic, intermediate and advanced math courses. If you pass these in the placement exams, you need not do the courses. If however, you fail the placement tests, you must complete ALL three levels of Math courses (successfully) to be allowed into a degree programme. The article was correct in saying the Compass programme provides "basic knowledge skills in writing, reading and mathematics"....but the article omitted the fact that the Compass programme also provides intermediate and advanced Math and Writing courses that the student MUST pass as well. The basic Math courses go far beyond 1+1=2. The Basic Math courses begin with algebra, probability and statistics. As the student advances to the intermediate and advanced Math courses, they are taught geometry, trigonometry, advanced algebra, calculus, set theory etc. This is far from "basic", and the student has to pass with a minimum of 60%. The Compass programme is in many ways equivalent to CXC. It teaches you everything you would have learnt at CXC level. Like I said before, the student has to put in the work and be willing to learn. Whether or not they failed at CXC level is irrelevant. That was then, this is now. Priorities may have changed. I say give them a chance to learn. We will see if they are serious about the opportunity they are given in time. But don't deny them the opportunity and then say they are good for nothing criminals when we never gave them the chance to prove that they are good for something.

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  14. Trinidad Express Article:
    "Principal of The University of the West Indies Mona Campus, Gordon Shirley had expressed concern that a lot of (GATE)graduates were unemployed and many 'unemployable' because of their degrees."

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  15. Had TTgirl not posted something of substance here I would have had to say what was originally on my mind. Regardless, for those of you are quick to judge others based on what school they went to and how many CXC passes they obtained whatnot do consider that many of the students that attend Costaatt either have A levels, another university degree from a so-called top university or even a full CXC certificate (including myself). I had applied to different schools and had been accepted into both of them only to reject them both to attend Costaatt. To this date I've never regretted it. If people think that Costaatt offers watered down degrees then please do come sit in on a mid level IT course sometime : )

    If attending one of those "top universities" makes people turn into someone like the very foolish person who started this blog then I'm 100% percent certain I made the right decision. The people at Costaatt don't judge, and are extremely friendly and mature, especially the ones who leave UWI and other top schools to come to Costaatt to get a "REAL" education (yes, I played that card because the Costaatt students have earned it). Here's to Costaatt placing first in all IT categories in the recent World Skills Day programme among all the country's top schools. But you would never hear that from the UWI students who dropped out of the competition because they couldn't cope, would you?

    While other students flap their mouth about which school is better and which degree is worth or not worth its salt, Costaatt students know they have a point to prove and work to prove it: they shut others up. Hold onto your jobs with your life if that makes you happy because you never know when a Costaatt just might blindside you enough to steal it. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    And btw, I've yet to meet a criminal or an illiterate person in all my time at Costaatt.

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    1. I fully agree with you Anonymous. COSTAATT won first place in both Web Design and Networking, while the other schools couldn't cope. As a matter of fact, there is an IT lecturer at COSTAATT (K.M.) that also teaches at SBCS, and she can testify to the capability of COSTAATT students (IT in particular) in comparison to those of the so-called better institutions. I read through this blog and I sensed the strong animosity and racism in Radar's comments. However I must say, despite all that he wrote, I can attest to the fact that despite being a resident of the Beetham Estate and having all odds against me, for example, my dad was a drug addict and I grew up really tough, sometimes even getting involve in wrong-doing (I won't put details here), I currently maintain the highest GPA in the area of Internet Technology (3.82), I work at Republic Bank as a Network Administrator and many other other accomplishments that I can boast about. Thus, if I probably wasn't given an opportunity at COSTAATT, I probably would have been one of those gun toting criminals, and believe me, Radar surely wouldn't have like to cross paths with me, especially with his bigoted racist comments.

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    2. Anonymous wrote, "I grew up really tough, sometimes even getting involve in wrong-doing. if I probably wasn't given an opportunity at COSTAATT, I probably would have been one of those gun toting criminals, and believe me, Radar surely wouldn't have like to cross paths with me, especially with his bigoted racist comments."

      Yeah Yeah! Another Beetham Estate 'tough guy' in all his COSTAATT brilliance choosing to boast about brawn and gun and who wudda fraid whom if dey did cross his path (yawnnn) In this day and age. Last night another Beetham Estate 'tough guy' swallowed a police bullet. I sympathize with the family. When will they ever learn?

      But to return to the topic, I am truly amazed that throughout the many responses to my criticism of COSTAATT nobody seems to have understood that my initial post was based on a Trinidad Guardian article that referred specifically to incarcerated youth and which stated, and I quote again, "Through Costaatt’s Compensatory Programme and Academic Support Services (Compass) 19 youths from the YTC were given the opportunity to study at tertiary level. The Compass programme provides basic knowledge skills in writing, reading and mathematics and is paced to the individual student’s requirements. When students complete the training they can enroll in any degree level programme offered by Costaatt".

      My point was and still is, why basic reading and writing skills?

      Basic reading and writing skills, could never be sufficient to enable a person to assimilate or properly digest the academic content of a degree programme. He has to attain a higher standard than that. If however, on attaining basic reading and writing skills the person is further coached (at whatever pace) and eventually brought (however long it takes) to CXC or "O" level standard, and he is then introduced to the degree programme, I would shut my mouth because he would have acquired a certain level of comprehension to better enable him to follow course content.

      But to immerse someone who can barely read and write, ie, with limited vocabulary, into a study of higher learning, is simply 'spinning top in mud' because that student cannot be graded using the standard/normal criteria that would apply to the regular student body with their CXCs and their "O"s and "A"s.

      Why, again?

      Because the entire rationale behind the lowering of the entry level requirements to facilitate that disadvantaged student would be defeated if after gaining entry on the basis of basic reading and writing skills he is graded according to the normal but higher and more rigourous standards, he would slip back and become demoralized and frustrated. So to avoid that happening, and the possibility of a return to the 9mm, the grading system if not the entire programme would of necessity HAVE to be tailored to produce encouraging results for that particular student. And he is not just one. According to the Guardian article there were 19, and by now, possibly 19 more. That's all I'm saying.

      Now what the fuck does bigotry and racism have to do with that?

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    3. BTW, I haven't boasted or even started to boast, I'm just using myself as an example to show that once given the opportunity and you have the drive, some people are able to make a change for the good. I also believe that if you live by the gun, you will die by the same (Police Shooting on Beetham). I feel sorry for you that you can't even carry on a conversation without using obscenities. The racism and such comes from the fact that you started talking about political parties which is definitely tied to race in this country. You can deny it all you want, but I am not the only person that was able to read between the lines from the comments you posted above.
      As one of the person stated above, whether the entry requirements have been dropped, an individual will still be required to put in hard work and step-up their game in order to obtain a degree. Basic reading and writing skills won't allow you to pass pre-calculus, college algebra and the many other courses that are offered at COSTAATT. As a matter of fact, some of the courses will actually help to curb the mindset of the individuals

      Delete
    4. Anonymous wrote: "I feel sorry for you that you can't even carry on a conversation without using obscenities"

      Don't feel sorry for me, but you should start worrying about yourself, because education (even a COSTAATT education) without intellect, really loses its meaning and purpose, and is the bane of 'fuckwits' like yourself.

      Out of my entire long winded response in which I dealt with the rationale behind my criticism, you select one word, "fuck", in the last sentence and focus on that to the exclusion of everything else that I explained.

      Rest assure my ability "to carry on a conversation" is not dependent on the use of obscenities." Its just that an expletive sometimes assists to highlight the absurdity of an opinion.

      Now do have a nice afternoon. How were things down in the Beetham last night and today?

      Delete
    5. Edit:
      Rest assured, my ability.. etc etc

      Delete
  16. "like the very foolish person who started this blog"

    Fools do indeed rush in where wise men fear to tread

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  17. Maybe you need to go to COSTAATT, Radar. Might do you even you some good.

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  18. If I have said it a thousand times, I've said it once: Judge COSTAATT students by what they know at graduation not at entry. If you do so you might learn a few things.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. I'm entering COSTATT in September at age 51 to do my BBA with 5 'o' level passes which i obtained attending evening classes 2hrs per day,1 day per subject and never had to re-write a subject.

    Don't get hyper yet,I never had a secondary education before, not because i could't cope but because of social issues which was no fault of mine. these subjects were obtained as follows---2-2008, 2-2009, 1-2011 (going after my 6th in May,June Exam). Grades:English-1, HSB,S/Studies-2, POB, POA- 3.

    My point is if at 45yrs i started my secondary education why not give these young men a chance to realise not everyboyd in trini calls themselves radar.
    Missy.

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  21. Thank you for your contribution, Missy. You have every right to be proud of what you have accomplished so far. But your situation and how you have been gradually improving yourself are decidedly different to what is contemplated by COSTTAATT for the young jailbirds. They are being admitted to degree programmes once they have attained "basic reading and writing skills". You are doing it the tested and proven way. They are being accommodated in an entirely different manner.

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  22. I don't believe read this entire blog.

    Anyway! according to my knowledge of the situation-I must inform you RADAR, that, the compass program allow persons to educate themselves to the level with witch "you had" to enter your past institute. However,after the compass program is terminated, costaatt students are prepared to move on to the degree level.

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  23. I am wondering if radar is a student of COSTAATT if the is the reason for his hatred and racism.

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  24. I think Radar do not understand what COSTAATT COMPASS program is all about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous wrote on Oct 9, 2013, 10:28:00 AM
      "I think Radar do not understand what COSTAATT COMPASS program is all about"

      Maybe I don't. Why don't you explain it to me?

      Delete
    2. Radar your head real hard boy and you criticizing the "jailbirds" After so many explanations of the compass programme you still do not understand. Your problem is that you are extremely self opinionated, narrow minded and you are totally blinded by perception and what ever limited knowledge you have of the issue at hand. Then again this is determined by your background whatever that maybe (race,class,social standing etc.) It is sad to think that we have many more like you and it is evident that you are not even trying to entertain another point of view.

      Delete
    3. Concerned wrote, "it is evident that you are not even trying to entertain another point of view".

      Oh yeah?

      After allowing some fifty comments expressing different points of view you say I am "not even trying to entertain another point of view"?

      TsK,tsk!

      BTW, if you took the time to read the "many explanations of the COMPASS Programme" you would realize that none of them addresses the core issue raised by me about COSTAATT reducing entry level requirements for their degree programmes to 'basic reading and writing skills'.

      For your benefit and that of others I reproduce below part of an earlier response given by me:

      "Basic reading and writing skills, could never be sufficient to enable a person to assimilate or properly digest the academic content of a degree programme. He has to attain a higher standard than that. If however, on attaining basic reading and writing skills the person is further coached (at whatever pace) and eventually brought (however long it takes) to CXC or "O" level standard, and he is then introduced to the degree programme, I would shut my mouth because he would have acquired a certain level of comprehension to better enable him to follow course content.

      But to immerse someone who can barely read and write, ie, with limited vocabulary, into a study of higher learning, is simply 'spinning top in mud' because that student cannot be graded using the standard/normal criteria that would apply to the regular student body with their CXCs and their "O"s and "A"s.

      Why, again?

      Because the entire rationale behind the lowering of the entry level requirements to facilitate that disadvantaged student would be defeated if after gaining entry on the basis of basic reading and writing skills he is graded according to the normal but higher and more rigourous standards, he would slip back and become demoralized and frustrated. So to avoid that happening, and the possibility of a return to the 9mm, the grading system if not the entire programme would of necessity HAVE to be tailored to produce encouraging results for that particular student. And he is not just one. According to the Guardian article there were 19, and by now, possibly 19 more. That's all I'm saying.

      Delete
  25. This Radar fella is a true idiot! He must have studied psychology and law because he sure knows how to pick his words and make nonsense out of sense everyone he crosses paths with. Way to put that UWI degree to use, Radar! Way to go!

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  26. I attended UWI, graduated with a BSc 2013. I decided to keep my options open, as I think I am young and capable, so I enrolled into a BSc at Costaatt. I think being one who came speak as a student of both institutions, a Costaatt student will have a nervous breakdown at the sight of a UWI examination paper, regardless of which program them enter. The popular consensus is true, Costaatt practically has no standard compared to UWI. Radar is right...speaking from first hand experience here.

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    Replies
    1. It's funny how we live in this little bubble called Trinidad & Tobago, here we are fighting about which is better. Both these institutions yotally irrelevant on an international stage. The truth is they use two different grading systems UWI is British, COSTAATT is American. As for COMPASS it is an entry level program that a student must complete if after the placement. Exam they do not meet basic metriculation and grammar standards. There are three levels of math and two levels of English to be completed before one can move on successfully to college courses. COSTAATT was the first institution to be accredited in Trinidad & Tobago and it is also affiliated with American colleges. COSTAAT is placed under rigorous quality control testing and feed back has thus far been favourable from stake holders i.e. employers with whom COSTAAT graduates are employed

      Delete
  27. Only in sweet T&T can you start reading an article entitled "COSTAATT Lowering Tertiary Education.." only to end up seeing a bunch of biased, narrow-minded responses such as those from "RADAR".

    While I agree to some extent with RADAR, I cannot understand what PNM has to do with this matter or even politics as a whole. Yes Dr. Rowley had his plan to blah blah blah as you mentioned previously but why does this give you such a gripe? The rationale behind the "jailbird" youths being able to better themselves by earning a degree was to enable them to positively integrate themselves into society, which in turn would benefit us all. I am saddened by your insistent disgust with this idea and your displeasure with COSTAATT's COMPASS program because views like yours, while valid, are what threaten the progress of an already fragmented T&T society. Maybe I see things this way since I am of mixed race and politically Neutral with a tendency to look at social issues from all angles. Either way I do hope that you are purged of the deeply rooted malice you seem to have fallen victim to like so many others in our society.

    On the issue of COSTAATT, I graduated from a "prestige" high school with eleven CSEC passes and decided to enroll at COSTAATT. With my grades I was exempted from most the COMPASS courses and I was able to cope with the work load of the more difficult college courses. However, it has not been easy and you do have to put in a lot of work and earn your degree, it is not just handed to you as someone mentioned previously. While I agree that COSTAATT's standards are not up to par with UWI, I understand the relevance of COSTAATT and the need for such an institution in our country. "Transforming Lives,Communities, The Nation, One Student at a Time" these are the watch words of COSTAATT and it clearly holds true to this mandate by lowering entry requirements.

    Also at my time in COSTAATT I had many lecturers who also lectured at UWI Mt.Hope and SBCS. The academics at COSTAATT is maintained at a high standard but examination methods and passing grades are different from UWI. Moreover in comparison with UWI, COSTAATT is lacking structurally for example adequate student parking is needed, cafeterias,and not to mention a "Bar" like the one centrally located on UWI's campus (jk). Student support services could also be better since facilities such as the library are not open 24 hours like UWI. Regardless of these impeding factors, I think that COSTAATT is on its way to bigger and better things.I have seen improvements made during my time at COSTAATT and at present I am reaping the rewards of my labour at COSTAATT.

    There is a sense of pride and self worth to be had from achieving something like a degree and I believe that this is one of the things that the youth of T&T need in order to curb the crime rate in our country. Have some empathy RADAR not all of us are born into the same conditions and are able to stay on the straight and narrow.

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  28. I have read the entire blog. An I am truly sad in this century we are discussing the quality of a university. Since its not the university degree that makes us better. For we all can go to prestigious university yet individuals still don't get the job they want or show the quality of a Harvard or Cambridge education. Take for example Mr George Chambers, whom we called dunce was actually one of the foremost economist in the western hemisphere. My question to all the elitist individuals, where does Bill Gates or Steve Jobs fit in the picture. A university is only as good as it students and how much work they put in. It matters not what college or university you go to its your ability to take that knowledge and apply it. An to all who think exams are all that, in the end we they are easy since you basically, know what is coming; If you study and apply yourself you will pass. It is in the real world where your real exam takes place. An not just one day but everyday. A degree just says you have a better insight to a particular subject. So my question to all who say that this university better than the next. What happened before there were university when we were free thinkers. I am just saying please don't denigrated anyone attempts to better themselves. If you remain the same way you are actually dead. Grow up people you are letting down your universities.

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  29. Hi there. I am actually a student of COSTAATT myself. And to say that COSTAATT is providing a watered down curriculum is a little bit unfair don't u think? I'm not trying to be abrasive here as it seems a lot of people are quite offended but I don't know...I was just reading through and thought I'd put my 2 cents. I graduated from one of those prestige girl schools in POS (not calling names but *ahem* grey skirt, blue tie, white blouse *ahem*) I have 3 O level ones and 5 distinctions to my name. and in CAPE I have 3 distinctions to my credit as well as well as having the honor of being chosen as a representative for T&T's commonwealth youh parliament....twice. Now this is not to say that I am better than anyone in this forum because everyone has merits to which they can lay claim but clearly I'm educated. Quite well educated actually :/ I am currently pursuing my BA in Graphic Design at COSTAATT and I must say that the level of hands on expertise in the program is exceptional and it is the reason I chose it over UWI and UTT......they simply can't give me what I want. Now maybe im missing the mark here with your critic of the COMPASS programme and surely I can understand your disdain but think about it.....by opening up this world of opportunity to people that may not have gone to such a good school as I did or even obtained the kind of passes I have...think of the good things that can be accomplished. My parents were not the wealthiest despite it all and didn't even bother to pursue A level education so I feel blessed with the many opportunities their choices and sacrifices brought me. I understand your frustration with the thought of those you see as unfitting for tertiary education comingling with us but in the long run, if we give them a chance the pros outweigh the cons. All of those see UWI as 'better' then COSTAATT need to open their eyes. There is no better institution. It's all a matter of which one caters to your specific needs. COSTAATT is still a relatively young school so maybe we should wait and see? Just my opinion tho :)

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  30. WOW just WOW. I like the arguments on both sides. Some may have merit and others are just nonsense. As said by the American writer Harlan Ellison - "You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant."
    With that being said, I have had the honor of attending both institutions, BSc in COSTAATT and MSc UWI. Now I'm not going to say that one school is better and the other because its an argument which doesn't hold much merit in my eyes. UWI is more recognize and that is fact. COSTAATT is still a relatively young school. It is a fact that UWI graduates usually struggle in the workplace as compared to COSTAATT. Because COSTAATT is a more course work oriented learning environment, I believe it has the edge of UWI. In COSTAATT we need to be able to understand fully through practical experience or you would struggle. While in UWI if you are good at retention and regurgitating you will strive with 70% of the course marks hinging on the final exam.(70%-80% of the questions you will find were brought back from past papers-"ultimate spoon feeding"). Doing my MSc in UWI was easier for me because it was course work intensive also. The main difference was that I had to focus a bit more on the final exam because in my BSc after course work I would have almost pass the course already and didn't have to perform as well.(although i did, I'm a bit of a nerd) In the MSc you need to pass both course work and final exam. Just missed out on Honors in BSc(GPA 3.15) but got a distinction in MSc (All A's). Going to apply to do my PHD next year. oh and BTW folks I went through the COMPASS programme.

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    Replies
    1. Just one question to Clarion. Did you enter the COMPASS programme with just basic reading and writing skills? That has been the main point of contention throughout this discussion, although missed by many.

      Thanks to everyone for making this an interesting exchange of opinions. We will close this topic in two weeks time.

      Delete
    2. Topic reopened to facilitate new responses

      Delete
  31. Good post. I am facing a few of these issues as well..

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  32. You can certainly see your skills within the article you write.

    The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren't afraid to mention how they
    believe. Always follow your heart.

    ReplyDelete

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