January 7, 2008


Posted in Buxton, Education, Guyana, Lusignan, Messages tagged , , , at 4:03 am by randallbutisingh

INTRODUCTION : January 6, 2008 :

This Paper on The Role of the School was written by me in 1964, after attending a Six week Course in Teacher Training. It is not based so much on research, but on my own experiences for over forty years as a teacher, and how I felt about the system. I trust educators will find in it something, they can think about, that will be beneficial to what is considered the real “Aim of Education”, which is, “to fit the child to live and to live with”. I would like to thank my niece Margaret Jagarnath for doing a good job in retyping the document using a good format.

Randall Butisingh

P.S.: Please excuse any typographical errors as I have not reviewed this typed copy.



(With reference to the Sugar Estate Community in Guyana)

By: Randall Butisingh. -June 1964 Chapter 1-4 of 15


I have, for the purpose of this paper, tried to encompass as much of the relevant matter on this topic with the minimum of words. Even this effort has failed to keep me within the required maximum, on account of the wide scope that this topic offers. I ask to be excused for this transgression, and trust that what I have endeavored to present will amply compensate for the privilege I have taken in exceeding the word limit.

I would like to express my gratitude here to the tutors of the Six-Week Training Course from whom I gained knowledge and inspiration, especially Mr. Chris G. Blackman from whose talk I got the basis for this paper. I would also like to thank Miss Lea Baird, present tutor for the One Year in- Service Training Course for teachers, who discussed the topic at length with me and gave me valuable advice and encouragement.

Finally, I commend the Ministry of Education for this bold and imaginative program in teacher training.

Randall Butisingh, Senior Master,

Lusignan Government School]– June 1964


2 – CONTENTS – Published herein four entries, each of four chapters

1 – Preface

2 – Contents

3- Introduction

4- The Role of School with Reference to The Estate Community..

5 – Personal Adequacy.

6 – Social Adequacy.

7 – Economic Adequacy.

8 – Good Citizenship

9 – The Role of the Teacher

10 – Other Educational Forces in the Estate Community

11 – The Curriculum Guide

12 – Parent Teacher Association.

13 – What the Lusignan Government School attempted during the past two years. (1962-64)

14 – What the School in the Estate Community can achieve.

15 – Epilogue




The school today can play a vital role in the community by means of its influence, through long contact, with the child who will be the citizen of tomorrow.

So important is the school, that teachers and policy makers need not only to be enlightened, but they need to have a high sense of duty and responsibility as the child could be as clay in the hands of the potter.

The remarkable influence of a good teacher is the strong incentive for the good citizen who will be the leaven and salt of society.

This subject has appealed to me because of my long experience as a teacher who is conscious of the role that the school has played and can play in the life of the individual and the community. I am also acquainted with the estate community from late indenture-ship to the present time. I also identify myself with Adult Education Programs through the Community Center and have been able to study the needs, wants and aspirations of the people.

This paper is intended to reflect experiences and values in my long career as a teacher.



The Handbook of Suggestions by the Board of Education states; “ The aim of Education should be to develop to the full, the potentialities of every child at school, always in accordance with the general good of the community of which he is a member.

It follows then that the purpose of the school should be to provide a suitable environment for the child; to stimulate healthy moral, physical and intellectual growth within that environment and to provide for the development of special aptitudes, so that education would be meaningful to the child and of benefit to society.

The Estate Community:

The estate community, as it is today, is far different from that of a generation ago when workers lived huddled together in long mud-floored logies; when both man and wife and sometimes children worked in the fields for semi-starvation wages; when the living standard was very low- in some cases a few calabashes being the only utensils, a gourd (gooby) serving the purposes of both bucket and goblet and a few wooden stools and a crude wood couch the only furniture. Work then for those living in the estate was compulsory and only the sick and the malingerer stayed at home. It was a state of semi-slavery.

Today the scene is changed. The regular workers earn more, and through loans from the Labour Welfare Fund, repayable in very small installments and interest free, he is able to live in comfortable houses with much of the amenities that the middle class can afford. He enjoys the protection of Trades Unions, holidays with pay, sickness benefits, pensions and severance pay.

Whereas in the past the East Indian was unmindful of a Western education for his children, and aimed at returning after indenture-ship to the land of his birth, today the Creole Indian has adopted this country for himself and his progeny, and he is keen, in most cases in giving his children especially boys a good education. His aim chiefly is to equip them for “white-collared” occupation. He does not want them to “cut cane” or toil in the fields where the dignity of his forefathers suffered.

We must not forget, however, that the estate community comprises a small percentage of Africans who remained on the sugar estates after emancipation, that Hinduism predominates as a religion with Islam having a fair following and Christianity the religion of the Africans; that Indian customs and tradition still play an important part in the lives of the people; but that gradually Western modes have been making inroads and have been tending to modify their culture. These are important points to remember in the planning of the school curriculum.

One significant difference between the village and estate community, and which should reflect in the school curriculum, is that whereas the village has a system of Local Government and the villagers subscribe through rates and taxes for the provision and maintenance of certain facilities like roads, water supply, drainage and market place, the people in the estate housing scheme enjoy these free from the burden of taxation. That this state of affairs will sooner or later end with the implementation of the Marshall Plan should be a matter of interest to the school organizer.

Knowing these facts about the community, the school can set about planning a curriculum, which is not “alien to the nature of the child and irrelevant to the needs of the society”.

For the purpose of this paper I have set out the functions of the school under the following heads. The school must aim to develop :

(a) Personal adequacy; (b) Social adequacy; (c) Economic adequacy; (d) Good citizenship


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