Vol. 7 No. 2 (2000)
Articles

Extra-Lessons in Trinidad and Tobago: Qualification Inflation and Equality of Opportunity

Ronald Brunton
The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus
Bio

Keywords

  • Extra-Lessons,
  • Secondary School Students,
  • Access to Education,
  • Educational Opportunities,
  • Equal Opportunities,
  • Trinidad and Tobago,
  • Sociology of Education
  • ...More
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Abstract

This paper examines the growing prevalence of extra-lessons, modes of participation, and equity of access in the scramble for educational credentials among secondary school students in Trinidad and Tobago. The paper aims to add greater dimension to existing theories of student allocation by stressing the growing significance of shadow education on the distribution of student outcomes. Through empirical data collection, two main hypotheses were tested through established statistical methods: (a) the excessive examination pressure is responsible for the growing popularity of extra-lessons among secondary school students, and (b) that the patterns of participation in extra-lessons reflect the patterns of social and educational stratification found in Trinidad and Tobago. The main research instrument utilized by the study was a survey questionnaire, administered to 500 students at 8 secondary schools throughout Trinidad. Upon hypotheses testing, data analysis revealed strong positive relationships, confirming the study's assertions that extra-lessons is indeed involved in qualification inflation and threaten the equality of educational opportunities.