Vol. 3 No. 2 (1993)

Shaping the Curriculum: Conceptions of Excellence in Secondary Education in Trinidad and Tobago

Ruby Saturina Alleyne
National Institute of Higher Education - Research, Science & Technology - NIHERST


  • Secondary Education,
  • Educational Quality,
  • Trinidad and Tobago


In every society, the goals of the education system are translated into a plan of action which achieves these goals, that is, the school curriculum. Curriculum planning, development and implementation are of major concern to educators since the quality of education is dependent, to a large extent, on the quality of instruction being delivered. Curriculum development, therefore, should not take place in a vaccum, but should be influenced by present day trends in educational reform which reflect the purpose of education in the society. The paper explores the nature of conceptions of excellence in secondary education in Trinidad and Tobago. A descriptive survey method probed the opinions of a panel of educators and a group of non-educators to reveal their conceptions of excellence and the conditions which give rise to it. The survey data revealed four indigenous conceptions of excellence: intellectual supremacy; character development; self-actualization, and social consciousness, each belonging to a particular conception of education. The majority of participants in the study expressed faith in the conception of excellence as self-actualization and the conception of education as the holistic development of the individual.