Newsday, Trinidad: The [Trinidad and Tobago] Education Ministry yesterday denied any plan to introduce Transcendental Meditation (TM) into schools, as was being reported in some media claiming TM would soon be introduced into the school’s curriculum. Responding to queries by various persons, the Ministry yesterday issued a release advising of its policy when introducing new elements into the school curriculum. “The process is one of consultation, research and investigation. No one and no organisation has approached the Ministry of Education with respect to the introduction of Transcendental Meditation techniques in schools,” the release stated.
The ministry admitted to responding to an invitation last week from the TT Peace Government to attend a seminar with the theme — “The Brain Campaign — Substance Abuse and the Brain” in which TM was discussed. However, at no time during the seminar did the ministry’s representatives indicate an acceptance of this approach, claimed the ministry. The use of TM has been offered as an alternative to reducing crime, substance abuse, illiteracy and violence which is currently plaguing society. The suggestion was proffered by leader of the TT Peace Government, David Lee Sheng Tin, and leading neuroscientist, educator and researcher into the neurobiology of the human brain development and potential, Dr Alarik Arenander. The TT Peace Government is a non-religious, non-political organisation.
TM, which has been practiced in the Western world for over 50 years, is an ancient Asian form of meditation which has been scientifically proven to increase a person’s mental, emotional and physical health. TM is being used in 108 countries around the world, and at all levels of society, both governmental and non-governmental. Speaking with Newsday, Communications Specialist at the Ministry of Education, Mervyn Crichlow said while the invitation extended by the TT Peace Government had been accepted, at no time did ministry representatives indicate that TM would be introduced into schools.
When contacted for a comment on the issue of TM, President of the National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA), Zena Ramatali said she was unable to comment, as their General Council had not yet met to obtain a consensus from its entire membership. First Vice President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association, Sally Siriram told Newsday she fully endorsed remarks by TTUTA President Trevor Oliver to support any initiative which helped to curb the violence and indiscipline in schools. She said TTUTA would support any intervention or strategy which can be used to impact on students in a positive manner.