Decades ago we had programmes that went across the country seeking out talent of a musical nature to help unearth persons who might have been good at something —singing, dancing, playing musical instruments etc—but who had no way to showcase their talent and so, such persons remained undiscovered, unknown and lost to the world.
Mastana Bahar and Scouting for Talent were created to fill this void and via their thrust, lots of individuals with hidden talent came to the forefront of our nation’s multicultural diversity and talent. By what they revealed, these programmes were successful in their objective. T&T has become richer for it.
Now we should follow the same principle as we seek out our hidden scholars who are also there in numbers but who seem to have got lost from the eyes and ears of the public and thus, the country is poorer for their disappearance.
Every year, when the SEA results come out, we celebrate for all to know who is the top boy and girl emerging out of it. A longer list of the top 50, 100, 300 and 500 pupils are recognised because, when near 20,000 pupils write the exams and you make it to that special grouping, it is believed you have to be among the best and brightest pupils in the country.
There is no guarantee that these special ones will go on to be among the top pupils at the secondary level, but chances are that they shall continue to shine are in their favour. We hear and read of CSEC and CAPE pupils achieving all ones in eight or more subjects, where also the top pupils are recognised and are awarded open scholarship to study their pet subjects and are allowed to go to the universities of their choice—here and abroad.
Most of them, if not all of them, enter iconic universities as Harvard, Yale, MIT etc. and pursue studies in such esoteric sounding fields as bio-molecular engineering and actuarial science etc., and while just to repeat it is an exercise in climbing Mt Everest for lesser mortals, for these unique ones, it is just another day for them at a school desk.
Many of them go on to not just get their degrees and additional scholarships to further their studies but they often win prizes and awards for excellence on their part.
The question is, whatever happens to them after that. For some reason, thereafter they often tend to disappear into some intellectual black hole which becomes the end of that odyssey.
Firstly, since they get T&T sponsored scholarships, isn’t it in our best interest to not only keep tabs on these scholars but to maximise the talents they now possess; to try and place them into the right niche where they belong and where we most need them? Shouldn’t we keep a data base that has the names of these individuals so that when we need a math brain we know which actuarial scientist to reach out to? or when we need an economist as the Minister of Finance, hallelujah! We have a Harvard graduate the world wants.
This essay comes about because we have to run this country on intellectual pitch-oil when we really should have tapped into the high-octane premium brains of our intelligentsia and made T&T the model nation Sparrow sang off.
This is an undertaking we obviously cannot leave to the politicians, for since 1956, we have settled for the dregs at the bottom of the barrel—the crapauds and millstones—to run this country when we know many of them could barely spell their own names.
Mensa is an international organisation where geniuses find a place to nest, to be all that they can be. We need to set up something that facilitates such geniuses and when we need special talent we shall know where to seek such treasures. We will know when to tell the politicians that they went to a landfill digging for dirt while there was a mine elsewhere filed with gold and diamond and other precious jewels.
We got to do this to end the square pegs in round holes psychology that underpins our thinking.