The schooling is compulsory between 6 and 13 years and the compulsory school is free of charge. The education system has three levels. First comes a 7-year primary school, which is mainly state but has a significant private element. Then follows a secondary school with two main types: a 3- plus 2-year-old and a 5- or 7-year-old. The selection for this is done through the exam at the age of 11-12. Higher education is provided at some teacher training institutes as well as a branch of the University of the West Indies. Admission to the latter takes place after completing sixth form, the last two years of the 7-year secondary school. The school bears the mark of the British colonial past. Increased admission to technical and medical education as well as schooling for anyone up to 18 years is prioritized.
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Robinson’s government pledged to reduce inflation to 5% annually, restructure public companies, limit the number of public servants and continue the liberalization of the economy. To achieve these goals, the government abolished export licenses, abolished national price controls (except for the prices of some basic products and pharmaceuticals) and lowered public wages by 10%.
On July 27, 1990, the first attempt at a coup was made since Trinidad & Tobago in 1962 had become independent. About 100 Muslims occupied parliament and demanded the departure of Prime Minister Arthur Robinson. On August 1, however, the rebels surrendered unconditionally.
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The economy showed limited progress in 1990, mainly due to the rising exports of oil and petrochemicals linked to the crisis in the Persian Gulf. This allowed the government in the first months of 1991 to lift only the 10% pay cut for government employees.
In December 1991, PNM regained power when it got 46% of the vote and 20 out of 36 seats in parliament. Unity National Congress (UNC) got 26% and Robinson’s NAR 25%. At the same time, turnout declined dramatically. The biggest problems facing the new government were foreign debt of $ 2.51 billion and unemployment of 24%.
In January 1993, the government’s economic crisis policy and its privatization plans triggered protests. At the same time, public servants demanded their late wages to be paid. Faced with the increasingly tense social situation, Manning called on the army to “control” the situation.