The development of education over these forty-two years will form the subject of a separate study; here it is hoped to provide no more than a foundation for those readers who are anxious to relate the subject of this book to contemporary education policies. The forty-two years between 1939 and 1981 fall conveniently into three stages: the years of World War II ( 1939-1945); the decade after World War II ( 1945-1955); and the long regime of Dr Eric Williams and the People's National Movement (PNM) from 1956 to 1981. It is traditional to stress that no primary schools were built during World War II. A more accurate statement would be that the primary schools built were almost exclusively replacements for old schools demolished or extensions of old schools, in many cases resulting in more school places. Only one absolutely new primary school was built during the war. The schools therefore became more overcrowded. The problem was not strictly a shortage of funds as the government had not spent much of the loan of $240,000 for building new schools, effected before the war; also wartime prosperity arising from the construction of United States naval bases gave the government sizeable surplus revenues from 1941 to 1943, with reduced surpluses in 1944 and 1945.1 The major constraints were the difficulties the churches had in finding their portions of funds for new school buildings and, of course, the shortage of imported building materials in wartime.
Leaving aside problems arising from overcrowding, both the primary and secondary schools seemed little affected by World War II, unlike ICTA which depended completely on England for postgraduate students and staff. Enrolment in secondary schools, including Bishop's High School in Tobago, reached unprecedented heights, giving rise to the view that wartime prosperity enabled more parents to pay for secondary education. More and more candidates sat and passed the precious Cambridge external examinations. The schools participated in the Grow More Food campaign and their internal organizational life might even have benefited from the increased incidence of Girl Guides and Boy Scouts at a time when it was a sign of loyalty to be in uniform. Nor did the war bring to a halt the outflow of students to study abroad, especially in Canada; and the British government made it possible to take the bar examinations locally without having to risk a sea voyage to England. Candidates continued to take various levels of examinations to qualify for external degrees from the University of London. In short, educational opportunities continued to grow during World War II.