Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 30th 2015 Contents A4
Minister of Education Anthony Garcia
says there is no need to panic as at least
90 per cent of textbooks will be avail-
able to all students for this school
In an interview with the T&T
Guardian yesterday, Garcia said
all students from infants to Form
VI should still have access to
"There seems to be panic.
People are making assertions
that children will be unable
to access textbooks but that
isn t true. There are textbooks
in the schools which are available to all
students," he said.
Garcia said the last time books were
replaced for the entire school system
was in 2012.
In the current system, students
are given use of books for the
school year, which they must
return. The ministry then
replenishes the stock of books
as some are lost or damaged.
This system applied to books
from primary school to Form
"Those books are available. It
isn t that children would have no
books. It s just that we are not
replacing all the books."
The ministry usually replaces all
the books in the school system
every three years as some are dam-
aged or destroyed after three years
of use by children.
Every year in between, a small
percentage of the books are
replaced or "topped up."
In 2013, there was a ten to 20
per cent top up for books,
destroyed, lost and stolen.
There was another ten per cent
replacement in 2014.
"In 2015 there should have been
a complete renewal but the Cabinet
took a decision that this is not
something we will be doing," Gar-
He said because of the replace-
ments done in 2013 and 2014,
90 per cent of the books were
"In the schools, the principals
must manage the textbook pro-
grammes," he added.
Garcia also said his ministry
was still reviewing its position
on the provision of laptops to
secondary school entrants.
He added: "We are reviewing
the whole position on laptops.
For laptops to be effective in the
schools there must be infrastruc-
"We don t have that infrastruc-
ture in place. There must be
broadband coverage and other
"The purpose of laptops is
to provide support to the imple-
mentation of the curriculum.
Because we do not have the infrastruc-
ture, there is no support."
He said discussions on the laptop distribution pro-
gramme would form part of the national consultation
on education to be held after Carnival in February.
Garcia: No need
to panic over
Question: Do you agree with
the Government's decision to halt
the school textbook programme?
"I surely don't agree with that
decision, because if parents have to
buy books for all their children it will be
a hard situation they are facing. The
programme has helped a lot of parents
to afford to give their children a good
"Does Government know how hard it
will really be for some parents now without the help
from this programme? It remained in previous
governments, why interfere with it now?"
"Kind of a real steep decision to have
made, especially one which affects
the education of the nation's children.
Yes, we know the economy is faulty
right now, but what about the
situations facing parents?
"Book are already so expensive when
you have to purchase a fraction, with
the help of the programme and even stationery adds up
to a good amount. Without the assistance of the
programme, it will be really tough for parents. This a real
harsh decision Government has taken."
No I don't agree. There are so
many poor people who
really can't afford the
expensive prices on
books that they
have to get on
have to buy all themselves.
That is real pressure on
parents and will negatively
"They (Government) had a
and if it's
in the overall
interest of the
country, then I say
leave them be. They are doing what they
think has to be done."
"I think they should have lessened
the books to each Standard/Form
but still provide to all classes across
the board not just put a stop to
entire classes, but rather give less
"Government should really have
looked or can still look at doing a survey in the schools to
see the real situations of the parents and determine who
really needs the assistance from those who could afford
and would not have been affected either way."
"I don't agree with this decision at
all. I don't think it is fair to parents
who really can't afford to fill out
several booklists. I have three boys,
two of them going into Standard
Two and Form Two.
"This means I will be directly affected and what happens
to my sons education when I can't buy all those books,
they are already so expensive? Government needs to
consider how this decision will affect parents and
students and not just the economy."
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 30, 2015
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