Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 3rd 2017 Contents •From Page A7
In an interview last week, T&T
Unified Teachers Association (TTU-
TA) president Lyndsley Doodhai said
given the reduction in allocations for
education, it was expected that teach-
ers and students would be faced with
schools in need of repair come the new
He said the effect of the funding
decrease would have been that many
repairs would have had to be pushed
"That is reflected currently, where
we have a vacation repair programme
consisting of 142 schools but there
were many other schools that would
have required repairs but could not
because of funding.
"The effect would be that teachers
and students would be forced to op-
erate in an environment that may not
be as best as it can.
In some instances, the health and
safety and occupants of schools would
be put at risk," Doodhai said.
He said in such cases, TTUTA would
have no choice but to advise mem-
bers to remove themselves from such
"The situations and outlook is not
too bright in terms of physical condi-
tions of the nation's schools."
As to the ICT policy, Doodhai said
he was unaware whether a policy had
been implemented but said he had not
seen any evidence indicating that it
"There was no consultation with
TTUTA, I am not aware of what is con-
tained. That policy has not been rolled
out to the schools as yet. Schools have
not seen the effect of this ICT policy."
He said there was still an issue of in-
adequate computer labs particularly in
"The last government would have
embarked on a programme to provide
laptops for students for form one. This
was stopped but nothing has replaced
it," he said.
"TTUTA would have been on record
as being in disagreement of giving
these laptops to students. We felt the
money spent would have been better
used in many primary schools where
there are no functional computer labs."
He said in many primary schools
students were unable to benefit from
computer literacy programmes and
some schools did not even have In-
ternet for administrative services.
Doodhai also said while volunteer-
sim in schools was a good idea, it was
yet another thing that had not been
discussed with TTUTA.
NPTA: Ministry must be
guided by curriculum report
National Parent Teachers As-
sociation (NPTA) president Zena
Ramatali, in an interview with the
Sunday Guardian, chose to withhold
comments on the ministry's ability to
provide infrastructure or an ICT policy
On school repairs, she said the NP-
TA's expectation, based on what the
minister had said, is that all schools
would be ready by tomorrow.
"I have complaints but I wprefer to
wait. I am waiting on Monday before I
could make any further comments on
school repairs," Ramatali said.
However, she said Government
badly needed to make changes to the
school curriculum in order to improve
results on exams.
"There is a curriculum report and a
cabinet-appointed committee so the
report is out and I would want to see the
implementations of the recommenda-
tions in the report," she aid.
"In terms of curriculum, the minis-
try should be guided by what is in that
When we look at how some districts
are performing, it seems we have a lot
of work to do in literacy and numeracy.
I hope it would be implemented so we
can see improvements on exams."
Ramatali also said Government
needed to implement a volunteerism
aspect in the curriculum, as it formed
part of sustainable development goals
"We want to recommend that
schools across the country institute
a certain amount of hours in volun-
teering. I fully support it and encour-
age more work or at least an enshrined
A18 letters on sunday
guardian.co.tt Sunday, September 3, 2017
Promise: To establish an overarching
ICT in Education Policy.
Justification: To ensure the provi-
sion of adequate ICT infrastructure in
schools, access to high speed Internet
services, relevant digital content and
training of teachers in ICT.
Progress: Between 2016 and August
2017, 284 teachers have been trained in
ICT in secondary schools. The ministry
also increased Internet bandwidth in
schools from 10MB to 30 MB for all
secondary schools, at no cost to the
ministry. Internet connectivity proj-
ect initiated for all primary schools
and ECCE centres utilising funding to
be provided by the IDB at a budgeted
Explanation: According to Garcia, an
action plan on ICT in Education Policy
had been approved by cabinet. Educa-
tion management information system
for all of education initiated utilising
funding to be provided by the IDB. This
is budgeted at TT$20 million. He said
13600 laptops were expected to be pro-
vided to all secondary schools in the
first term of the 2017/2018 academic
year. These laptops are intended to out-
fit labs for implementation of 2018 CXC
e-testing. The laptops will remain the
property of the schools.
Promise: Reform curriculum to include
ICT—infused lesson plans for students.
Establish ICT Steering Committee.
Justification: To support the use of
ICT in schools.
Status: Completed by previous gov-
Progress: The National Certificate of
Secondary Education curriculum which
is done at all Secondary Schools in
Forms 1-3, revised in 2014, includes
Mathematics, English Language
Arts, Integrated Science, Social Stud-
ies, Spanish, Visual and Performing
Arts, Physical Education, Technology
Education and Information Technolo-
gy includes advise to teachers about
Explanation: Information shared by
Garcia said Teacher’s Guides con-
tain ICT-infused lesson plans to be
taught by teachers and lists of ICT
subject-specific relevant teaching and
learning resources which may be ac-
cessed free on the Internet.
Promise: Capital investment policy in
Justification: To ensure that ageing
infrastructure is refurbished and di-
lapidated buildings are replaced with
modern facilities in a timely and cost
Status: Ongoing. Funding decreased.
Progress: For the July/August Repair
Programme 2017, 79 primary schools,
40 secondary schools and 23 ECCE
centres were carded for repair at an
estimated cost of TT$50 million.
Explanation: Garcia said the ministry
has responsibility for 444 primary
schools, 125 secondary schools and 209
government and government-assist-
ed ECCE centres in Trinidad. Tobago
schools fall under the purview of the
Tobago House of Assembly (THA).
Garcia said 32.8 per cent of secondary
schools (41 schools) and 60 per cent
of primary schools (267 schools) are
50 years and older and would all need
to be replaced in the coming years.
He said school infrastructure must be
refurbished annually or as the need
arises. This is subject to the availabil-
ity of funding.
Promise: Modernise the new curricu-
lum in areas of history.
Justification: To generate among
young people an adequate apprecia-
tion and understanding for the history
Status: Completed by previous gov-
Progress: History in the school curricu-
la, both primary and secondary curricula
have been revised with a consideration
to adequately reflecting our nation’s
history, the primary curriculum in 2013,
the secondary in 2014.
Explanation: The Social Studies cur-
riculum at the primary level deals with
main aspects of our nation’s history
from discovery to present. These in-
clude from the indigenous peoples to
our movement from a crown colony to
republicanism, with discussions of the
journeys, contributions and experiences
of the ethnic groups who came to in-
habit T&T and the cultural expressions
and evolution of each of these. At the
secondary level, History is treated as
separate sub-genre within the Social
Studies curriculum and runs through
forms 1 to 3 and deals in greater depth
with topics such as crown colony to re-
publicanism, slavery and indentureship,
our heritage and our identity, ancestors
and their contributions, governance and
civic matters and the history of Tobago,
Further to this, the Cabinet appoint-
ed Committee with responsibility for
evaluation of the Primary Curriculum
in in the final stages of publication of
a History Resource Book which will be
made available to all schools as a sup-
port for the teaching of History. This
resource is expected to be available
before the end of 2017.
Promise: Policy on volunteerism in
Justification: To encourage personal
responsibility and volunteerism.
Status: No information provided.
Explanation: A response from the min-
istry indicated that this promise was
made by Finance Minister Colm Imbert
and no information was available.
Members of the Barataria North Secondary School's Parent Teacher Association protest in front of the Ministry of
Eduction's St Clair office in August 2016. The school was sharing a building with Aranquez North Secondary
School. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
TTUTA: Infrastructure outlook not bright
eroding PP progress
Former education minister Dr Tim
Gopeesingh has described the govern-
ance of the Ministry of Education as a
He said both ministers, Garcia and
Dr Lovell Francis, had reversed all the
gains made by the People's Partnership
administration over the previous five
"The technocrats at the ministry
worked assiduously to accomplish so
much and we are seeing a swift and
precipitous decline in all the gains."
Gopeesingh saidGarcia had"stopped
the laptop programmes, removed the
homework centres, the facilitators and
moderators and had not provided new
textbooks for students."
"He has grass growing around the
schools and he has done absolutely
nothing about them," Gopeesingh said.
He said the Student Support Services
system, which should be assisting in
reducing violence in schools, had also
seen a reduction in personnel.
"The ICT development they speak
of at a national level, but at a school
level they have taken away the gains
students had made." He criticised
Garcia's statement that all the schools
would have been reopened on time, but
acknowledged that he too had similar
problems ensuring all schools were
reopened after the vacation period.
"It's a total mess in there. We have
called for the Prime Minister to have
him removed," Gopeesingh said.
"People believe I am making noise
but it is painful to see you worked long
for five years to make improvements
and it takes a woodworking teacher
to disassemble things in a short space
Gopeesingh said the Government
needed to complete the 78 schools
under construction and continue con-
structing new schools in the country
and ensure schools are brought to a level
where teachers and students can study
in an amiable environment.
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