Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2013 Contents A33
July 28, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
PRESS RELEASE ASSOCIATION OF PRINCIPALS OF ASSISTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS (APASS)
The Association of Principals of Assisted Secondary Schools thinks it necessary to comment about the many misconceptions that
have surfaced in the media and through pronouncements at all levels. We wish to state as an organization representing forty-one
(41) denominational schools that we are in full agreement with the Ministry of Education that no fees be charged for registering
students at our schools. Ministry of Education Circulars in 2001 and again dated 1st July 2013 give permission "for purposes of
convenience" the opportunity to purchase items where these are sold at the school. Proper funding is one of the pivots of
effective school management.
This has brought to light the issue of funding for denominational schools which has not been increased since 2000 and which is
in need of urgent review. The Ministry of Education, for funding purposes, classifies denominational schools into six different
categories based on the size of student population. This determines the annual grant which is used to cover wages to ancillary
staff, Materials and services, Protective gear, upkeep of school and grounds, running costs and practical subjects.
A comparison of the funding for government schools and denominational schools reveals a huge discrepancy between schools of
comparable student populations. An example of this is as follows:
Schools Size 840 Students 2011-2012
Category of Funds
Government Assisted School
Running costs, Practical subjects, Phone,
Materials & Services, Protective Gear,
Upkeep of grounds & School premises.
Ancillary Staff (Cleaners, Handyman,
Additionally, Central Bank statistics reveal a 49% decline in the dollar purchasing power from 2000 to 2011. Figures do not allow
an up-to-date comparison. In essence however, due to inflation denominational schools are receiving less than half the funding of
thirteen years ago. The shortfall has implications for the delivery of quality education.
We have been asking the Ministry of Education for more than five years a simple increase to cover inflation costs. This request has
fallen on deaf ears.
Furthermore, the decrease in funding comes at a time when greater demands are being placed on schools vis-a-vis changes in
curriculum. The demand that all schools offer CVQs being one case by way of an example. The promised funding for this shift in
curriculum has been utterly insufficient. We were given a small subvention in the first year (2011) and not a cent since.
How are our schools expected to sustain this decision without adequate teaching posts, facilities or additional resources?
Curriculum changes have brought computers into our school system... computers need air conditioned facilities... air conditioning
units need regular maintenance... sometimes replacements. Yet the Ministry has not recognized this changing educational
environment and the reality of increased costs.
No funding is received for equipment for co-curricular activities: Cricket, Football, Basketball, Track and Field, Water Polo, Chess,
Scrabble, etc. This is needed so that we can continue to offer a holistic education in keeping with modern trends. Nor do our sporting
programs receive any financial support. The cost of maintaining teams, outfitting them, transporting them to game venues and paying
coaches pose an additional challenge to our desire to offer our students no less than what obtains in government schools.
The changing environment also necessitates additional security. Eight years ago a grant of $31,942.40 to $63,844.80 per annum
was initiated to pay for security, depending upon the size of the school. The Nation is invited to compare the cost of four to six
guards stationed at government schools on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week paid directly to MTS by the government, with the
challenge faced by denominational schools for providing security for plant, equipment and people on a tight budget.
We use traditional methods such as School Bazaars and must find creative ways to constantly raise funds. Although corporate
sponsorship is sought for some of our programs and events, the down turn in the economy has made it more difficult to obtain
this kind of help.
Parents, in recognition of the increasing shortfall in funding by the Ministry of Education, provide a totally voluntary annual contribution
to school improvement which only partially fills the void between government funding and the real needs of the schools. Parent groups
have taken it upon themselves to ensure that an environment conducive to learning is provided and that that our schools do not fall
into a dismal state of disrepair. We continue to be grateful for the intervention of our supportive parents.
T&T is on the road to a major
boost in its economic relationship
with Nigeria as the country will
host a Nigerian trade mission and
business summit this week. High
point of the mission will be a Focus
on Nigeria Summit to be held at
the Ballroom of the Hilton Trinidad
The one-day event will mark the
13th annual instalment of the Trans-
Atlantic Trade and Investment Sym-
posium, which will be jointly hosted
by the Emancipation Support Com-
mittee s Trans-Atlantic Network for Business and
Development, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and
Investment and Compass Consulting of Nigeria.
Edem Duke, Nigeria s Minister of Culture and
Tourism, will head a powerful delegation comprising
representatives of the Nigeria Association of Cham-
bers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture,
led by its president Alh Muhammad Badaru
Abubakar; the Nigeria Export Import Bank led by
its CEO Roberts Orya; Osun State private- and pub-
lic-sector representatives led by the executive gov-
ernor of the state, Rauf Aregbesola, who will zero
in on opportunities for investment in priority sectors
of his state; and Compass Consultants, led by CEO
Barrister Taiwo Taiwo, chairman of the Nigerian
Bar Association, Lagos State Chapter, will provide
information and advice on the legal framework for
doing business in Nigeria.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment Vasant
Bharath will open the one-day symposium.
One of the distinguishing features of this year s
symposium is that apart from the plenary sessions,
there will be special interest round tables that will
be sector-specific. Sectors to be covered in this way
include oil and gas/energy, infrastructure, manu-
facturing, tourism and culture, and agriculture.
Nigeria s outreach to T&T is part of a forceful
thrust to market the opportunities created by the
African nation s booming economy, to find buyers
for Nigerian products and services and to attract
investors, service providers, business partners, poten-
tial sellers of products to that expansive and expand-
ing market and needed technical skills.
With Nigeria maintaining its position as Africa s
second largest economy, according a recent edition
of the Financial Times, and a "consistent performer
in recent years, with annual gross domestic product
increases of between five and eight per cent since
2003," the private and public sectors in T&T stand
to reap substantial benefits from recognising and
embracing the potential of this high-level trade mis-
sion and summit, which opens doors for dialogue
and follow ups that will benefit individual enterprises
and the economies of both countries.
Registration for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and
Investment Symposium is open with the rate of
US$200 or TT$1,200 per person. Group prices are
For more information, contact the ESCTT Trans-
Atlantic Network office at (868)-633-9236 or 722-
trade with Nigeria
president of the
Compass Consultants CEO Tokunbo Chiedu.
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