Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 3rd 2013 Contents A14
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, October 3, 2013
Sacrifices will have to be made for
the long-term benefits of this coun-
try s children.
That was the response of chief edu-
cation officer Harrilal Seecharan on
Tuesday to complaints that schools are
asking for pupils to stay home in order
to facilitate teacher training.
He was speaking at a news confer-
ence for the revised primary school
curriculum and Continuous Assessment
Component (CAC) of Secondary
Since the beginning of this school
year last month, parents of primary
school pupils have been complaining
that schools had asked students to
remain home on numerous occasions.
Florence Best said she was told by
her son s school last week that for the
next few weeks, teachers would be
unavailable to teach his class for three
days each week.
"They told us parents that we could
either keep our children home or send
them to school but that the school
could not guarantee supervision."
Seecharan said yesterday schools
were not supposed to ask for students
to stay home but added that the training
of teachers would "require some sac-
"Normally before schools are sus-
pended or a class is told to stay home,
those kind of decisions are supposed
to be made with school supervisors,"
He said the ministry would look at
the situation because telling children
to stay home had not been approved
by the ministry.
He noted that students were being
affected by loss of classes but said the
ministry was still looking at ways to
make up for lost classes.
He said schools could give students
worksheets and employ other strategies
to make sure they were not badly affect-
ed by missed classes.
Teachers are being trained around
the country on the new curriculum.
The revised curriculum
The revised curriculum focuses on
nine subject areas: Mathematics, lan-
guage arts, science, social studies, visual
and performing arts, physical educa-
tion, agricultural science, Spanish, val-
ues, character and citizenship educa-
Next year, the CAC for Standard
four pupils will apply to music,
agricultural science, visual arts,
physical education and English
language arts writing.
In 2015, Standard Five pupils
will derive ten per cent of their
final marks in English language
arts from their final two years in
Thirty per cent of marks will
come from CAC scores in science,
drama and English language arts
A teaching guide was provided
to primary school teachers at the
end of the last school year along
with instructional toolkits with
lesson plans to assist in teaching.
Curriculum co-ordinator Ingrid
Kemchand said the new primary
school curriculum was being
implemented this year in infants
year one and two and Standard
Kemchand said the new cur-
riculum, which was more thematic
than the traditional one, would
allow for a smoother transition of
pupils from pre-school to primary.
A thematic approach means
instead of learning each subject
individually, students will be taught
different subjects as part of one
Kemchand said the development
of literacy and numeracy would be
integrated into all subject areas.
Parents have complained that
teachers are unsure of the new
curriculum, particularly as it
affected Standards Four and Five
Curriculum co-ordinator Mala
Morton-Gittens, however, said the
ministry had ensured all supervi-
sors understood the programme.
"Schools know and written
information has gone out about
the subjects that would be imple-
mented in Standard Four. It is an
anomaly for a school to be unaware
of the programme," Morton-Git-
She said all schools had also
been supplied with teaching guides
on all the subjects since last year.
Asked whether these changes
might be too much for pupils at
one time, Morton-Gittens said no.
She said focusing on just Maths
and English was not working and
introducing subjects that were
more interactive and exciting for
students would not be burden-
Chief Education Officer on school interruptions:
We must sacrifice for our children
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