Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 7th 2014 Contents PROBLEMS SINCE JANUARY
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, March 7, 2014
The National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA)
is calling for an urgent meeting with Education
Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh to address the plight
of close to 1,500 students of Princes Town and envi-
rons, who have not been attending school for the
past six weeks.
Sewage and other infrastructural problems and a
fungal infection continue to plague the Princes Town
East and West Secondary and the Methodist Primary
schools. For the past six
weeks, students have
been kept away from
classes by worried par-
ents. Teachers at the St
Mary s Government
Primary School in
Moruga are also staying
away from classes after
sewer pipes overflowed
on the compound, yes-
"These children are
having their right to a
proper education taken
away because of these
problems," NPTA Pres-
ident Zena Ramatali said
in a telephone interview
She added the Min-
istry of Education was
with parents and this
was making matters
aggrieved that their
children are not being
given a proper educa-
tion," said Ramatali
"and now they are asking how come you never these
situations in prestige schools."
She questioned the lack of response from the those
in power, likening the situation to a family feud.
"If you have families not talking to each other and
communicating, when problems arise how are they
going to deal with them?"
Ramatali says one viable solution to the problems
would be utilising alternative venues to teach classes
until the problems can be resolved.
"It is very unfair for these children to have to do
without proper preparations for their upcoming
exams," Ramatali said.
Meanwhile, TTUTA second vice president Lynsley
Doodhai said while the schools remain open, many
TTUTA members have chosen to stay away because
of the same health and safety concerns. Doodhai said
TTUTA has advised teachers the St Mary s Govern-
ment Primary School to stay away from classes.
"We were informed of the situation and have
advised our teachers to remove themselves from that
environment for their own health and safety," Doodhai
However, Doodhai said the form five teachers at
the Princes Town East school have found alternative
venues to help their students prepare for upcoming
exams, including the School Based Assesments, which
are due in May.
Doodhai said, "TTUTA is very concerned about
the continued closure of these schools, and how it
will affect the children s education."
Doodhai said the association met with the Ministry
of Education last Thursday and were told works
would be carried out over the weekend at the East
No school for 1,500
Plight of Princes Town students In January, teachers at Princes Town West
Secondary walked off the job after complaining
of leaking gas lines, malfunctioning washrooms,
ceiling and other infrastructural problems.
Similar action was taken by teachers at the
Princes Town East Secondary, where mold
problems caused students and staff to fall ill.
Tests by the Caribbean Industrial Research
Institute (Carri) found no evidence to suggest
any indoor air quality issue caused by fungal
On this basis, the Ministry of Education gave
the all-clear to continue classes, but on more
than one occasion, staff and students had to
seek medical attention after exhibiting
symptoms such as itching, burning eyes and skin
Secondary school. But Doodhai said he
was informed nothing was done up
until Wednesday and has therefore
advised teachers to continue to stay
away from classes. He said at the same
meeting the issues at the West Sec-
ondary school were raised and the asso-
ciation was informed that a team of
Ministry officials together with employ-
ees of the Education Facilities Company
Ltd, would visit the school in coming
weeks to decide upon a plan of action.
A source in the Ministry of Education
said all of the schools remain opened
yesterday, despite the low attendance
rates of teachers and students.
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