Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 6th 2014 Contents A11
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Sex education is to be taught
at all primary schools and Forms
1 to 3 at the secondary level from
the new school year in September,
Education Minister Dr Tim
Gopeesingh said during yester-
day s post-cabinet news confer-
ence at the Office of the Prime
Minister, St Clair.
"From September there will be
a full rollout of this programme,"
Gopeesingh said, adding that sex
education was to be taught as part
of the Health and Family Life Edu-
cation curriculum to prevent the
high incidence of teenage preg-
nancy among the nation s school
He indicated that the subject
was already being taught on a lim-
ited basis at schools, but would be
expanded in an attempt to address
the high pregnancy rate at the
nation s schools.
Reports from the Central Sta-
tistical Office (CSO) in 2008
showed there was a high incidence
of teenage, under-age and ado-
lescent pregnancies among stu-
dents, he said.
The decision to expand the
teaching of sex education was
accepted by Cabinet yesterday,
Gopeesingh said the issue was
also discussed during a recent
stakeholders meeting with repre-
sentatives of the denominational
He indicated that teachers at
primary and secondary schools
were being retrained to teach the
subject "not in context of just raw
sex education, but in the wider
context of family life education."
The denominational boards, he
said, have asked for the teaching
to be subjected to their respective
While most pre-schools
around the country are taking
extra precautions with their
young children after the
drowning death of five-year-
old Jemimah Agard, one school
has gone as far as cancelling
its swimming programme.
Pines Lake Academy princi-
pal Dania De-Bique said her
Arima pre-school has pulled
swimming off the curriculum
to put parents at ease.
Agard drowned moments
after a swimming lesson at the
Young Men s Christian Asso-
ciation (YMCA) pool at Wright-
son Road, Port-of-Spain, on
"Our school is better off safe
than sorry," De-Bique said.
"Until there are better safety
measures in place, including
more lifeguards on duty, our
swimming programme has been
De-Bique said the concern
of parents and teachers was also
a major factor in the decision.
"Most parents and teachers
are fearful, and very concerned
after this incident. It s a meas-
ure to put people s minds at
At another pre-school,
Hands On Academy, principal
Nisha Hoyte said while her
school utilised the same YMCA
pool at Wrightson Road, parents
and teachers are not panicking,
as they properly supervise their
children at all times.
"We always have three teach-
ers minimum with the 22 kids
who do swimming," said Hoyte.
"In addition, we have total
faith in the programme at the
YMCA. They run a tight ship
there, so we are not puling our
Hoyte said the only job of
the YMCA personnel was
teaching the children to swim
and schoolteachers were
responsible for monitoring the
lose her life for schools to amp
up their safety measures."
In South Trinidad, Scared
Heart Montessori Kindergarten
principal Angel Spears-Gilbert
expressed a similar sentiment.
"You can never be too care-
ful, because with children at
this age there is always an
unguarded moment," said
Spears-Gilbert said swim-
ming lessons were vital for
She said based on this, Sacred
Heart would continue its swim-
Arima pre-school stops swimming
programme after YMCA drowning
Tim moves to curb school teenage pregnancy
Full sex-ed classes
The ministry is also
parents on the issue of
parenting, he added.
"We are now going
to accelerate the
programme to ensure
strategies to ensure
elimination of these
the minister said.
He said hundreds of
teachers in primary and
secondary schools are
to be trained within the
next three months "to
ensure that those who
impart the knowledge,
impart it in a proper
way and not an
irregular type of
programme which will
not serve the desired
Investigators are trying to determine whether
an attempt was made to disrupt yesterday s
Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC)
examination at Presentation College, San Fer-
nando, after fire broke out at the Carib Street
Shortly after 9 am, as forms five and six students
began their History and Electrical Engineering
Technology (EET) exams, smoke was seen coming
from the stairwell in one of the buildings.
On checking, school staff found a pile of garbage
that had been left under the stairs after a recent
school fair burning.
Forms one to four students were evacuated from
their classes while students sitting exams were
allowed to continue. Minimal damage was done to
Fire officers said three appliances were sent to
the school, but by the time they arrived school staff
had already put out the blaze with extinguishers.
A preliminary investigation suggested the fire was
deliberately set, but fire prevention officers remained
at the scene hours after to determine the cause of
the fire. San Fernando police are also investigating.
It was not the first time that Mon Repos firefighters
had been called to the school, as computers and
furniture were destroyed in April 2013 in a fire in
A school official said yesterday that the incident
did not disrupt students sitting the exams, as they
were never in any danger and the fire was minor.
The other students were evacuated as part of the
school s health and safety policy.
Fire at Pres, but
CSEC goes on
A release from the Education Ministry said the
ministry was awaiting a final report from the Fire
The release said, "Thanks to the speedy
response of T&T Fire Service (TTFS) officers as
well as members of the school's faculty, the fire
was quickly contained and extinguished.The
school's administration has confirmed that no
one was injured in this morning's incident and
examinations were not affected.
"This morning, students around the region
wrote CSEC physics, CAPE English literature or
CAPE computer science. The ministry is awaiting
final reports from the TTFS as to the cause of
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