Ministry must get act together
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, September 2 2012
President of the National Parent-Teacher Association (NPTA), Zena Ramatali, has called on the Ministry of Education to immediately review its school repair programme with a view to ensuring greater efficiency.
She made the appeal yesterday in the wake of reports that more than 120 schools were in dire need of repairs even though the new academic term begins tomorrow.
“We are very disappointed that more than120 schools are still in need of repairs,” an upset Ramatali told Sunday Newsday.
“We have been saying for a number of years that the Ministry of Education must have a plan for repairing schools on an ongoing and timely basis and whatever is going on at the ministry with the EFCL (Education Facilities Company Limited), we want it to be dealt with immediately.”
She added, “Thousands of children are likely to be affected, especially where they are competing or have to write competitive or high stake exams at the CSEC and SEA levels.”
The EFCL is the executing arm of the Ministry of Education. The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) criticised the ministry for the development last Monday, saying that repairing only 77 out of more than 200 schools in need of such work was simply not good enough.
Lamenting the situation yesterday, Ramatali said: “It is time for the ministry to get their act together. This is not a yesterday problem, this is a problem we have been speaking about for the last two decades. It is time the ministry looks at the question of school repairs and the construction of new schools.”
Ramatali said if students are expected to perform at an optimum level, they must be given the necessary tools to produce excellence in education.
“If we want a quality nation, we have to invest in our education and our young people who are the future of the country,” she said.
The NPTA head also called for more aggressive training for teachers to implement a holistic curriculum, particularly in primary schools.
“This must include physical education, which is a positive factor in reducing childhood obesity, and giving children recreational skills to develop later on if we want to have more Keshorns out there,” she said.
Javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott, 19, is TT’s second Olympic gold medallist.
He received the nation’s highest award, the Order of TT, during Friday night’s 50th anniversary Independence Awards ceremony at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.
Calling for programmes to reduce bullying in schools, Ramatali also called on teachers to be aggressively trained in detecting the various forms of child abuse in schools.
“This is something that came out of the Victim and Witness Support Unit of the Police Service during the conference, ‘From Victims to Victors,’ which ended on Thursday at the Hyatt Regency,” she said.