No classes at 19 schools
Tuesday, September 4 2012
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Waiting on morning bell: A group of children wait for the morning bell to start their first day at Vance River RC School, La Brea yesterday. An estima...
NINETEEN schools across the country either did not open or had classes dismissed early on the first day, yesterday, of the new school term, for various issues.
The problems at the schools varied from infrastructural issues, paint fumes, sewage problems and pigeon infestation.
The schools affected include San Juan South Secondary, Dinsley Trincity Government, Princes Town East Secondary, Plum Road Presbyterian, South Oropouche RC, Laventille Girls’ Primary, Morvant Epiphany Anglican School, Sacred Heart Boys’ RC, Princes Town East Secondary, La Pastora Government, Maracas Presbyterian, Diego Martin North Secondary, Malick Secondary Febeau Government Primary, Carapichaima AC Primary and St Agnes RC in St James. (See Page 8)
The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) First Vice President Devanand Sinanan lamented that all these issues occurred on the first day of school.
“It is sad and unfortunate so many of our schools have had these challenges at the start of the school term, but we are not surprised given only 77 schools were repaired out of the 200 that were promised by the ministry,” he said.
TTUTA has criticised Education Minister Tim Gopeesingh for not keeping his promise to repair 200 schools during the July/August vacation.
However, Gopeesingh came out swinging in defence of his ministry. In an interview yesterday Gopeesingh accused the teacher’s association of “burying their heads in the sand” and not noting how many schools have been repaired in the last two years.
“We have repaired 350 schools during this two years during the vacation period plus over 100 has had emergency repairs plus this 77, so TTUTA has no legitimate grouse to say anything when we have worked assiduously to do what we have to do. I am very satisfied about the performance of our infrastructural projects in schools, there is a lot more to be done, we are not completely comfortable with a number of schools which have to be broken down and rebuilt but Rome was not built in a day and we are moving as fast as possible,” he explained.
In response, Sinanan said the Association has a right to ensure its teachers have schools that are safe and secure where quality education can be dispensed.
“We have to ensure their safety and it is important we highlight these issues but for years many of our teachers have worked and continue to work in conditions that are unsafe so they can always put the rights of the child first,” he said.