Minister launches probe
Wednesday, September 5 2012
President of the Association of Primary School Principals, Abzal Abdool, said Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh can take whatever action he wants once it is legitimate, and within the law.
Abdool was responding to Gopeesingh’s statements that he has launched a probe into reports that some principals kept their schools closed yesterday without getting permission from ministerial supervisors.
Abdool said principals have the authority to close schools which they have deemed unfit for human occupation.
“They are the managers of the school, and if in their assessment the school is not safe for students and members of staff, they have the authority to close the school,” he said.
However, he agreed with Gopeesingh that there should be consultation with supervisors, but added, the principal has the final say.
“They are in charge of the institution and the health and safety of those who occupy the institution,” he said.
He criticised the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL) for not completing repairs to schools during the July/August vacation.
“It will seem the EFCL was on holidays, the reports that have been coming to me since Monday, show that a number of schools have a lot of issues, as nothing was done during the vacation, and that is unacceptable,” he said.
Meanwhile, First Vice President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), Davanand Sinanan, said he felt the minister’s statements were designed to intimidate its members.
“We will like to remind our members that they don’t have to be intimidated; they don’t have to feel threatened in any way, once they were doing their duty. The fact remains, the principals’, first responsibility can determine whether it is safe, or unsafe, and take whatever action necessary to protect persons, including closing the school,” he said.