Just prior to the opening of a new school term, Minister of Education, Anthony Garcia, boasts that all schools will be opened on fire. Even during the July-August holidays, Garcia was on television, again boasting that all schools will be ready for the September 4th opening.
Well, we await Garcia’s appearance on television on Monday.
The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is hot on Garcia’s trail, telling him that its members won’t occupy schools where safety is at risk.
The association made this clear on Saturday, after claiming the ministry has revealed that repairs have only been completed on 80 out of 142 schools earmarked for repairs and some are still pending.
The association claimed the ministry revealed that due to the late start of the Vacation Repair Programme (VRP), repairs won’t be completed on all 142 schools that were earmarked for repairs.
“The Ministry indicated repairs were completed on 80 schools, 43 schools will be completed by September 10 and the remaining schools during the school year. In some instances no repairs have been completed on some of the schools – despite this, the Ministry insisted all schools will reopen on time,” TTUTA added.
“TTUTA is extremely disappointed that for another year the VRP has once again began late and there’s now a mad scramble to get schools ready for Monday – in many instances, our members met renovations still in progress when they reported for duties.”
Teachers coming off the July/August vacation were required to report for duty last Friday, ahead of the new school term. Many of them at the affected schools would have thus seen the extent or work done or lack thereof.
TTUTA added: “On Monday TTUTA will not allow our members to occupy schools that may place their health and safety at risk. While the Ministry may attempt to open all schools, not all of them may remain open.”
TTUTA flagged 11 schools as having issues that may impact negatively on smooth reopening operations.
The association also expressed concern that many schools are also without the necessary official books and forms that are necessary for the schools’ operations. These include class and teacher attendance registers, log books, mark books and staff report forms.
TTUTA said the Ministry attributed this to non-availability of funds and impending closure of the financial year and promised to rectify this over the weekend.