Former Education Minister, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, has described Anthony Garcia as the bungling Minister of Education. Excuse, after excuse, after excuse!
Gopeesingh, the MP for Caroni East, has issued a statement on the latest excuse of Garcia.
The following is the full statement:
“The claim by Education Minister Anthony Garcia that people are sabotaging the school system would have been laughably funny if it weren’t fake, self-serving and seriously disturbing.
It is the grossly incompetent and failed Mr. Garcia who, through his ineptitude and inactivity, has acutely sabotaged the education system over the past two years.
His litany of failure is getting progressively even longer and more worrisome, and has had the effect of setting back an education system which was previously facilitating a modern, competitive and knowledge-based society.
Mr. Garcia has callously suspended the distribution of computer laptops to school children, teachers and supervisors; the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Administration had allocated 98,000 laptops, which had served as a crucial impetus for ICT education.
Hundreds of ICT technicians have also been recklessly dismissed.
The distribution of textbooks has been halted; the Ms. Persad-Bissessar Government allocated two million textbooks.
The country’s 404 homework centres have been shutdown. This facility had served a vital educational and social function.
Mr. Garcia has also abandoned the construction of the Early Childhood Care and Education Centres, as he has done with respect to other schools.
The Ms. Persad-Bissessar Administration had constructed 67 ECCE centres, 21 primary and eight secondary schools.
Under the People’s Partnership Government, Trinidad and Tobago had achieved universal pre-school education, and had publicly earned plaudits from then-United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon and then-United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
The system of continuous teacher training has also been scrapped by Mr. Garcia.
Further, he has reduced the student support service, which provided the professional involvement of educational, clinical and behavourial psychologists.
Social workers have either not been paid their salaries or have been dismissed.
As the incidence of schools violence continues to increase, Mr. Garcia has abandoned local school boards, weakened the school-based management system and reduced security staffing.
The crucial Technical-Vocational (Tech-Voc) training has been cut back; the PP Administration had increased the number of Tech-Voc schools from 42 to 102.
The Minister has also discarded Parenting in Education workshops; the Ms. Persad-Bissessar Government had undertaken 300 such workshops, with the active participation of about 60,000 parents.
The primary school curriculum has been sabotaged, by the scrapping of essential studies in morals, values, ethics, music, dance and agricultural science. These courses of study had been included in order to assist students in achieving their fullest potential, including in non-traditional fields.
The schools transport system is on the verge of shutdown because of the steadfast refusal to pay taxi operators.
The $15 million annual cutback in the Schools Feeding Programme has led to the removal of hundreds of deserving students from receiving nutritious meals. Caterers are also not being paid, leading to employees and suppliers being affected.
DR TIM GOPEESINGH