Haynes: Education Minister must stop high-handed approach and commit to proper consultation

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Haynes: Education Minister must stop high-handed approach and commit to proper consultation

Tabaquite MP, Anita Haynes is calling on the Ministry of Education to embark on a genuine good faith consultations with stakeholders.

This follows the latest uproar surrounding what many have labelled “last minute” and “disrespectful” meetings to discuss guidelines for the physical reopening of school in September.

In fact, both the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) as well as the National Primary Schools Principals Association (NAPSPA) reportedly boycotted a stakeholder meeting yesterday, citing disrespect at being left out of the planning process until the very end.

Hayne said “It is distressing that teachers are still without a seat at the planning table when they are expected to uphold and execute the very same policies being developed. It is disingenuous for the Ministry of Education to issue a document on Friday and then call a meeting on Monday to discuss the document with stakeholders. I agree it is disrespectful in the highest order.”

“Consultation takes place beforehand, not as an afterthought or an addendum.”

Hayne also expressed concerns at the hasty timeline saying, “There are also valid questions about the rush to physically reopen schools next term. From virtual school to this year’s still ongoing CSEC/CAPE examinations, do we have enough data to support these decisions? Additionally, has there been any targeted vaccination drives for persons who support the physical school system?

Moreover, the MP highlighted the apprehension of citizens in her constituency and throughout the nation, “Many parents have reached out to me to share concerns for the children’s safety. They are not comfortable with their children going back out to school mere months after we’ve seen our highest Covid 19 transmission numbers.”

Additionally, with the wider economy only just beginning to resume operations, families are still under significant financial strain and unable to cover the associated costs with physical school just yet.”

‘We all want what is best for our nation’s children. In order to achieve that, it is critical that all stakeholders work together toward common goals in an agreed-upon manner. The Minister of Education must stop its high-handed approach and commit to consultation and cooperation in order to make true progress on this very important matter and avoid future impasses.”