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Haynes: Gov’t treating education as a privilege; slams lack of technical vocational studies

Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes says technical vocational studies are lacking in this country.

Speaking at the UNC’s media conference on Sunday, Haynes said that after eight years in Government, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley only now discovered that the school system does not cater to all students.

She said Rowley told the public that somebody needs to do something about the curriculum that is failing students. 

Haynes said when the UNC raised questions about technical vocational studies in schools, the People’s National Movement (PNM) spoke about it.

She said she posed questions in Parliament about the number of technical vocational instructors employed by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and vacancies as of April 30th and was told that there was 550 instructors and 150 vacancies.

Haynes said: “Plumbing, for example, is an important skill set that can create a very lucrative career if you get instruction and utilise the secondary school system. There are no instructors in the public school system. Zero instructors in the public school system, but they claim they have only eight vacancies. Are there only eight public secondary schools?”

She said the actions of the PNM created the problem Rowley sees today.

The MP added that the People Partnership administration of 2010-2015 implemented targeted interventions, such as psychometric testing, to determine developmental needs and spaces the school system needed to cater to the student’s needs.

“You had an incoming PNM administration in 2015 that, instead of improving on or implementing further any of the policy decisions taken by a previous administration, decided what they needed to do was scrap and go back to anything that existed before.”

Haynes said the MoE does not use data to drive policy making and how they assess which schools need plumbing instructors. She said the PNM cut the Government Assistance for Tertiary Education programme and reduced national scholarships. She said they treat education as a privilege for those who can afford it rather than a right.