Opposition leader ready to stand with denominational boards in fight against TSC

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Opposition leader ready to stand with denominational boards in fight against TSC

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has accused the government of trying to destroy the Concordat and has vowed to stand in defence of all denominational bodies in their fight against the Teaching Service Commission (TSC).

This comes after the Presbyterian Church of Trinidad and Tobago (PCTT) was granted permission on Monday to challenge changes made by the TSC to the recruitment process for teachers at denominational schools at the primary level.

In a press release yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said she felt the established practice was being eroded.

“Monday the Presbyterian Church of Trinidad and Tobago received permission from the High Court to challenge alleged interference by the Teaching Service Commission concerning the settled practice of appointing teachers to denominational schools. The settled practice, based on the Concordat of 1960, secured the religious character of denominational schools and assured the religious organisations of input on teaching and administrating appointments,” she said.

“For over 70 years, judging from the exceptional performances of these schools and the demand for places in them, this system has worked well. The Government has now launched a fascist propaganda attack on denominational bodies with the sole intent of destroying the Concordat and wresting control of these schools,” Persad-Bissessar added.

The Opposition Leader also praised the Presbyterian Church and other denominational bodies for their “extraordinary service” towards the educational upliftment of children.

She vowed, “The educational legacy of Rev Dr John Morton and the PCIT will not be destroyed by this incompetent government.”

Persad-Bissessar also detailed what she deemed as an attempt by the Government to interfere with the operations of denominational boards and even the entire education system.

“Defunding denominational schools, hiding SEA scores, weakening marking schemes and giving scholarships under less than transparent conditions will not improve the performance of underachieving students. This PM (prime minister) government’s dictatorial attack on denominational schools will wreak havoc and set this country back for generations,” she said.

She continued, “Rowley, his Minister of Education and the Teaching Service Commission must leave the Concordat alone! They should concentrate on making government-run schools, institutions of excellence just as the denominational bodies have done with theirs.

“I will stand resolutely in defence of all denominational bodies who choose to secure their religious beliefs and educational institutions from this Government’s dictatorial attacks,” Persad-Bissessar said.

In January the TSC, Education Ministry and several representatives from denominational boards met to discuss the new method by the TSC by which teachers are recruited for denominational schools.

Under the former policy, registered prospective teachers desirous of teaching at denominational schools would then have to apply to respective boards based on vacancies in their schools.