TTUTA questions MOE decision to close schools early ahead of SEA

Home*Cover Story*News

TTUTA questions MOE decision to close schools early ahead of SEA

The head of the TT Unified Teachers’ Association Martin Lum Kin has described as “highly irregular,” a move by the Ministry of Education to close all primary schools and private candidate centres from midday today, Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s Secondary Entrance Assessment.

A memo was sent to all schools from the Chief Education Officer on Monday, saying students would be dismissed at 11.30 am on Tuesday and there would not be classes on Wednesday to facilitate safety checks.

“Security personnel will be conducting visual inspections of the school premises on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Principals and vice principals/senior teachers are required to be present to facilitate access to the school building and examination rooms.

“Note only authorised personnel will be allowed on the school premises for the examination period.”

This memo comes two weeks after a bomb threat forced the evacuation of hundreds of teachers and students at schools in South Eastern Trinidad.

TTUTA president Martin Lum Kin described the move as “highly irregular.”
“We have not had that situation in the past,” he said.

He said students are normally given half-day off the day before the exam to allow for classes to be rearranged for the test. Lum Kin said the day and a half off for students had disrupted principals’ plans for the last week of the school term.

Additionally, he said TTUTA was not consulted and the vague memo left them with questions and speculations.

The memo also gave protocols to be followed in the event of an emergency, however, the measures all surrounded a security threat as they revolved around contacting the police.

On Thursday morning, an estimated 18,250 students will sit the exam.

The school term officially closes on March 22.