TTUTA said its about time PM realises education system broken

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TTUTA said its about time PM realises education system broken

T&T Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) president Martin Lum Kin said it was about time the Prime Minister acknowledged that the education system is broken.

During a Breakfast meeting at the Hilton Trinidad on Wednesday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley blamed automatic promotion to secondary school for thrusting unprepared students into a system where they cannot cope with the curriculum. He added that this inevitably leads to some becoming disinterested in education and instead turning to a life of crime.

Lum Kin in response said: “We continue to foster a colonial education system that promotes elitist ideals, which condemns some of our children to failure and which neither caters to the needs of some of our children nor the nation as a whole.”

He pointed out that past TTUTA regimes had publicly called on previous governments to engage in a national discussion on this matter.

Lum Kin said one of the major issues plaguing the local system is that teachers are not trained to deal with the needs of students who are not motivated through conventional means of education.

“The fact that we promote functionally illiterate students throughout the primary system and then to the secondary system, is a result of the lack of adequate resources at the schools, trained and qualified professionals who can render meaningful interventions at the earliest opportunity. Teachers are not equipped to diagnose and remediate the various aspects of learning disabilities or psychological/social issues affecting our students.”

In a GML interview, Education Minister, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly stated that moves are already in place to address some of the shortfalls identified by the Prime Minister.

Gadsby-Dolly said, “Currently, students under the age of 13 who score under 30 per cent are made to re-sit SEA, and students can also defer taking the SEA, once they are below the age of 13.

“In a few cases each year, some students are seamlessly placed at vocational schools, ie, without examination, where the chances of success are very slim, and the parent agrees to this arrangement. In addition, students are placed at vocational centres through the SEA process.”

However, she said to deal with the larger issue of student achievement in the academic year 2022/2023, the ministry started a remedial programme called “Re-engaging for Success.” This was piloted in 106 schools, 80 primary and 26 secondary institutions.

“The varied initiatives under that programme target the students who need additional support and preparation for secondary school, as well as the students who were placed in secondary schools and need support there to achieve success in certification,” the Minister explained.

The Minister said she hopes to extend the programme for at least five more years.