The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is happy with government’s decision to place education professionals among those citizens who will be included in Phase One of the National Vaccination Programme.
TTUTA also commended the state for the national strategy to limit the spread of the Covid19 virus and reduce infection numbers.
However, TTUTA has raised issue with the preparation of Secondary schools, in light of the return of some students come Monday 8th February.
TTUTA President, Antonia De Freitas, said the Public Health Regulations mandate that all space where citizens may enter, must be equipped with adequate wash stations and sanitising facilities. Scanners to do temperature checks are also expected as an added layer of protection.
But, she said, to date, a number of secondary schools have not received the items necessary for proper adherence to sanitisation as part of entry protocols, in keeping with public health requirements.
Furthermore, schools have not received the necessary funding, to provide equipment and supplies for students to do labs, practicals and School Based Assessments (SBAs), in order to satisfy the requirement of various subjects at the Form 5 and Form 6 levels.
She said “It is useless to bring students of Forms 5 and 6 out to school, if laboratories and workshops do not have the equipment and supplies needed for students to adequately prepare for these components of the CSEC and CAPE examinations.
“The government of TT must demonstrate its commitment to ensuring that quality education as a public good can be accessed by all citizens. Secondary school principals should not be debating whether these students preparing for exit examinations can be accommodated once they can provide their own supplies. Is this a realistic proposition in all circumstances?”
De Freitas said “Laboratories and workshops in secondary schools have been closed for ten months. Have principals received the necessary funding and support to ensure that these facilities are safe for our children to return to?”
TTUTA says to the state that vaccination of teachers is but one aspect of getting out students back in school.
“Adequate and expeditious release of funds to help students to be safe and do their preparations comfortably, is another significant dimension of this process.
This therefore, falls squarely within the purview of the Ministry of Finance.