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REALLY DR. GOPEESINGH?! By Tonyette Sharpe

posted 7 Jan 2015, 11:27 by Gerry Kangalee
The Minister of Education announced on January 3rd 2015 on the 7.00 p.m. TV 6 news that his Ministry has kept 90% of the promises made to citizens since his government assumed office on 24th May, 2010, and that he just has a mere 10% to complete!

According to the Minister keeping his promises meant that he procured 95,000 laptops for students since 2010 and 5,000 for teachers. His Ministry had trained a number of teachers in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and a number of schools had been outfitted with computer laboratories.

The Minister further stated that his Ministry had built 83 schools with 90 more new schools projected and completed some 4,500 infrastructural repairs.

He boldly stated that literacy had improved tremendously, citing the results in CSEC and CAPE to support his point. To this I immediately respond with a big LOL!

I would be charitable and even give the Minister credit in advance for the introduction of the homework centres and the substitute teachers programme which are in their nascent stages yet to be fully implemented.

However, while we, the people, are happy for these strides "achieved", we are left to wonder if these are really the yardsticks by which educational success for the period 2010-2015 ought to be measured? Are computer and ICT, all there is to educational success?

Let us examine these unresolved issues, namely:

1. The Continuous Assessment Component (CAC) of the Secondary Entrance Examination (SEA), which needs a long overdue review as cited on page 18 of the Newsday dated 4th January, 2015.

Let's hear what TTUTA's President Davanand Sinanan said about CAC: "In the meanwhile, the distress, trauma and complaints from both teachers and parents continue to mount."

2. Sinanan also reminded the Minister that still outstanding on his 10%-to-complete-list is the long overdue up-grade of UTT graduates who, having completed their programmes since 2010, continue to languish in the financial doldrums, some in abject poverty!!! Let's hear Sinanan's words again on this issue:

“This has been a slow and painful exercise and has pushed the patience and understanding of teachers beyond the limits."

3. Another item on the Minister's 10%-yet-to-do-promise list, according to Sinanan, is the regularization of the bargaining status for school supervisors, curriculum officers and guidance officers at COSTAATT.

4. Sinanan also appealed to the Minister to regularize the status of ALL Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) teachers who now work under nebulous contracts so that they would be accorded permanent status under the purview of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC).

5. Yet another outstanding issue, not addressed by this 10%-to-complete-Minister is the long-overdue Performance Management and Appraisal Process, familiarly termed, PMAP.

6. The President also reminded the Minister of yet another 10% task to be completed, that is, the Negotiations with the Chief Personnel Officer for the period October 2014 to September, 2017.

Now teachers, YOU DECIDE, whether or not the Ministry of Education has really fulfilled 90% of its election promises towards teachers and students of Trinidad and Tobago!! Is this Minister really serious when he states that he just has a mere 10% of his mandate to complete? What say YOU?