While admitting his ministry was “struggling to make ends meet”, Education Minister Anthony Garcia took umbrage at comments by a radio personality who rechristened his ministry, yesterday morning, the “bad-pay ministry”.
Addressing an information and communications technology (ICT) graduation ceremony for some 506 teachers at Naparima Boys’ College, San Fernando yesterday, Garcia said the ministry was “doing everything possible” to ensure all schools, including private secondary schools, received the necessary financial support.
“This morning as I was journeying to work, one of our popular radio personalities was describing the Ministry of Education as the ‘bad-pay ministry’ and he repeated that over and over - the bad pay Ministry,” Garcia said.
“Simply because you have some of the problems that we are faced with, where there is a decline in our economy and in our finances.”
Asked afterwards whether cutbacks would take place at UTT campuses because of the financial situation, he said, “I can safely say that at this point no definite decision has been taken. We are in the process of discussions, and this is one of the reasons why we are having that meeting tomorrow, to chart the way forward. It is only after that meeting I will be able to make some determination.”
During his address, Garcia spoke about positive developments within schools such as the performance of the Tableland High School choir, which serenaded the graduates with two parang pieces, were not being highlighted by the media which chose instead to focus on indiscipline in the schools.
“The specific information that comes to me through education officers indicates that the discipline has been increasing in our schools and our students are exemplifying what we want and what we regard as good students.”
He also highlighted the achievement of the Naparima Boys’ College drama department which recently took part in a competition in Antigua and won ten out of 14 categories.