Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh on Friday urged Education Minister Anthony Garcia to man up and deal with the problems arising in the nation’s schools including blocked sewer systems. Newsday reported Garcia complaining about alleged tampering of sewers at Arouca Government and St Joseph Girls RC schools plus an unnamed ASJA school.
However, Gopeesingh in a statement rejected Garcia’s complaint and instead blamed Garcia.
“The claim by Mr Garcia that people are sabotaging the school system would have been laughably funny if it weren’t fake, self-serving and seriously disturbing.”
Gopeesingh told Newsday that over half the country’s primary schools are over 50 years old, and so contain old sewer systems which often break down. He said Garcia should deal with these breakdowns, not try to blame someone for alleged sabotage.
Asked if he was denying that anyone had deliberately stuffed jerseys into toilets in sabotage, Gopeesingh replied, “You have children in schools and these things will occur and you must have the ability to deal with them.”
Gopeesingh’s statement hit Garcia’s record, including suspending the distribution of laptops to pupils (and dismissal of hundreds of ICT technicians), in contrast to the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Administration’s allocation of 98,000 laptops.
“The distribution of textbooks has been halted. The Persad-Bissessar Government allocated two million textbooks.”
Gopeesingh alleged the country’s 404 homework centres have been shutdown under Garcia, who has allegedly abandoned the construction of the Early Childhood Care and Education Centres, in contrast to the construction of 67 ECCE centres, 21 primary and eight secondary schools under Gopeesingh as education minister. The system of continuous teacher training was scrapped by Garcia, Gopeesingh alleged. “Further, he has reduced the student support service, which provided the professional involvement of educational, clinical and behavourial psychologists. Social workers have either not been paid their salaries or have been dismissed.
“As the incidence of schools violence continues to increase, Mr Garcia has abandoned local school boards, weakened the school-based management system and reduced security staffing.”
Gopeesingh alleged the Government has cut back on Technical-Vocational (Tech-Voc) training, unlike the former administration’s expansion of Tech-Voc schools from 42 to 102 schools.
He hit Garcia for discarding Parenting in Education workshops, sabotaging the primary school curriculum, not paying operators of the schools transport system, and cutting $15 million annually from the Schools Feeding Programme depriving hundreds of pupils of nutritious meals. “Caterers are also not being paid, leading to employees and suppliers being affected.”