Parents happy with CAC
Saturday, July 28 2012
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Pumpkin for so: Farmer Hansen Singh loads pumpkins into a trailer after harvesting them at Mon Jaloux, Cunupia, yesterday. ...
TTUTA has expressed disappointment that the Education Ministry will implement the Continuous Assessment Component (CAC) of the SEA in September, but the Parents Take Action Coalition (PTAC) that had opposed the full implementation was relieved that it will be phased in.
The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association has opposed the implementation in September because training of teachers was “woefully inadequate” and facilities were not ready for the CAC to be implemented TTUTA vice president Davanand Sinanan told Newsday yesterday.
TTUTA also questioned the definition of the ministry’s term “pilot project” in the implementation of the CAC, Sinanan said and was “taking it with a bit of salt.” On the other hand, TTUTA welcomed the expanded text book programme which Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh announced at Thursday’s post-Cabinet press conference.
“Text books are very expensive. When the ministry speaks of expanding the text books’ programme, we’re encouraged. We applaud that.”
On the implementation of the CAC, PTAC spokesperson Marcia Smith-John told Newsday yesterday that “We’re pleased that the ministry is listening to us. They’re willing to work with us and we’re willing to work with them.”
On June 7, the PTAC had proposed in a meeting with acting Chief Education Officer Harilal Seecharan that only Creative Writing be assessed in Standard Five for the coming academic year because the subject was already being taught and it required “little new resources” to be put in place, and “little new training” for teachers.
Smith-John said, “We’re pleased that this year’s Standard Five children will not be assessed in the other new subjects and VAPA (Visual and the Performing Arts). We still need to get some clarification on how the CAC is going to be rolled out.”
Gopeesingh yesterday explained to Newsday that only creative writing which was written as a one-off subject at the SEA will no longer be written as a one-off examination but will be assessed this year. Creative writing will still account for 20 percent of the marks in English. The other subjects, VAPA, physical education, agricultural science, and character education, will be assessed in 2014 when the current Standard Four children would have reached Standard Five. Commenting on the “pilot” of the CAC in September, Sinanan said “from a researchers perspective, pilot is supposed to mean taking a representative sample of the population to test your programme. At the end of the testing phase you are to do an evaluation to determine what changes to make before deciding to put out for implementation to the entire population.” The ministry’s definition of pilot, he said has been at variance over the years with a researcher’s definition of pilot.
Reiterating that TTUTA was supportive of the CAC concept, he said, “We’re not convinced, and given the ministry’s history of assurances, that all the resources can be put in place for all the schools to have the programme successfully implemented come September.”
Many schools, he said were short of resources including problems of space.
With only 65 percent of teachers exposed to some level of training to date, he said, “The training is woefully inadequate and it is not going to cut it.”
TTUTA had recommended that training be spread over a year to factor in retraining and reorientation. TTUTA had also recommended, he said, that teachers be trained as subject specialists and that they be certified as being competent in a subject area to spearhead certain components. “That certainly is not being done.”
In addition, he said, “TTUTA does not believe that the average primary school teacher can really be expected to teach such a range of subjects. It’s just not possible. It is an unfair requirement that the ministry of education is placing on our primary school teachers.”