In his capacity as president of Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) years ago, Education Minister Anthony Garcia said he too had given education a failing grade.
He was responding to the failing grade which had been given to the education sector by workers at yesterday’s Labour Day celebrations in Fyzabad.
"That is expected, remember I myself took part in those demonstrations. As president of TTUTA in those days, I would have always given the teaching profession a failing grade. This is because we felt we just had to say something," Garcia said.
He was speaking to reporters today at the Naparima College at San Fernando where the Ministry held its Information Communication Technology Teachers Professional Development Training graduation ceremony.
Garcia was president of the association for 13 years during which time he participated in numerous marches.
The Minister said that currently he is convinced that the Education Ministry is doing a tremendous job.
"We came into office in 2015 and when we compare what has been going on now, we see tremendous strides in education. We have been able to achieve so many things and that makes us proud. We are very confident that the education system is moving in the right direction," Garcia said.
TTUTA president Lynsley Doodhai at the Labour Day celebrations warned the government that teachers intend to stay away from classes at the start of the academic year in September if negotiations for the period 2014 to 2017 has not started.
Addressing the large crowd at Fyzabad, Doodhai said that since 2015, the association submitted its proposal to the Chief Personnel Officer for the collective bargaining period, 2014 to 2017. But to date, there has been no response.
Garcia today responding to the comment said: "We must engage in productivity. Our teachers must be there so that our students will be able to benefit from the quality of education that we are committed to providing."