TT UNIFIED Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Lynsley Doodhai yesterday said reports showed a good turnout of teachers and no report of schools being unable to open as scheduled.
Doodhai said TUTTA got one report from Belmont Government Primary, where some teachers left early because of a pigeon infestation and lack of water. However, as far as TUTTA is aware, the school was still open.
“By and large the majority of teachers are out today and I trust only teachers who have emergencies or who are not well or have deaths in their families did not turn out to work today (yesterday).”
Meanwhile, Doodhai said a number of assistant teachers had not been paid for December. Doodhai said the majority, along with TTUTA, had appealed to the minister and Ministry of Education but to date they had not been paid.
“Therefore, these assistant teachers would have had a bleak Christmas. As of Friday last week they were not paid. We will hope that these teachers will be paid in the quickest possible time.”
Asked TUTTA’s expectations for 2019, Doodhai said he would like to see salary negotiations for 2014-2017 concluded in the shortest possible time frame.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia said all schools were opened, where students and teachers turned out for the first day of school. Asked about the pigeon infestation at Belmont Government Primary, he said the school had some concerns but was open and running.
Garcia said there are some initiatives the ministry will be embarking on, one being the infrastructure of schools.
Although a lot of schools are old, he said, “We want to make sure those schools are able to provide an education for children. We want to make sure the physical infrastructure of those schools would be in such a state that it would allow our students to access an education from these schools.
“The first point I want to make is the physical structure of the schools – we want to improve on it. The second thing we want to look at this year is the effective delivery of the curriculum. We will be providing opportunities for the advancement of teachers in terms of training so that they will be in a much better place to implement the curriculum,” Garcia said.