THE EDITOR: Last week I read that Education Minister Anthony Garcia said “UTT had 13 campuses and there were some who felt this was too much. He added that the country was not in a healthy financial position, adding that expenditure has to be in line with income and existing resources.”
There are 13 campuses that they can interfere with yet they are choosing the teaching campuses.
Why? Simply because teachers have always been, and will continue to be, undervalued by society. Teachers provide a sense of belonging for our nation’s children. They “spare some change” for their students when they don’t have lunch or taxi fare etc.
Essentially, the teacher plays the role of educator, mother/father, mediator, nurse, instiller of morals and values, role model, rule enforcer, friend and confidant, among many others. And yet many in society fail to appreciate the efforts of this group that makes such a big difference.
Around this time last year, lecturers of the Education Faculty of the University of TT were retrenched. More specifically, four of the lecturers of the secondary mathematics specialisation were among this unfortunate bunch. What does that say?
The fact that mathematics remains the first qualification that any job requires and it was treated with such contempt says those in authority really aren’t aware of present-day society. Maybe they have not been paying attention to the headlines including that 1,486 students had obtained zero passes in the CSEC examinations.
Why is it that the one profession on which our country depends continues to be treated in such a disposable manner? Why do our teachers have to fight for a salary increase in a job that they “run down” themselves doing? Why are teachers viewed as replaceable?
Mr Minister of Education, have you forgotten that one teacher who made a positive difference in your life? What did that teacher do that made you like him/her? Was it that he/she was lackadaisical? Or was it that he/she was in fact dedicated to you and the job?
Wake up people. The oil industry is as reliable as WASA providing us with clean water. Focus on what can actually carry our nation forward, focus on our teachers, focus on our schools. Motivate our teachers because regardless of if you do or not, or if they are protesting for a salary increase or not, they still show up every day to love and mould the minds of our nation’s children.