EIGHTY-SIX primary schools require serious financial help from principals, teachers and parents to buy basic material like toilet paper, markers and printing paper.
So said president of the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai , adding that lack of funding is also hampering other areas of public education.
Doodhai spoke on Monday morning at a press conference.
He said teachers don’t get to spend as much time as they should with students since, instead, they have to organise cake sales and other fundraising activities in order to keep their schools functioning.
Doodhai said government schools are normally funded on a per-student basis and that the last figure he recalls being provided by the Ministry of Education is from five years ago and is still far too low. Proper funding needs to be allocated to schools, he said, so that parents and teachers do not need to "meddle" in the business of raising funds.
He said of the 86 schools, 15 were in Port of Spain, 30 in Caroni and 41 in the southeastern district. Doodhai provided Newsday with a document showing the schools that did receive funding received a reduced amount and not the figure they were expecting.
During the press conference, Doodhai also said government schools (primary and secondary) are not safe since they cannot afford to pay for security services. He said in some schools principals, teachers and sometimes parents take on the roles of security guards.
Doodhai said school supervisors, curriculum and guidance officers are not getting any travelling allowances, which hampers their ability to go to important meetings and carry out their basic functions.
“TTUTA is demanding that the Ministry of Education gets its act together and deals with these pressing issues,” Doodhai said.