CHAIRMAN of the Association of Denominational Boards of Education Sharon Mangroo said she has prepared a letter to the Ministry of Education requesting members of board be placed on the committee formed to make recommendations on the way forward for students transitioning from primary to secondary schools.
In a brief interview with Newsday on Tuesday, Mangroo said the letter would be sent by the end of that day. She said after a meeting with denominational school board heads, it was agreed the association would ask the ministry for at least two places on the committee.
The ministry released a statement last Friday which said denominational schools will be engaged on decisions regarding the Secondary Entrance Examinations (SEA) and the Concordat of 1960 – a memorandum that aims to preserve the character of denominational schools in the TT.
It said denominational boards had expressed concern they were not being represented on the committee.
Mangroo said she was appreciative of the minister’s early response to their concerns and was looking forward to a similar response to the association’s latest request.
“The boards manage 71 per cent of public primary schools. We are (also) asking for terms of reference of the committee and how they plan to operate.”
Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Vijay Maharaj said while everyone is focused on the Concordat and SEA, there are other issues that need to be addressed.
“When we did the national consultations, there were other issues such as training for teachers and parental guidance in helping children at home that were brought up.”
He said the boards want to be part and parcel of the findings of the committee.
The ministry, in its release on Friday, said the committee was represented by the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO). “One has to take into account that members of the IRO do not represent the (denominational) school boards.”
Maharaj also questioned why the Concordat was being prioritised. “There are some things lacking in the government schools that need to be addressed such as religion and teachers’ performance.”
He said teachers at government schools act like public servants. “Our teachers are more dedicated to extracurricular activities.”
He said the Concordat was being used as a “whipping boy” and was being portrayed in the public domain as the cause for education failure. “It is the SEA that needs to be revised,” he said. “Everyone says so, but people need to put options on the table.”