Ministry discusses September schools reopening with stakeholders

Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly
Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly

The Ministry of Education hosted a meeting on Monday with various education stakeholders to discuss a draft of the reopening guidelines for the academic year 2021/2022.

In a statement, the ministry said Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and minister in the ministry  Lisa Morris-Julian met with several stakeholders.

In attendance were the Private Special Schools Association; the Private Secondary Schools Association; the Association of Principals of Assisted Secondary Schools; Association of Denominational Boards; Private Primary Schools Association; National Parent Teacher Association; the Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools; and the Secretary of Education, Innovation and Energy, Tobago House of Assembly.

“The ministry thanks all stakeholders for their thoughtful input and valuable, wide-ranging recommendations,” said the statement.

Recommendations included specific considerations for filling staffing vacancies, close supervision of students and the need for access to substitute teachers, vaccination of older students and all non-teaching staff, isolation for infants from students in higher classes, and prioritisation of attendance for examinations.

Earlier on Monday, the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) and the National Primary School Principals Association (NAPSPA) announced in a press conference their refusal to attend the meeting as the draft was sent to stakeholders on short notice.

President of TTUTA Antonia Tekah-De Freitas said the draft was sent on Friday afternoon and referred to the hurried delivery as “disrespectful.”

The ministry’s statement said, “The ministry looks forward to TTUTA's confirmation of attendance at the previously scheduled meeting on July 13 at 4 pm to continue these critical discussions, as well as another stakeholder meeting, carded for July 16, at which stakeholders, including the individual denominational boards, will be invited to give their comments and recommendations.”

In a statement to Newsday via WhatsApp, Gadsby-Dolly responded to the criticism.

“We could all do with more time; both the ministry staff who worked on the draft and the stakeholders who commented on it,” she said.

“However, those present clearly took the time to read and digest the document and provide a very thorough treatment of it.

“We look forward to even more feedback at our next meeting (on) Friday. The ministry has a lot to consider based on the recommendations and comments made today, and we will be discussing those issues during this week.”


"Ministry discusses September schools reopening with stakeholders"

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